Jimmy Buffett & Toby Keith “Too Drunk To Karaoke”
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. A state of mind is now a state of being. But how did Margaritaville come into a “state of being?” Better yet, how did Margaritaville become a “state of mind?” How could some guy armed only with writers instruments; a pen and a legal pad, create all that is “Margaritaville?”
The answer is simple: Imagination.
Jimmy Buffett arrived in Nashville in 1969 prepared to embark on a recording career. Gerry Wood, an old JB associate and currently a writer for Billboard Magazine recalls that, “Barnaby Records signed the artist to a two-album contract–and Jimmy went into the studio to record Down to Earth.”
“Unfortunately, the album didn’t sell well. Undaunted, Jimmy went back into the studio to record his second album. Daunted, Barnaby Records “lost” the master tapes for this album titled High Cumberland Jubilee. A convenient excuse for a fledgling label that didn’t want another no play/ no pay LP.”
“In a miracle that makes Lourdes look like a carnival shell game, these “lost” Buffett tapes were “found” years later, after Jimmy had become a star, and released on Janus Records. These first two albums show all the potential and promise that was soon to be realized.”
In a story told many times, Jimmy headed for Miami for an alleged booking date. However, when he got there, no job. Settling in at old friend Jerry Jeff Walker’s house allowed him time to regroup. A weekend drive down the overseas highway (A1A) landed Jimmy in the town that would prove to be the biggest influence in his musical career, the town that would provide the catalyst for “Margaritaville,” the town that continues to play a large role in his life, Key West.
The Encyclopedia of Rock, compiled by Nick Logan and Bob Woffinden, states that, “Buffett’s talent was hardly the sort that could be straight-jacketed by Nashville’s orthodox music establishment. After signing with ABC-Dunhill, he recorded his second debut album, ironically again in Nashville, though this time with greater artistic freedom. Released in 1973, A White Sport Coat and Pink Crustacean helped to establish him, and it was a reputation he was able to enhance with his next album, Living and Dying in 3/4 Time, which received good reviews, and contained the single “Come Monday”.
Jimmy plunged from the frying pan of Nashville into the fire of Key West. Key West servicemen, and shrimpers populated the island that had a reputation for harboring those seeking a lifestyle somewhat to the left of norm. Boarded store fronts dotted Duval St., and any dilapidated building that housed a business invariably served alcohol; over or under the counter. The proverbial end of the rainbow carried pot, but no gold. This was the cultural “melting pot” that was to inspire Jimmy to write “The Wino and I Know”, “My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, and I Don’t Love Jesus”, “Tin Cup Chalice”, and “I Have Found Me A Home” among others. As Bob Anderson says about Jimmy in 1986 interview in High Times, “Every outlaw has a good story, and Buffett has an eye and ear for them.”