In defense of Jimmy Buffett – Nautical Wheelers & He Went to Paris

Old-Timer Tuesday
Most of the music posted here is new or newish. However, as a nod to the elders, Tuesdays will now officially be known as “Old-Timer Tuesday”, which will be reserved strictly for music that was written and/or recorded before the year 2000.


Most people know Jimmy Buffett from drunken sing-a-longs like “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “Margaritaville”. He’s been justifiably lampooned for them plenty of times. There’s nothing inherently wrong with those songs, but they tend to pigeon-hole him as a “quirky” songwriter. They’re catchy and fun and kind of stupid, but he has also written some great songs that are quiet, thoughtful, and contain nary a reference to daiquiris or sunscreen.

James William Buffett actually got his start in Nashville, writing country songs for other people in the late 60s. His friend and mentor at the time was an up-and-coming songwriter named Jim Croce. You might have heard of him. If not, you should strongly consider buying everything he ever wrote right here.

Two great songs by Mr. Buffett are below: “Nautical Wheelers” (a drunken singalong) and “He Went to Paris” (a poetic, quiet, thoughtful ballad). Hopefully the contrast will enhance the way you see him as a songwriter… for the better.

Be sure to watch that first video all the way to the end. The crazy dancing guy and old #20 are well worth the wait.

Also, it bears repeating: not nearly enough modern songs are written in 3/4 time.

RIYL: Gordon Lightfoot, Jim Croce, Harry Chapin, story-songs, good music

(song starts at 0:40)

2 thoughts on “In defense of Jimmy Buffett – Nautical Wheelers & He Went to Paris

  1. His first two albums “White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean” and “Livin’ and Dying in 3/4 Time” are some of his best songs from a writing and musical standpoint. I bought them on a double cassette in the early 90s after I wore out “Songs You Know By Heart” and wanted more. Some really good, thoughtful songs on those albums, and some of his fun stuff too. Another talented songwriter and mostly novelty act, Steve Goodman, played lead acoustic guitar for the Coral Reefer Band in their early days.

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