Over the many years since the receipt of my Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan, I have probably spent more rewarding hours reading detective stories than any other form of fiction. Such reliance on a particular genre is often viewed as a marked deficiency in taste and erudition, so I’d like to take a few minutes to defend my predilection.
I’ve always considered this to be Jimmy Buffet’s masterwork. The musical backing is infectious, swaying and danceable, and the background vocals add depth. The words are cleverly crafted, and perfectly suited to Buffett’s conversational, wisecracking delivery.
I’d been aware of Paul Thorn for some time, but didn’t really become a fan until I saw him live last summer at The Ark in Ann Arbor. I convinced an old University of Michigan roommate to come with me while I was in town, as an opportunity to catch up, but we were both caught off guard by how much we loved Thorn’s show. I’ve been listening to Thorn’s recordings regularly since then, and can now bear witness to a great catalog that bears deep and repeated listening.
This is a rather amazing song by The Kinks, first released in 1968. I loved this song from the moment I first heard it, but my appreciation for it has only grown over the years.
It’s certainly fair to categorize this song as a religious one, and more particularly as a Christian song, and yet, even though I consider myself to be a non-believer, my lack of faith doesn’t diminish my appreciation for this song in the slightest: if anything, I think it increases it. For unlike many songs that we could put in this category, this song does not seek to proselytize, or ask us to accept any particular religious teaching.