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on May 24, 2003
I've been following Jimmy Buffett's career for over 20 years...I have all his records and have seen him in concert more times than I can count.
Having said that, I think the new CD is a great overview of the world's most famous beachcomber. His tunes have stood the test of time and they tell wonderful stories.
All the standards like FINS, VOLCANO, A PIRATE LOOKS AT FORTY, SON OF A SON OF A SAILOR and CHANGES IN LATITUDES, CHANGES IN ATITUDES are included. That's to be expected. What I like about this collection is the inclusion of more mellow Buffett tunes like HE WENT TO PARIS, CREOLA, and THE CAPTAIN AND THE KID (which is made more special because Jimmy talks about his dad right before the cut. Mr. Buffett passed away from Alzheimer's right after the CD was released.)
He also does a great job on a couple of 'cover' songs -- EVERYBODY'S TALKIN' and The Beachboys' SAIL ON SAILOR.
The only disappointment was the absence of a live recording of Neil Young's SOUTHERN CROSS.
The booklet that comes with the CD is well done. The band sounds great. Jimmy's in good voice and the new recordings are terrific.
It's summertime ... the living is easy .... there's nothing better than listening to one of our great storytellers weave his magic one more time.
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on April 15, 2003
I bought it this morning (10am sharp) and I was not disappointed, awesome album. The old songs have been digitalized, and the sound really pops out at you. Being a young parrothead, I have only heard the original recordings via Internet or CDs, but the quality is much better on this album. The re-recordings of certain songs are a little weird at first, but they grow on you. I love the live recordings and the two new cover songs.
1. Margaritaville - still great
2. Migration - sounds even better
3. Growing Older But Not Up - good song
4. Holiday (Live/New Recording) - great live recording
5. Come Monday - sounds so much better in digital
6. Fruitcakes - sounds the same
7. We Are The People Our Parents Warned Us About - sounds better
8. Cheeseburger In Paradise - the guitar pops, great!
9. Jolly Mon Sing - sounds the same
10. The Pascagoula Run (Live/New Recording) - awesome live recording
11. Tin Cup Chalice - good guitar
12. Pencil Thin Moustache - sounds really good too
13. Grapefruit/Juicy Fruit - sounds the same
14. Coconut Telegraph - sounds a little peppier
15. Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes - sounds the same
16. Last Mango In Paris - sounds better
17. Fins - sounds great in digital
18. Why Don't We Get Drunk - guitar sounds better
19. Brown Eyed Girl - sounds better, heavier
20. One Particular Harbour - sounds the same
1. School Boy Heart - sounds the same
2. Everybody's Talkin' (New!) - great cover
3. Volcano - sounds better in digital
4. Son Of A Son Of A Sailor (New Recording) - great but weird at first, the female singing is odd, but is good
5. Take Another Road - good
6. Knees Of My Heart (New Recording) - sounds really good
7. In The Shelter (New Recording) - sounds better
8. Havana Daydreamin' - sounds the same
9. Desperation Samba (Haloween In Tijuana)(Live/New Recording) - awesome live recording, best live song on the album
10. Barefoot Children - sounds better
11. Saxophones (New Recording) - the saxophones sound much better
12. Cowboy In The Jungle - sounds the same
13. He Went To Paris (New Recording) - sounds weird, but the guitar is better, the singing sounds off
14. Creola - sounds the same
15. Bob Robert's Society Band - sounds the same
16. A Pirate Looks At Forty (Live/New Recording) - great live song
17. Sail On Sailor (New) - good cover
18. The Captain And The Kid (New Recording) - great song
With this in mind, I would recommend buying this album to anyone, even a parrothead who has every album. Great album for someone who barely knows Buffett. Great starter album for your family and friends.
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HALL OF FAMEon January 10, 2004
Anyone who has carefully watched singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett literally charm the pants off the million of rabid parrot heads over the last several decades will love this newest compilation of Jimmy Buffett hits. It is indeed, the ultimate collection, as entitled, and serves up (shaken but not stirred) all of the best of the guy from Magaritaville. One should be forewarned, however, that not all the cuts here are the original released versions, and several have been redone, and for purists like me, the original versions would have been better to have on board here. But not to quibble, as this is a neat CD to have for the car or office, and I love listening to everything from "Magaritaville to "Come Monday", from "Why Don't We Get Drunk" to "The Captain and the Kid", and from "A Pirate Looks At Forty" to "Pencil Thin Mustache".
Alas, Buffett fans, there are a few new songs here as well, including a nice cover of Nillson's "Everyone's Talkin" and the Beach Boys' "Sail On Sailor" which Jimmy certainly is doing here. He has made a career out of continuing to recycle a limited repertoire of songs, and the fans keep coming back again and again to party with him, such that his concerts are always sellouts and the rabid fans are true loonies when it comes to celebrating life along with the parrot Master himself. This is a great album, and one I am sure you will enjoy!
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on April 21, 2003
I picked up this cd the day it came out. In fact, I left school early to pick it up at the local Best Buy :) I popped it in and was met with the anthem, Margaritaville. Moving down the songs on the first disc there are a lot of the usuals and some lesser known songs (AKA the ones not on songs you know my heart) such as Migration, Pascagoula Run (live - sounds great) for instance. The 2nd disc is hot with such songs as School Boy Heart, Knees of my Heart, Desperation Samba (love this song), and the beach boys cover - Sail on Sailor.
Overall this disc is great and is the ultimate collection, if there is such a thing. This would be a GREAT gift for those that are not familiar with the music of Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers.
oh yeah, the sound is amazing on these cds. You can hear every instrument with clarity.... except for the annoying accoustic guitar in some live tracks, this cd sounds AMAZING
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on April 19, 2003
This could have been so much more. The classic _Songs You Know By Heart_ is too brief and cuts off in 1979 while the excellent _Boats Beaches Bars Ballads_ box is overkill for some (not for me!). What could have been a wonderfully put-together happy medium comes across instead as a quickie TV compilation.
Granted, there are some great, great songs here. "Migration", "Tin Cup Chalice", and "Havana Daydreamin'" perfectly capture the careless hedonism of early Buffett while the oft-overlooked "Cowboy in the Jungle" and "Fins" represent the late-70s country-pop star in his prime. Even the 80s are well-represented with "Coconut Telegraph", "We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About" (another overlooked gem from 1983), and "Last Mango in Paris". The 90's are represented with quite possibly his finest songs from that decade ("Schoolboy Heart" and "Fruitcakes")
There are some questionable song choices, though. "Creola" is long, meandering, and, quite honestly, boring. "Floridays" would have been a much better track. "Bob Robert's Society Band" shows Buffett being mellow almost to the point of being comatose.
The re-recordings are what really sink this set. With the stunning exception of "Saxophones", none of these tracks come close to improving on the originals. "Son of a Son of a Sailor" suffers mightily from a sappy monologue at the beginning followed by a clumsy duet with a female singer. Not good. The re-recordings of "He Went to Paris" and "Knees of My Heart" are adequate, but what's the point of trying to improve on perfection? The most egregious offender of all is the faux-reggae disaster of "In the Shelter". This is Jimmy's third studio recording of the song (1971, 1977, and now 2003) and this is by far his worst. A lovely country-folk tune has now become a calypso nightmare straight from the 80s. Again, not good.
The two new songs (actually covers) also leave much to be desired. Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'" was done to much better effect by Harry Nilsson back in the late 60s. WARNING!!! Do NOT judge "Sail On Sailor" as a song using Jimmy's recording! He sounds like a middle school choirboy reading the lyrics from a lyricsheet. No feeling at all! His version pales in comparison to the Beach Boys original from 1973. Check it out if you ever get the chance.
Over all, this is a fairly pleasant collection to listen to if you can get past the unnecessary re-recordings. Newcomers should probably just pass this one by and dive right in with "Boats Beaches Bars Ballads".
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on April 15, 2003
First off, all of the songs on this two-CD set are good songs. While the song selection may be questionable in some instances, there are no stinkers. That said, the idea of this CD just bothers me. Buffett already has a greatest hits CD (admittedly a bit dated), a box set, and three live CDs (most of which contain the same songs). Is there really a need for this latest release? The best this release has to offer is a couple of live versions and a smattering of material from the 1990s. Really not much value added over the excellent box set.
My main beef is that for someone who mocks Corporate America every chance he gets, Jimmy has really just become Buffett, Inc. He's selling CDs, books, clothes, food, concert tickets, baseball tickets, etc. I'm all for capitalism. Just don't try to come across as a populist crusading against Big Business when you're exploiting every option available to stuff your pockets with other people's cash.
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on November 12, 2004
If you, gentle reader, are a Parrothead who collects Buffett albums religiously, you'll be interested in this one mainly for disc 2, wherein 10 of the 18 tracks are new recordings (only two of them are live). Both the new recordings on disc 1 ("Holiday" and "The Pascagoula Run") are live.

(On the other hand, actions speak louder than words, and *I* bought this album.)

In general, where a song has appeared as the title track of an older album, that song's recording is taken from that album. (Exception: "Son of a Son of a Sailor")

Which songs correspond to recordings from other albums, and which are new? I'll list them by album; for details on those recordings, see reviews of the earlier albums.

Recycled songs (26 of 38):

- from A-1-A: "Migration" and "Tin Cup Chalice"

- from BANANA WIND: "Bob Robert's Society Band" and "School Boy Heart"

- from BAROMETER SOUP: "Barefoot Children"

- from CHANGES IN LATITUDES, CHANGES IN ATTITUDES: "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes" and "Margaritaville"

- from COCONUT TELEGRAPH: "Coconut Telegraph" and "Growing Older But Not Up"


- from FRUITCAKES: "Fruitcakes"

- from HAVANA DAYDREAMIN': "Havana Daydreamin'"

- from LAST MANGO IN PARIS: "Jolly Mon Sing" and "Last Mango in Paris"

- from LIVING AND DYING IN 3/4 TIME: "Come Monday" and "Pencil Thin Moustache"

- from OFF TO SEE THE LIZARD: "Take Another Road"

- from ONE PARTICULAR HARBOUR: "Brown Eyed Girl", "One Particular Harbour", and "We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About"

- from SON OF A SON OF A SAILOR: "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and "Cowboy in the Jungle" (but "Son of a Son of a Sailor" itself has been re-recorded)

- from VOLCANO: "Fins" and "Volcano"

- from A WHITE SPORT COAT AND A PINK CRUSTACEAN: "Grapefruit/Juicy Fruit" and "Why Don't We Get Drunk"


Personally, I prefer the live album FEEDING FRENZY's versions (with Jimmy's additional patter) of "Cheeseburger in Paradise", "Fins", "Jolly Mon Sing", "Last Mango in Paris", and "Volcano" to those on MEET ME IN MARGARITAVILLE. But now we come to the 12 new recordings.

"The Captain and the Kid" sung as a tribute for Jimmy's father, with just piano and bass.

"Desperation Samba (Halloween in Tijuana)" (new recording/live)

"Everybody's Talkin'" is one of the two "new" songs on this album (the other being "Sail On Sailor"), but in both cases they're pre-existing songs by other artists. Jimmy's rearranged it here. As for "Sail On Sailor", Jimmy says, "So here we are trying to do another Beach Boys song."

"He Went to Paris" is essentially a trio song here, with Jimmy, Mac McAnally on acoustic guitar, and Jim Mayer on acoustic bass.

"Holiday" (live)

"In the Shelter" with a new reggae arrangement, which sounds too different from the older arrangements for me. (As yet, anyhow.)

"Knees of My Heart" (new recording) is pleasant, but relatively bland.

"The Pascagoula Run" (new recording)

"A Pirate Looks at Forty" (Mother, Mother Ocean) (live) - Jimmy can do no wrong with this, but I still prefer the FEEDING FRENZY version with its little story of how he came to write it.

"Saxophones" Jimmy says in the booklet accompanying the CD that now the song has been taken to New Orleans and rearranged so that the horn solo is "as God intended it" - that is, he finally got to recut it, plugging in a baritone solo after the "big baritones" line instead of the bass solo his former producer put there.

"Son of a Son of a Sailor" is worth getting this album for. I'm not completely sold on Nadirah Shakoor's accompanying vocals yet (although she's quite good), but I'm learning to appreciate her.
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on April 16, 2003
Summer is coming but we have that state of mind all the time with this music, and a new collection of Buffett songs is always welcomed to ears the world over!
But Wait! This isn't just a collection of songs off of other albums, there are some true finds here, some new gems, good songs that may have been overshadowed at the time of release,rerecordings with new arrangements, and favorites recorded live or with updated technology. "Saxophones" is brought into the new millenium, as are the classics "Knees Of My Heart" and "In The Shelter". "Take Another Road" is given new life here, in its first inclusion on a compilation,this should have been a hit. Perhaps as with other songs in the key of "JB" it is too deep.
The live cuts are Buffett at his best-the band too- and often they are overlooked, but not here.
The brand new songs are the real reason for this to exist though. "Everbody's Talkin'" is given Buffett's wry twist, but it is at the end of disc two where the true treasure is burried. The last two songs are remakes,one of his own,the other born of his songwriting with, and admiration for Beach Boy Brian Wilson(Check out "South American" on Wilson's 'Imagination' release, the Cameron Diaz reference is priceless!).Wilson's "Sail On Sailor" is a true classic, more somber than tunes Buffett's fans are used to, but joyous nonetheless.The nautical wave continues with "The Captain & The Kid". This one was originally written for Buffett's grandfather, but one can feel the changes that have come since it's original release in the early 1970's. Fatherhood, strained business and personal relationships, and his father's health have added layers of truth to an already wonderful song, one made better by time.
Since "Ultimate" is defined as "final"-let us hope it is not the final collection - but in common parlance- this is the "Ultimate", indeed. Meet Me In Margaritaville? I am already packed.
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Jimmy Buffett's new album Meet Me In Margaritaville is subtitled The Ultimate Collection. While that is completely subjective as Parrotheads have their own favorites, this set has something that will please everybody. Mr. Buffett has re-recorded six songs, included new live versions of four other songs and two new recordings, covers of "Everybody's Talkin'" and "Sail On Sailor" (his first ever cover of a Beach Boys song). The new versions of the songs are very good, but only "Saxophones" is superior to the original. New versions of songs like "The Captain & The Kid", "He Went To Paris" and the live "A Pirate Looks At Forty" have a different feeling as Mr. Buffett is no longer the kid in the songs, but the older men and this adds a nice poignancy. The album offers something from every era of his career from early classics like "Come Monday", "Grapefruit/Juicy Fruit" and "Pencil Thin Mustache", to his "hits" like "Fins", "Cheeseburger In Paradise" and "Why Don't We Get Drunk" to newer songs like "Fruitcakes" and "Barefoot Children". Of course hit one and only top ten single "Margaritaville" opens the first disk and no ultimate collection of Jimmy Buffett's would be complete without that single that still encapsulates the fun and good times that his music brings.
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on July 23, 2004
I've always known about Jimmy Buffett and "Parrotheads." I knew and enjoyed his song, "Margaritaville," but I was never inclined to seek out and listen to any more of his music, and I was content in my world. But then someone loaned this CD set to my wife . . .

You never know what you have been missing in life. I listened to the songs on these CDs and was hooked. The versions of the songs on these CDs are not necessarily the original versions. Some have had minor word changes, tempo changes and arrangement changes, but it certainly doesn't matter to me. After performing all of these songs, some of them for many years, I can't blame Jimmy Buffett for changing them around a little to keep things interesting.

While this 2-CD set is a great collection, it has only lit the fire in me to find more of his music, including the original versions. What a pleasant task this is. After listening to some of the originals, I can say that the songs on this set are consistently richer, fuller, more mature, and Jimmy's voice is more mellow.

Want to get your feet wet in Jimmy Buffett's Caribbean? Try this CD set - you won't be disappointed.
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