About Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy's License To Chill
Hello Recording Campers,
A Little History
Well before we all sit down and stuff ourselves over the next week, I wanted to get this note and these songs out to all of you who will be joining us for the recording of the Conky Tonk album in Key West in December. I know that it is a long way to come and the place is full of palm trees, rum drinks and good restaurants, and your shorts and a t-shirt are mandatory dress code, but I hope you will all be able to adjust to the harsh surroundings of our studio.
But first a little word about this project as a whole. If you haven’t already guessed by the title, this album will have a solid barefooted base in what we have always done, but with a toe or two leaning in the direction of today’s country market. Let’s face it. This is not a big stretch for me. I started my recording career in Nashville in 1970 with Buzz Cason and have had several attempted failures at a country career since then while I continued to gather the present flock of Parrotheads (Thank God for them) while touring around the world. I will do the honorable thing now and blame Mac McAnally for this since he was the one who made me aware several years ago of the interest in my lifestyle by several up and coming country acts. I considered it an honor then as now, but I also started seriously listening to country stations and thought that once again, I might fire a shot across the bow of country radio. Well, thanks to Alan Jackson, we seemed to have missed the bow and dropped a 500lb gorilla on the play lists with Five O’clock Somewhere.
Key West was always the natural choice for doing this project. I have spent enough time in studios in bad climates trying to make magic. Shrimpboat Sound was an attempt to put a unique but very functional studio into a place with atmosphere. You can’t get much more atmosphere than sitting on the porch at Shrimpboat and watching the world go by. Shrimpboat is housed in an old shrimp storage cooler where the boats would unload and deposit their catch (thus the name). It was put together by Ross Ritto who was my soundman on the road for over twenty years and now owns Sound Image, one of the top sound companies in the country. Over the years, we have recorded nearly a dozen albums at Shrimpboat and more recently the studio has been used by an eclectic group of artists from Billy Corgan to Toby Keith who like the sound that we have come up with.
The musicians on this project are a collection of my longtime friends and touring band, The Coral Reefer Band, and friends who I have worked with over the years. Circumstances presented a unique opportunity for this combination of folks when Pete Mayer, my great lead guitarist, booked a Christmas Tour without knowing I was going into the studio. So while Pete is out there with brother Jim filling Parrot Heads with Christmas cheer, the timeline to get this album done and out won’t budge. So I simply invited some friends I had played with before to join us. Here is the band for Conky Tonk.
Mike Utley - Musical director, longtime friend and producer. He has been on every Record I have ever made.
Mac McAnally - his Nashville heroics speak for themselves. He will be co-producing along with Mr. Utley. He is usually a very nice guy, doesn’t drink, rarely curses but will steal a chocolate cake out of the backseat of your car in a minute. He also really doesn’t like costumes or band uniforms so I don’t think you will see him out at some of the more interesting late night establishments that thrive in the quiet fishing village of Key West.
Roger Guth - drums. Roger came aboard through the suggestion of Elliot Sheiner nearly fifteen years ago and is a great drummer-when he is not fishing. That might present a problem in Key West, but as long as we feed him, he will usually stick around.
Ralph MacDonald - Percussion. Ralph and I have been hanging out for twenty years. Besides being the legendary sound of percussion and a Grammy-winning writer and producer, he is a founding member of Club Trini along with Robert Greenidge, our virtuoso steel drum player, and is the voice of “wisdom from the back seat”.
Doyle Grisham - steel guitar. Doyle puts the “tonk” in Conky Tonk. I first played with Doyle back in 1972 when we recorded “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean” at Glaser Studios in Nashville. In the Parrothead world, Doyle is best known for his solos on Come Monday and Get Drunk. Doyle has been known to hang out at Club Trini as well.
Glenn Worf - bass. Glenn is one of our invited guests. He didn’t sound bad on “I Love This Bar”. We are happy to have him with us. I have been a big fan of his work and the fact that he is from Alabama too, and I look forward to playing with him.
Sonny Landreth - guitar. Sonny is one of my (and a hell of a lot of other people’s) favorite slide guitar players. I go to every Sonny Landreth show I am near. I am not much of an audience person, but I go see Sonny just to marvel at what he does with a guitar. I thought he would be perfect for Conky Tonk as we will be leaning a little to the swamp on this one.
Will Kimbrough – guitar. I met Will when he was a young innocent guitar player for Todd Snyder, when Todd was on our label and toured with us. I don’t know about the young and innocent thing anymore, but I know that he wrote an album full of songs that had me humming along and listening to this fellow Mobilian rock.
Bill Payne – keyboard - Little Feat - Duh!!!! Little Feat is my favorite rock n roll band hands down and I have enjoyed listening to and playing with all the boys in the band. Bill and I have been talking about getting together in the studio for twenty years. Well now we are doing it and I couldn’t be happier.
Tony Brown - Makes his quiet return to the keyboard and attempts to get me to buy him an expensive bottle of wine in a fancy Key West restaurant as a payback for my past bad behavior. It is great to have you aboard Tony.