shades of the doors and "morrison hotel" with jimmy buffett's new album, "buffet hotel" - a self titled hotel inspired album :D the spelling of the east african hotel (bamaki, mali) is short one letter - but it's close enough. the "buffet hotel de la gare" (its full name) was the site of some late into the night jams that buffett played during his trip to the "festival in the desert" in timbuktu during 2007. while the hotel may have been in africa, and inspired the title, the music is all margaritaville.
in fact, "surfing in a hurricane," set in alabama of all places, is buffett's first surfer song - complete with the dick dale rifts - and serves to revs up the album's 12 cuts. then there's the uptempo rift on "summerzcool" and the chatty "a lot to drink about," in line with traditional buffett numbers. and "big top" is all parrotheads and the circus-like concert experience. but buffet adds slide guitar and third world tones to the title cut, "hotel buffet" - and it works. there's a lot of sound and ambiance on that 6 minute train station tune!
i must say, the new album release was perfectly timed for me. i picked it up less than 2 days back from cancun - and 10 days removed from having finished his old chestnut "tales from margaritaville." not only was i in a perfect jimmy buffet state of mind, but holiday-wise, the dylan cover of "christmas island" off his newest album (seriously) had been rattling around my head for weeks. now if the warm weather would oblige and stick around...
aside from the good music, the release includes a 24 page booklet with song by song commentaries from buffett. that's a startling contrast to the non-existent liner notes tom petty's 4 cd "live anthology" (petty included extensive material in the box set version). the booklet is a great perk for fans. i find it interesting to read the back stories to the creative process. just the genesis of the title cut adds a new dimension to the album! it's hard to believe that it's been 3 years since buffett's last studio material!
it goes without saying that "hotel buffet" is a must get for parrotheads. but even for the the occasional fan, there's plenty on the album worth listening to - so don't pass it up.
for a guy born on christmas day, here's an early "happy birthday" to you. and thanks jimmy, for the early christmas present for us.