Triple Played: Boss Parrothead needs a cracker
“I saw Bob Dylan getting criticized in Australia by this guy who was saying, ‘Your new songs aren’t as relevant as your old songs.’
“And Dylan just said, ‘Well, I’m out here writing songs — what are you doing?’ ” — Tom Petty, quoted in the book “Zen Guitar.”
I read the Associated Press review of Jimmy Buffett’s new album “Songs from St. Somewhere” in the Aug. 23 issue of Out & About, and I thought that it was just a little harsh.
I think that happens often because these so called critics don’t listen to a new recording enough before they form an opinion. I have often found that it takes me repeated listening to a recording before I become fond of it. I am always leery of records that I really like right out of the box.
The title “critic” by its very nature promotes negativity, which there seems to be an overabundance of in the arts. It has been my experience that most critics aren’t singers and or songwriters, at least professionally. What gives them the right or qualifies them to be overly critical?
In this “what have you done for me lately” world I think there are musicians who are beyond reproach. These are musicians who have proven themselves over and again for 30, 40 or 50 years. They certainly don’t have anything left to prove, at least to me.
Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Mark Knopfler, Paul McCartney, Robbie Robertson and many others, including Buffett, fit that mold.
Now, I am not going to put Buffett in the songwriting category of Dylan, Young or Morrison because those three are in a class of their own. However, it doesn’t make me any less of a fan as I have seen Buffett live four times, more than any other artist.
In 1978, I had two of Buffett’s LPs, “Havana Daydreaming” and “Living and Dying in 3/4 Time,” and thought that they were decent.
My brother Roger and I were visiting a friend of who we called “Ace” and he played Buffett’s classic album “A1A” and I was hooked, especially after I heard the anthem “A Pirate Looks at Forty.”
I was 21 at the time, and I now have been listening to that song for 34 years. I also own all of his studio releases along with Dylan’s, Morrison’s, Young’s, Knopfler’s and many other musicians I admire.
“Songs from St. Somewhere” contains 16 songs, 12 of which were written or co-written by Buffett. Jesse Winchester, Django Walker, Will Kimbrough and Mark Knopfler also contribute songs.
Knopfler, whose song “The Oldest Surfer on the Beach” is one of my favorites on the album, also plays guitar on it and on Rue De La Guitare.
I like “Songs from St. Somewhere” more each time I listen to it as a different song will jump out at me with each repeated listening.
As far as Buffett being bored as The Associated Press review suggested, I don’t agree at all. His voice still sounds great and his delivery reminds me a lot of side two of his classic release “Son of a Son of a Sailor.”
If you purchase the CD, be sure to read the liner note before you listen to the disc. It showcases Buffett’s ability as a writer and sets you up, if you close your eyes as you sip your margarita, for a 16-song trip to St. Somewhere.