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Plowing Straight Ahead Come What May

By Randall Grantham Community Columnist June 20, 2023

Standin' down on Main Street across from Mr. Blues

In my faded leather jacket and my weathered Brogan shoes

A chill north wind was blowin' but the spring was comin' on

As I wondered to myself just how long I had been gone

So I strolled across old Main Street, walked down a flight of stairs

Stepped into the hall and saw all my friends were there

A neon sign was flashin' "Welcome come on in"

It feels so good feelin' good again

Robert Earl Keen

I’ve always loved music. I can’t play anything except the stereo, although I took guitar lessons as a boy, but I am still a child of Rock n’ Roll.

My first memories of recorded music are WSUN on the AM radio each morning at breakfast as a child, with songs like Puff The Magic Dragon and King of the Road. I recall my parents waxing down the carport slab and them and their friends dancing on it to the sounds of Patsy Cline piped out over little speakers my Dad installed. Later, I explored their collection of The Ventures and Herb Alpert and played those on the Hi-Fi

I remember when we’d go over to my aunt and uncle’s house every week and I would sit on the floor of my cousin Diane’s vacant bedroom and listen to all her 45's from the little round record holder with a snap cover and a handle for taking on sleep-overs, I guess.

When another one of my aunts moved out of my grandparents’ house, I bought all of her Beatles, Stones and Beach Boy albums for $5.00, and yes, I did get a "butcher" cover of "Yesterday"... and Today that had been recalled and covered over with the packing trunk picture, in that transaction.

I joined the RCA (Record Club of America) and quit umpteen times to rejoin just so I could get 12 albums (or 8-tracks) free with each "new" membership, and then taking the many copies of The James Gang’s album back to Zayre’s and exchanging it for new music that the club didn’t offer

Traffic’s Welcome to the Canteen from RCA’s free selection was a surprise hit with the teen girls that came over to our house when I was in high school and made me look "cool" to them. And more than one young lady was seduced to the tune of Steve Winwood’s Arc of a Diver when I first moved to Jacksonville after Law School. Or maybe they seduced me.

These days I’ve got my "cloud" filled up with nearly the 20,000 song limit and have SiriusXM radios in all our vehicles. And lately, that’s what has been reminding me of the good times that are coming around again.

They keep playing original versions of Jimmy Buffett songs off the Son of a Son of a Sailor album.

I have the vinyl album. I have just about every other JB compilation on CD and thus in digital format and I had the 8-Track edition of SoaSoaS. It was the first Buffett album I owned and it was deeply ingrained into me at the age of 18, when my school chum and I took our first parentless road trip going up to his family’s Ohio woods cabin and played it nearly non-stop. But I just realized that I didn’t have that album in my current catalog.

I’ve got every song on the collection as they were redone on newer compilations and live shows, but there is something about that album, at that time, in those arrangements, with the voice of a young Jimmy Buffett as heard by an even younger me, that brings back some great memories

And for some reason SiriusXM has been playing those versions of his songs quite a bit on the air lately, and when you grow up to a specific sound, you instantly recognize that song and it can take you back to that time and those great feelings of invincibility and the feeling of awe at what lies ahead in life.

So, I bought the digital download from Amazon and just listened to it front to back. It couldn’t come at a better time for me. I believe I’ve bounced back from some shit that set me down, if not back and I’m feeling good. The old versions of the songs, with Jimmy singing like his life(style) depended on it, pre-Margaritaville Restaurants and Parrotheads and award-winning books and Landshark beer, fits right in with my mood these days. And hopefully, the mood and the future of this great country.

Life is good and it’s only getting better. Rock on, Jimmy.

(Randall C. Grantham is a fifth generation Floridian and lifelong resident who practices law from his offices on Dale Mabry Highway in Lutz . He can be reached at Copyright 2012 RCG)