Picks and Pans Review: One Particular Harbour
Buffett has often seemed to be just a pleasant idler, sailing blissfully around the Caribbean, occasionally stopping long enough to record an album of likable but forgettable tunes. This LP, though, should change that image. Not that Buffett has become a landlubber. Part of this album was recorded in Tahiti. It's festooned with pictures of him at sea. The title tune is obviously a maritime ditty, with half its lyrics in Tahitian. But there is also a fascinating selection of other kinds of material. Some of it is by other composers: Rodney Crowell's Stars on the Water (it's about Louisiana, not the ocean), Steve Goodman's California Promises and Van Morrison's 1967 hit, Brown-Eyed Girl, which Buffett revives to good effect. Buffett's own songs are more complex and thoughtful than just Margaritaville stuff. We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About is especially effective—"Now I got quarters in my loafers tryin' to fight inflation/When it only used to take a cent/Sometimes I wish I was back in my crashpad days before I knew/What cash flow meant." The light rockers Livin' It Up (written with Josh Leo and J.D. Souther) and Twelve Volt Man are peppier but full of wry, knowing lyrics, too. While Rita Coolidge makes her presence felt singing backup, this is Buffett's trip, and it is a most good-spirited, happy one.