Monday, July 14, 2008

CD Review: Live in Hawaii

Disc One
1) Great Heart
2) Coconut Telegraph
3) Gypsies in the Palace
4) In the Shelter
5) Burn That Bridge
6) Son of a Son of a Sailor
7) Come Monday
8) Natives are Restless Tonight
9) Grapefruit Juicy Fruit
10) It's Five O'Clock Somewhere
11) One Particular Harbour
12) Cheeseburger in Paradise
13) We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About
14) Quiet Village
Disc Two
1) Tiki Bar Is Open
2) Everybody's Talkin'
3) Why Don't We Get Drunk
4) Jolly Mon
5) It's My Job
6) Boat Drinks
7) Far Side of the World
8) A Pirate Looks At Forty
9) Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
10) Mexico
11) Margaritaville
12) Volcano
13) Fins
14) Back to the Island
15) Stories We Could Tell
Despite it being the name of his most famous song, chain of restaurants, website, and God only knows what else, there's much more to Jimmy Buffett than "Margaritaville". He just doesn't want anyone to know that. It would ruin his image.
Problem is, his long live set is full of songs that make that ode to getting drunk seem like an afterthought, much like how the rest of Bruce Springsteen's show overshadows "Born to Run". Buffett covers plenty of musical ground, venturing into rock and roll, reggae, country, blues, and swing, along with Latin, Hawaiian, AND African music. Huh?
Turns out that Buffett's cult following, the Parrot Heads, is on to something. It hits you when Jimmy and his band, the Coral Reefers, present an exotic twelve-bar blues in "The Natives are Restless Tonight". Reminds me of Howlin' Wolf when he was in a Latin mood.
It sinks in when "We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About" takes a detour and the band covers "Twist and Shout" for a verse. Later on, the steelpan marinates a lively take on "Everybody's Talkin'". That distinctive drum and Buffett's horn section are prominent on another spirited cover, one of "Mexico".
Jimmy knows what the people want. Thusly, he surrounds what they came to hear - you know the song - with great covers and originals that span many genres. He has one of the best live acts out there.
****1/2 out of five

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