Album of the Day: Jimmy Buffett (5/24/94)

Jimmy Buffett’s May 24, 1994 release, Fruitcakes is a typical Buffett album with tropical sounds and topics, light lyrics and gentle rhythms – just the sort of beach pirate, laissez faire Caribbean wind-blown lifestyle his persona and business career have espoused over more than three decades. But Fruitcakes reached #5 on the Billboard album chart and eventually went platinum, a rare double for a Buffett album and evidence that it is one of the best five or six discs in his catalogue.

The sun, surf and sand elements of Fruitcakes are best heard (or dreamed of) from a beach chair with a rum cocktail in hand on a sunny afternoon outside a thatched hut facing an azure sea with palm trees gently swaying in the breeze. “Apocalypso,” “Lone Palm,” “Everybody’s Got A Cousin In Miami,” a mellow take on the Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon” and a steel-drum cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Uncle John’s Band” all set that space and mood. The rest is a smooth but not serious concoction of quirky Buffett styles, including languid ballads (“Delaney Talks To Statues”), light country-rock (“Six Sting Music”), the ranting complaints about supersizing and politically correctness in the punchy title track, and the harder, bluesy horn-and-harp workout in “Vampires, Mummies And The Holy Ghost.”

Fruitcakes is a great starting point for a neo-Parrothead (as hard-core Buffett fans are known) and can be downloaded or purchased as a CD from Amazon and iTunes. Jimmy Buffett’s Top 25 tracks are in the Playlist Vault.

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