Saturday, May 12, 2007

Into the Wayback Machine, Sherman!

A while back, I signed up to take online surveys for the Chicago Tribune. I acculmulate points for each survey I do, and after awhile, I earn a $30 gift card from To me, it's like free money.

When I have 'free money', spending it is an agonizing process. What to buy, what to buy? My taste in music is stunted. It is hard for me to stomach anything that is 'new' and 'hip' today. I'm a big fan of singer/songwriters, and that genre is not that popular anymore. I decided that with this purchase, I would get something that I had on vinyl, but need on CD.

As a teenager coming of age in Pre-Bust Houston in the late '70's, I discovered Jimmy Buffett. This was LONG BEFORE the "Parrot Head" era that has made him a wealthy man. My first Buffett album was "Son of a Son of a Sailor", which was the follow-up to "Changes in Lattitudes...", which was a big seller. Along about the time I could drive, I also bought "You had to be there" a live double-album that became one of my biggest musical influences.

Back then, I was the first kid on my block to buy a 'portable stereo system' (which later became known as a Boom Box). It was a Sony, and it was pretty nice. Because my 'car at the time' didn't have a working radio, I used the box, wedging it between the console and rear seat on the hump of my '72 Cutlass. We could drive to Galveston and take the box with us on the beach. Looking back, I think my parents would have freaked out if they realized the kind of traffic we drove through to get from the FM1960 area of north Harris County down to Galveston Island. Right through downtown Houston at 85mph....and then at 15mph on the way back home in traffic. Learning to drive on IH-45 and 610 Loop made me a fearless driver.

Anyhow, "You had to be there" was what we listened to. I don't think we understood half of the drug references, but we sure knew that everyone was having a great time at the show, and someday we'd be able to get drunk (or high or whatever) and understand what all the excitement was about. We learned all the Buffett songs, and my friend Dan and I would later go on to great fame as the 'Bohica Brothers Band'. (Our luck with girls was so bad, we'd just say Bend Over, Here It Comes Again).

So from the time I was 16 or 17, it was my life's goal to become a guitar player in the Coral Reefer Band. Remember, this was before all the steel drums and grass skirts and shit like that. Not that there's anything wrong with's just a different world now.

Way back then, we'd drive up to College Station to see Buffett on a Thursday night, then see him at the Summit in Houston on Saturday. Later, in college, we'd see him at CS and then run over to Austin for the next show. I remember the weekend of March 6 1982 with great fondness (6th row seats in Austin) because that's when Lori decided that she liked me.

That copy of "You had to be there" had a life of its own. All my friends borrowed it to listen to and tape. On at least 2 occasions, I was given new albums due to some misfortune the lent-out copy suffered. I had it in college, but lost track of it. Either my roommate ended up with it, or it was stolen when I blew the engine in Marshfield, MO in Dec 1983 and had to leave the car there (all my clothes and stuff was stolen out of the car while it was being fixed).

So I bought "You had to be there" with my Amazon gift card. It arrived last weekend, and I listened to it in the car (as it should be) all week. It took me back to a happy time in my life. A time when all I wanted to do was play guitar, drive to the beach, and wish that some girl liked me.

I get all the marijuana references now.

Jimmy as I remember him

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