Reviews of Jimmy Buffett Shows Past

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Monday, June 12, 2006; 1:19 PM

Perhaps no performer better represents summer than Jimmy Buffett. His songs with the Coral Reefer Band, conjure up visions of lazy days spent on the beach in "Margaritaville." As the years have passed, his performances haven't changed too much, but that hasn't stopped his loyal parrotheads from flocking to see him every summer.

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July 14, 1978
Someone once said that Jimmy Buffett placed America's musical history squarely between Hank Williams and Xavier Cugat. Wednesday night, before a turn-away crowd at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Buffett demonstrated how appealing that mix can be.

With a broken leg and the original Coral Reefer Band in tow, Buffett treated his audience to an unusually long set, choosing materials evenly from his live albums. He offered, among others, the whimsy of "Pencil Thin Mustache," the cynical feet of "Banana Republics," a raucous "Margaritaville," and a stunning version of "God's Own Drunk," dedicated to the late Morris the Cat.

Part of Buffett's immense appeal is his ability to write honky-tonk pieces like 'Livingston Saturday Night," and contrast them with the sensibility of "A Pirate Looks at 40."

Wednesday's performance must be as fine a show as Merriweather Post has ever staged. The sell-out crowd left longing only for the songs Buffett hadn't sung.

Steve Daley

The Washington Post

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August 16, 1979
Jimmy Buffett is the singer laureate of beach bums. His songs extol the virtues of ocean, tequila and marijuana. What saves him from terminal mellowness is his ability to laugh at himself. Last night at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, Buffett's humor was clicking better than it ever has on record and he made the lounge lizard's life sound lovely.

Buffett's walrus mustache made him look like a bemused Mark Twain as he tossed off hilarious stories between songs. His comedic talent was clearest on his many embellishments to Lord Buckley's old talking blues, "God's Own Drunk." But most of his songs sparkle with the humor of absurdity, ranging from "Cheesburger in Paradise," about junk food, to "Fins," about beach bar sharks.

But a number of Buffett's songs looked at the underside of the vagabond's life. Missed opportunities and fading possibilities showed up in songs like "Margueritaville," "A Pirate Looks at Forty" and "Sending the Old Man Away." The last was one of several songs previewed from a new album due out next week. One of them was an enchanting lullaby with counterpointed choruses, "Song for the Children, Song for the World."


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© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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