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from ELIZABETH CTY, NC
Reviewed on 5/9/2014...
Although not as familiar as some of Jimmy Buffett's other music, this is great listening and definitely worth adding to one's music collection.
Mark Twain's recipe
Cindy Lovell | Hannibal, Missouri | 01/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Diehard Buffett fans don't need another review to tell them why to buy this excellent CD, nor do new Buffett fans. Besides being an excellent musical offering, Jimmy Buffett once again shows how well-read and well-traveled he is. Good liner notes are essential to the critical listener that loves to learn "the story behind the story." In his liner notes for the song "Barometer Soup" Jimmy wrote, "The term Barometer Soup was first mentioned to me by Herman Wouk, a gentleman who has plowed a few seas himself." Now, if you've read Wouk's Don't Stop the Carnival: A Novel, (which inspired a musical masterpiece by Buffett Don't Stop The Carnival [ENHANCED CD]), you'll know that Wouk not only plows seas but writes a mighty tale. And it is my secret hope that Wouk first encountered this phrase from our own Mark Twain. In Twain's A Tramp Abroad the author takes us along on a memorable excursion through Europe in the 1870s. And in chapter 38 he gives us the recipe for barometer soup. Here is an excerpt: "I hunted up another barometer; it was new and perfect. I boiled it half an hour in a pot of bean soup which the cooks were making. The result was unexpected: the instrument was not affected at all, but there was such a strong barometer taste to the soup that the head cook, who was a most conscientious person, changed its name in the bill of fare. The dish was so greatly liked by all, that I ordered the cook to have barometer soup every day." Now, to read the rest of that story you have only to read the book. This is not the only connection (round-about as it may be) to Mr. Twain. "Barefoot Children" conjures up the boyhood days of Sam Clemens for the imaginative listener...
"Keep your raft from the riverboat,
Fiction over fact always has my vote,
And wrinkles only go where the smiles have been..."
Now, the first two lines are obvious. The third line is a beautiful paraphrase of Twain's quote, "Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been." Continue on to Track 4, "Remittance Man." Jimmy's liner notes describe first meeting the RM in Twain's Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World (Dover Books on Travel, Adventure). This sad, soulful tale was inspired by about two pages from the 712 page book and shows again what a creative reader and writer is Jimmy Buffett. Buffett's liner notes provide important context for those who love the stories as much as the melody. Whether the author is F. Scott Fitzgerald or Buffett himself (yes, his books are as good as his music), Buffett makes the connection memorable. "Jimmy Dreams" speaks to the child in all of us and becomes a fast favorite. "Lage Nom Ai" harkens back to the spirit of "Somewhere Over China" and "The Night I Painted the Sky" is a more mystical and haunting descendant of "The Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful" in an escapist-kind of way. It's fun making connections to Buffett's other work, but don't think for a minute that there is any repetition going on (with the exception of his stunning remake of James Taylor's "Mexico"). This CD is a gem. It is a "Diamond as Big as the Ritz.""