While it still lies much closer to Nashville than Key West (like in the boisterous slide guitar solo that lights up "The Great Filling Station Holdup"), Jimmy Buffett's A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean does begin to delineate the blowsy, good-timin' Key West persona that would lead him to summer tour stardom and the adoration of millions of drinking buddies everywhere. "Why Don't We Get Drunk," "Railroad Lady," and "Grapefruit -- Juicy Fruit" rightly became crowd pleasers. But Buffett reveals himself a storyteller with the touching sigh of "He Went to Paris," where a slide guitar appears again to lend a subtle gleam to the arrangement, or in the gorgeous, sweetly sad tale of a passed-away poet's unlikely posthumous success. It's in this wide-eyed honesty, as well as the winking sarcasm of the scrambling honky tonker "Peanut Butter Conspiracy" -- "We never took more than we could eat/And we always swore if we ever got rich, we'd pay the mini mart back" -- that Buffett's flair for easygoing accessibility really emerges. White Sport Coat has to be considered country and western music; its rambling acoustic guitars, twinges of harmonica, fiddle, and peddle steel will do that. But Buffett himself was a Nashville outcast almost from the beginning, and his southward migration began with this album. "I don't want fame that brings confusion," he sings in "My Lovely Lady," and declares his desire to get out of the Music City rat race for the more temperate climes and crab meat of the Florida Keys. Once there, the songwriting ingredients drifting through White Sport Coat and other early LPs caught the Caribbean breeze and really took off. This is highly recommended for Buffett completists and those interested in his more introspective side.
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus