by Stader Richardson

This came in from our Dear Friend, Stader Richardson! You’re going to LOVE it.

RIP, Jimmy Buffet …

The Time: The “Mid-70’s,” amazingly almost fifty years ago.

The Place: Baton Rouge, two in particular. One, the former home of Sam Montelbono, (Montel Records), on Jefferson Highway; the other, a true dive bar, The Country Place, just outside the East Baton Rouge Parish line.

The Subject: Young Jimmy Buffett

Back in the day, Baton Rouge was the home of a vibrant music scene.

The Jeff Pollard Band was about to become Louisiana’s LeRoux, and under the care of Leon Medica, hook up with Capital Records.

Any act showcased at Danny Courtesy’s music club/bar, The Kingfish, was the hottest ticket in town.

And Space Cowboy/Sunshyne’s 12-plus hour Annual Country Music Jamborees at the State Fairgrounds were always the most well-attended party in town.

But there were a couple of other parties that made much less news, and surely with fewer attendees, Both were headlined by a very young Jimmy Buffett.

At Montelbano’s old house, a 1.5 acre place surrounded by a ten-foot hedge, (rented for years by the Sunshyne crew of Richardson and Doug Ellis of Covington), a giant, pink tour bus pulled up for the afternoon soundcheck, (cough). Quite the misnomer as the “stage” was the cracked concrete driveway, just to the left of the volleyball and horseshoe courts and just in front of the outdoor oyster bar.

First out of the bus, a happy-go-lucky fellow who is the subject of today’s mini-documentary, (cough). In the pre-prime of life and full of, well, vinegar, he couldn’t wait to tell the story of the bus they had just bought. Oh, not the usual “wait until you see the interior” drivel, Jimmy wanted everyone to know the corporate name, as it was. As he stated “the lawyers made us incorporate, you know, in case we had an accident.” So, in soon to be nationally recognized Jimmy Buffett fashion, he came up with the name, “The Pink Crustation Transportation Corporation!” Ah, Jimmy. Back when Margaritaville and Cheeseburgers in Paradise were just twinkles in his creative eyes.

The party itself? Well, you can imagine. There were rented off-duty police at the end of the drive, checking to see that anyone walking in had one of the 100, (only), nametags, with only the name, “I was Invited.” There was the band, grabbing instruments and interrupting volleyball on multiple occasions throughout the evening and into the night. And a good time was had by all, perhaps none better than by Young Jimmy. Note: The party became a hot rumor over the next several months, but could never actually be “confirmed…”

Which brings us to The Country Place, the closet bar to Baton Rouge that could stay open past 2:00am. And the night Jimmy asked where he might get a beer at this time of night. Richardson, Ellis, and Space Cowboy’s Scott Winning and Wayne Green, piled in cars and headed out Nicholson Drive, eventually crossing the parish line and arriving at what might generously be described as a lounge.

In what was truly one of the greatest extemporaneous music performances ever witnessed by the handful of well-lubricated patrons, Young Jimmy took the “stage,” (cough), and with a guitar borrowed from the band, (cough), lit into a THIRTY-PLUS verse song about how much he loved Baton Rouge. In typical Buffett fashion, every verse had perfect meter, every line perfect rhyme. And with every verse the crowd’s cheers somehow seemed to get louder.

It was, in this writer’s opinion, the single-most amazing concert, (cough), of a half-lifetime in music.

To Young Jimmy, it was “one helluva night…”

Rest in peace JB. It was indeed a magical ride.

*Photo compliments of Scott Winning Collection

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