December 2000

Jimmy Buffett - Buffett Live Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
Mailboat Records CD MBD 2000
Released: 1999

by John Crossett

Musical Performance *****
Recording Quality ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment *****

[Reviewed on CD]There comes a time in every man's life when he must, perforce, come out of the closet and 'fess up to his guilty pleasures. This is not an easy thing to do as, in most cases, inconstant friends will deride him for his follies and will taunt him for his poor judgment. I am willing to take a chance, however, and make my declaration, divulging one of my innermost secrets. Ready? OK. I'm a "Parrot Head." There, I’ve said it and I feel so much better now. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term, "Parrot Head" refers to those of us fanatical Buffett fans who will do anything to hear his music.) And to all of you out there chortling at my confession, get a life -- I’ve already got mine. And, thanks to Jimmy Buffett, I finally have Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays -- the live album we fans always knew he had in him. It’s a rockin' good time. Oh yeah, the music’s not bad either.

Jimmy Buffett’s been making music that anyone with even the tiniest bit of soul could enjoy for more years than any of us (especially Jimmy) would care to admit. It’s been a long, fun-filled ride -- Jimmy has given us music that can energize us whenever the weather, the world, or life in general begins to close in on us. He and his songs have been my escape route on more than one bitter cold Vermont winter's day. It only takes the opening chords of a song such as "Margaritaville," "A Pirate Looks At 40," "There’s A Woman Goin' Crazy On Caroline Street" or "Cowboy In The Jungle" to part the clouds and beam a ray of Caribbean sunshine down.

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays offers us an opportunity to attend a Buffett concert with front-row seats. This album's an amalgam of a number of different shows recorded over the last year (1999), and it puts you in the middle of a rabid posse of dancing, singing, and generally fun-loving Parrot Heads as Buffett works the crowd, pumping them up, readying them for his next tune. And does the audience ever respond, ready to explode with pleasure at a moment's notice. It don’t get any better than this, my friends.

Jimmy has filled this record (his word -- he claims that he just can’t call it a CD; to him it will always be a record, God bless him) with songs any self-respecting Parrot Head has heard many, many times before. "Cheeseburger In Paradise," "Come Monday," "Pencil Thin Mustache," "Margaritaville (with the lost fourth verse restored, hallelujah!) and "Son Of A Son Of A Sailor" are all here. So too are such lesser-known (but, I think, even better) Buffett songs like "Tin Cup Chalice," "Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season," "Fins," "Coconut Telegraph," and "Volcano." But the really fun part is hearing Buffett cover two songs: Steven Stills’ "Southern Cross" and Van Morrison’s "Brown Eyed Girl."

But it’s not just the songs that will stir the hearts of Parrot Heads everywhere; Jimmy’s got the Coral Reefer Band here in full force. Old friends such as Greg "Fingers" Taylor on harmonica, Michael Utley on keyboards, Ralph MacDonald on percussion, the Mayer brothers (Peter and Jim, on guitar and bass respectively), and Roger Gurth on drums, to name but a few, are once again supporting Buffett, as they have for almost as long as he's been recording. And all those records, shows and rehearsals are reflected in the way the band can anticipate where the music is headed and then be there waiting when Jimmy finally shows up, laughing and singing.

Sonically, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays is better than average for a live recording. Buffett sounds like a real singer, situated front and center. The acoustic guitars have that wooden-body sound that easily differentiates them from those of the electric persuasion. The steel drums ring convincingly. Bass is a little lost in the mix at times, but not so much so that it detracts from the music. My biggest complaint is that the soundstage is too flat -- there's almost no depth. The background singers sound as if they’re in Buffet's back pocket. But it’s not the sonics that will keep you riveted to your seat listening. Nope, it’s the passion, the pure fun in the music, that will keep you coming back for more.

So drop this "record" into your CD player, pop a cold one, put on your best Hawaiian shirt, grab your significant other and have fun. That’s what being a Parrot Head is all about. Rock on, Jimmy, and thanks. It’s been a long, fun ride. And any Monday, Wednesday or Friday that you don’t have anything else going on, stop on by. The beer’s on me.