AWSCAAPC (A White Sports Coat and a Pink Crustacean - Jimmy Buffett Album Review)

A White Sport Coat And A Pink Crustacean (1973)


AWSCAAPC is a tie for my favorite Jimmy Buffett album with A1A. It all depends on my mood at the time, but both get about equal air play from me. I always rate AWSCAAPC first in the surveys and polls, because I don't think it gets enough respect. Also, this is the first Buffett I heard, I remember singing along to these songs when I was 3 years old in 1973. It has a nice mix of upbeat songs and ballads. The title is a classic(a play on Marty Robbin's A White Sport Coat And A Pink Carnation).

Great Filling Station Holdup
(Jimmy Buffett 1973)

Though I would never advocate armed robbery, I have to admit this is a fun song for me(similar to Peanut Butter Conspiracy) and good did triumph over evil in the end(“It cost me two good years”). It has a nice upbeat tempo and definitely shows the strong country influence which is evident in many of JB's earlier songs.

My favorite line from this song is:

“And now I wish I was somewhere other than here
Down in some honky tonk, sippin' on a beer”

This often comes to me when I'm somewhere that I'd rather not be(i.e. work, stuck in traffic, etc.)

JB - “Before convenience stores and crack cocaine became popular, filling station holdups were the big crimes in much of the rural south. I got the idea for this song from an actual newspaper article that described the recovered property from one such hold up. For some reason it just struck me funny.”

Railroad Lady
(Jimmy Buffett, Jerry Jeff Walker 1973)

What I like most about this song is that it was co-written with Jerry Jeff Walker. I have both JB’s and JJW’s versions of the song, but I think I like it best when they perform it together. I have a video tape of a TV show that they did together(with Fingers Taylor) in Austin, TX in 1992 that opened with Railroad Lady. It’s a nice slow paced song that tells the story of a railroad lady.”

He Went To Paris
(Jimmy Buffett 1973)

This is my favorite song off the album and one of my all-time favorite JB songs.

The line that is most meaningful to me is:

“Jimmy, some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic
But I had a good life all the way”

This has been inspirational to me. I’ve thought about this line during some of the tragic times in my life and then I try to focus on the magic ones. It's often easy to think of all the bad things that happen to us, but if we stop and think of all the good things, we'd realize just how lucky we are.

I also like the way he sings about the tragedies of war in a somber, but kind of soothing style:

“Well, the war took his baby, the bombs killed his lady
And left him with only one eye
His body was battered, his whole world was shattered
And all he could do is just cry”

This is describing some incredible violence, but it’s focusing on the man’s sadness and not the violence. When I hear this, instead of picturing the terror of war, what I see is a man having to deal with some horrible tragedies...It’s always been very touching to me.

I also have always liked the line:

“Writing his memoirs, losing his hearing
But he don’t care what most people say”

Though I’m not losing my hearing, I can sometimes relate to that feeling...grin.

JB - “Chicago is where I truly cut my teeth as a performer, working an an opening act for Quiet Knight. I opened for a variety of people from Neil Sedaka to Bob Marley, and when I got frustrated with the crowds, the old one-armed clean-up man with the big German shepherd always consoled me. It took me a few days of asking to find out that Eddie was more than a janitor. He was a gifted painter and a wonderful pianist. We would stay up after the club closed, and he would sing me songs from the Spanish Civil War where he had fought as a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade against the fascists. Eddie Balchowsky was indeed an inspiration. He was larger than life, and as Mark Twain said, “he’d gone out into the territory.” This song is a tribute to his spirit.”

Grapefruit-Juicy Fruit
(Jimmy Buffett 1973)

There’s not much deep meaning in this song about a hangover cure. I like how in many of his live versions, he always changes one line to say “chew a little bathing suit” and he always gives a nice explanation before playing it in concert.

JB - “The place was the Islander Drive-In Theatre and movie was “Payday” starring Rip Torn. The girl was from St. Petersburg, and she was running away from a bad boyfriend. The popcorn was salty and the beer was cold.”

Cuban Crime Of Passion
(Jimmy Buffett, Tom Corcoran 1973)

I’ve always liked this story of Billy, Merrita, and Shrimper Dan.

For a long time I didn't know the lyric was:

“Anjejo and knives a slashin”

I’m not sure exactly what I thought Anjejo was, it must’ve just been one of those things I mumbled over.

In the summer of 1996, a man murdered his wife and tried to plead insanity and that hearing this song on the radio inspired him to do it. One fatal mistake, he forgot to “turn his own cold hand”. Needless to say, he was convicted. Another flaw in his defense...we all know how little airplay JB gets, and especially a 20+ semi-obscure(to the general public) song like Cuban Crime of Passion.

And the last lines:

“But that's what the people like to read about
Up in America, up in America”

Always makes me think of the tabloid news craze we seem to be fascinated with...from Tonya Harding, to OJ, to Princess Di, to Monica Lewinsky...there's always something for people to be fascinated with...until the next story comes along.

JB - “There used to be a piano player in Key West named Billy Nine Fingers who told me stories about playing the ferryboat that once ran from Key West to Havaña. One day I was reading an article in the Miami Herald about a murder that had taken place in Hialeah in which a love triangle had ended in blood shed. The reporter called it a Cuban Crime of Passion.”

Why Don't We Get Drunk
(Marvin Gardens 1973)

This is another JB Classic that I can remember my dad playing on his guitar when I was a little kid(and interestingly enough this was the first song I memorized when I started learning the guitar last Spring(97)~7 chords...Whoa!). This is a very simple straight-forward song that is often surrounded by contraversy. First off, it's written by Marvin Gardens...for more info on Marvin, check out his web page at the Church of Buffett, Orthodox...Marvin Garden's Homepage.

Another bit of contraversy surrounds a seemingly simple lyric:

“They say you are a snuff queen

I myself thought it was “snow queen” for the longest time--until I finally read the lyrics on the back of the album cover. Then there's the debate on what is a “snuff queen”? I've heard everything from an “easy girl” or “hooker” to a “girl who won't put out” to a “girl who chews snuff”. I always thought it was closer to the middle one, but ¿quien sabe? Over-analyzing isn't always a good thing.

This song has been much maligned lately, at least on the JB listserv. And I can agree that I’m not a big fan of the joke performance this song has become in recent years at the concerts...everything from Little Bo Peep to Why Don’t We Get Lunch At School(which I actually thought was kinda cute at first). I now pretty much refer to the song as Why Don’t We Get Drunk At School. I know that if he played it straight, at least I would like it more...but the gimmicks definitely don’t do much for me.

JB - “This song was written as a piece of total satire when I did my first album in Nashville. I was hearing a lot of very suggestive country songs-in particular, Conway Twitty’s Let’s Go All The Way. I figured I would write a song that would leave no doubt in anybody’s mind. I thought back to a late night in an Atlanta diner where I was eatingand watching this out-of-focus businessman trying to pick up a hooker. That’s all the inspiration I needed.”

Peanut Butter Conspiracy
(Jimmy Buffett 1973)

Much like Great Filling Station Holdup this song takes a serious subject matter(shoplifting) and has fun with it. And in this one they do get away with it(a lesser offense than armed robbery though). It has a fun upbeat tempo and a chorus that really sticks with me. This song also shows how JB could have fun in dealing with his past hard times. The big question everyone always wants to know is did he ever pay the Mini-Mart back now that he is RICH?! I heard him say in an interview that he got as far as the parking lot, but couldn't bring himself to do it. No matter how you feel about the subject matter, this is still a fun song for me...maybe a guilty pleasure :-)

They Don't Dance Like Carmen No More
(Jimmy Buffett 1973)

This is a very fun song about the late great Carmen Miranda that will have you singing along in no time. This song is even better when performed live...he sometimes puts all kinds of interesting food in her hat. I was REALLY happy when he decided to play this song on the Havaña Daydreaming tour(1997). I got to see him perform it at the Hollywood Bowl. Yup, you guessed it...sliding and gliding crossed “Hollywood Floors”. This song is a very nice tribute to Carmen Miranda...I think it really captures her spirit.

JB - “I loved Carmen Miranda before I knew her name. Her hat was filled with fruit piled up to the sky. I guess this song came out of my “Cuban Period” when I first came in contact with the latin passion for fun.”

I Have Found Me A Home
(Jimmy Buffett 1973)

I really love this song. It truly captures how at home I feel here in Santa Barbara, CA. I was born here...We moved to Modesto, CA when I was 4...moved back to SB when I was 8...Then we moved Lompoc, CA when I was 10 where I lived 'til I came back to SB in 1988 to go to college and have been here ever since...“I have found me a home.” I sometimes ride my ol' blue bike up and down the beach and through the harbor and out on to Stern's Wharf at night when no one else is there. I can't completely describe the sense of at home I feel when I sit on the edge of Stern's Wharf staring out on the moonlit ocean watching the flickering lights of the oil derricks and seabirds diving for fish. No matter where I'm ever at Santa Barbara will always be my home.

JB - “I bought a red bike shortly after I decided to stay in Key West and it served me well. Key West has changed drastically from the days when you didn’t have to lock up your bike, but it’s still the best place I know to ride. The streets are filled with the fragrance of exotic trees and aromas from Cuban and Bahamian kitchens. In all the traveling I have done and all the places I have lived, it still feels like home.”

My Lovely Lady
(Jimmy Buffett 1973)

The thing that stands out most to me in this song is the line in the chorus:

“All I want's the quiet and the comforts
That livin' with my lovely Lady bring”

That sure sounds good to me.

Since I was little I always got a funny image from the line:

“She can eat her own weight up in crab meat”

Now that's a lot of crab meat...Hahaha!

Death Of An Unpopular Poet
(Jimmy Buffett 1973)

This is very touching song to me...almost up there with He Went to Paris. It's about a poet who doesn't become famous until after he dies and his best friend, his dog Spooner. The fact that he doesn't get fully appreciated while he's alive is very sad. But his relationship with his dog, reminds me of mine with my dog that I got for my 5th birthday and had until we moved back to Santa Barbara when I was 8 years old. For those almost four years, he was my best friend. If something got me down, he was always there for me with that unconditional love. Don't get me wrong, I was very close to my family and had plenty of friends, but there's something special about the relationship between a boy and his dog. This song always reminds me of that. Rest in Peace, Yogi.

(review written October 31, 1998)

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