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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Buffett delivers full plate

Howard Cohen The Miami Herald

A Jimmy Buffett fan we know heard that the singer’s new CD is good, but he needed convincing.

“Is it good like ‘License to Chill’ (2004) was good,” he sniffed, “or is it good like (’70s classics) ‘A1A,’ ‘Havana Daydreaming,’ ‘Son of a Son of a Sailor?’ ”

Rest assured, Parrotheads. “Buffet Hotel” – inspired by a trip the 62-year-old Buffett took to Timbuktu, Mali for a music festival and a sign he saw there for the Le Buffet Hotel – ranks among his best work.

Q: For years we’ve fought over the spelling of your name. With this album title, you’ve set our cause back 40 years.

A: (Laughs.) I saw this sign and thought it would be fun to play with it. It’s been a pet peeve of mine back to the days when I was playing clubs. People would come up and ask, ‘Where’s the food?’ ‘No, no. No food. That’s me.’

Q: Did the trip to Africa inspire the music?

A: The trip to Africa was one of the musical highlights of my life. It lit a fire under me as a songwriter. (But) the inspiration was more technological. Everyone uses (Pro Tools), and I am an older person but my mind is inclusive enough to want to know of these things.

I was able to do the vocals at my leisure. I call it the red-wine vocals. I was never one to spend a lot of time (in the studio.) Maybe to my detriment. I’m a capture-the-magic kinda guy as opposed to working it to death.

Q: “Buffet Hotel” also has your first surf-rock song.

A: At St. Barts I’d sit in my house with this little setup and work on those songs in a great place. Nothing like writing “Surfing in a Hurricane,” then go out and surf, and come back and listen to it.

The birthday bunch

Actor-comedian Tim Conway is 76. Drummer Dave Clark (Dave Clark Five) is 67. Actor Don Johnson is 60. Actress Helen Slater is 46. Actor Michael Shanks (“Stargate SG-1”) is 39. Actor Stuart Townsend (“Queen of the Damned”) is 37. Actor Adam Brody (“The O.C.”) is 30. Actor George Gore II (“My Wife and Kids”) is 27.

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