Jimmy Buffett - guitar, vocals; Lanny Fiel - guitar; Greg "Fingers" Taylor - harmonica; Reggie Young - guitar; Roger Bartlett - guitar
Jimmy Buffett has got to be the only artist in contemporary music to take a novelty "Top 10 hit" and turn it into a bona fide entertainment empire. In 1977, after releasing the laidback leisure anthem, "Margaritaville," and embarking on his humor-filled summer tours, Buffett quickly began developing a core fan base to rival only that of the Grateful Dead. Called "Parrotheads," these hardcore Buffett fans have made his fun-filled live shows a full fledged entertainment experience. Buffett took what he saw as a growing empire and rolled it into a full-service corporation that included restaurants, bars, clothing-lines and record labels, all tied around his "cocktails and good times" mentality.
Originally emerging from Nashville (where he migrated in the late 1960s) Buffett tried his hand at both folk and country music. He was signed to the CBS division, Barnaby Records, and released two albums that quickly went nowhere. By the early 1970s, he had moved to Key West, Florida, where he realized life was moving considerably slower than the rest of the world. Beaches, tropical drinks, and loud Hawaiian shirts seemed to be the order of the day, and Buffett was not only inspired lyrically by the lifestyle, but also turned it into a huge musical franchise.
This recording comes after the release of his second ABC/Universal album, Living and Dying in 3/4 Time in 1974. By now, he had formed the Coral Reefer Band, and had adapted the happy drunk musical persona. This is a very loose and early look into the musical legend Buffett would eventually become - for Parrotheads, this recording could be the Holy Grail. Recorded in Sausalito, California at the Record Plant as part of KSAN-FM's acclaimed radio concert series, Buffett used this exposure to introduce a whole new audience to his way of blending humor, music and a carefree lifestyle.
Although many of his early songs were still too risque for FM radio ("Let's Get Drunk and Screw" comes to mind) there were still many funny and interesting ditties, among them "The Wino and I Know," "Pencil Thin Mustache," "They Don't Dance Like Carmen Miranda No More," "Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season," "Saxophones," "Door Number Three," and "A Pirate Looks At Forty," which was the beginning of the Parrott persona. On "Railroad Lady" he is joined by Jerry Jeff Walker and members of his group, The Lost Gonzo Band, who aided in writing the song when the two acts toured together.
It has been over 30 years since Jimmy Buffett made music like this and was living hand-to-mouth, wondering if his next record would be the last one his label would tolerate. Although his recording career and LP sales have been up and down, he has been able to maintain his status as one of America's most beloved touring performers. That alone has kept him at the forefront of the music scene.