Jimmy Buffett American Storyteller

This CD contains 12 tracks from two LPs that were barely released in 1970 by the Barnaby label. Back then, Buffett was not a seafaring man based in Key West. He was just one more scuffling Nashville singer/songwriter, trying to make a living while keeping an eye on the charts. It's amazing to listen to this nearly 30-year-old music (with references to Nixon Vice President Spiro Agnew). It's hard to imagine that Buffett, who has become a musical institution, was even alive back then, much less writing and recording. The truth is, he was actually a good songwriter. These are stories, vignettes and brief cameos about people’s lives, and some of them are mighty touching. Buffett was also a decent singer 30 years ago, although his style bears little correspondence to today's version. At times he sounds quite a bit like folk/country hero John Stewart (whose breakout hit "July You're A Woman" was still ringing in everyone's ears). At his zaniest, there are touches of Roger Miller's style here as well. This compilation issued by the budget Laserlight label should be required listening for Buffett's legion of fans. Eric Dilts' liner notes chronicle the events that led to and immediately followed the recording of these tunes. In retrospect, one can only wonder what might have happened to Buffett's career as we now know it had one of these worthwhile early recordings become a hit. (Laserlight)