4 Things to Know About Jimmy Buffett’s Final Album ‘Equal Strain on All Parts’

More than two months following the death of Jimmy Buffett on September 1, 2023, his final album Equal Strain on All Parts will be released on November 3. The album follows Buffett’s 2020 release Life on the Flip Side

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Equal Strain on All Parts is quintessential Buffett, from the opening zydeco romp of “University of Bourbon Street” with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, through the country-rock turn on “My Gummie Just Kicked In”—featuring and inspired by a former Beatle—and the honky tonk “Close Calls” and the more sentimental title track.

Party hopping, Caribbean cool, and a misty-eyed sentimental, Equal Strain on All Parts presents all of Buffett’s many facets, one last time. Buffett, who died after a four-year battle with Merkel Cell Skin Cancer, left behind one final party mix for everyone.

[RELATED: 3 Songs You Didn’t Know Jimmy Buffett Wrote for Other Artists]

“It’s important to have as much fun as possible while we’re here,” Buffett once said. “It balances out the times when the minefield of life explodes.”

In advance of its release, here’s a look at four things to know about Buffett’s 32nd and final album.

1. Buffett Covers Dylan

Equal Strain on All Parts closes on Buffett’s cover of Bob Dylan‘s 1976 song “Mozambique.” Originally released on Dylan’s 1976 album Desire, Buffett revisits the song with Emmylou Harris, who also appeared on the original version.

Together, Buffett and Harris transform Dylan’s song into a more laidback escapade through the southern African nation singing I like to spend some time in Mozambique / The sunny sky is aqua blue / And all the couples dancing cheek to cheek / It’s very nice to stay a week or two / And maybe fall in love, just me and you.

Buffett and Dylan had a mutual admiration for one another’s work. In 2009, Dylan called Buffett one of his favorite songwriters. Dylan also named Buffett’s “Death of an Unpopular Poet” and “He Went to Paris” among two of his favorite Buffett songs.

2. The Tracklist

Recorded at Shrimpboat Sound Studios in Key West, Florida with additional recording at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tennesse, Equal Strain on All Parts was co-produced by two members of Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band, Mac McAnally, and Michael Utley.

Backed by the Coral Reefer Band, the 14 tracks of Equal Strain on All Parts were mostly written by Buffett with some songs co-written with “Honorary Reefer” Americana guitarist and vocalist Will Kimbrough, along with Mac McAnally and author Carl Hiaasen, who co-wrote “Fish Porn.”

Buffett also covers”Like My Dog,” which was originally recorded by Billy Currington for his 2010 album Enjoy Yourself, and the Noel Brazil-penned “Columbus,” first released by Mary Black in 1989, and then by David Crosby in 1993.

1. “University of Bourbon Street” (featuring Preservation Hall Jazz Band)
2. “Bubbles Up”
3. Audience of One
4. “My Gummie Just Kicked In”
5. “Close Calls”
6. “Equal Strain On All Parts”
7. “Like My Dog”
8. “Ti Punch Café” (featuring Angelique Kidjo)
9. “Portugul or PEI” (featuring Lennie Gallant, Will Kimbrough)
10. “Nobody Works On Friday”
11. “Fish Porn”
12. “Johnny’s Rhum”
13. “Columbus”
14. “Mozambique” (featuring Emmylou Harris)

3. Paul McCartney Plays Bass on “My Gummie Just Kicked In”

There’s a distinct rhythm section on the heavier “My Gummie Just Kicked In.” That’s Paul McCartney on bass. It was only fitting that McCartney played on the track, which was inspired by a dinner party Buffett and his wife Jane had with McCartney and his wife Nancy.

The music video for “My Gummie Just Kicked In” sees Buffett and a collection of artists in the studio recording the song, including McCartney.

Following Buffett’s death, McCartney shared a lengthy letter about his friend on his social media pages:

It seems that so many wonderful people are leaving this world, and now Jimmy Buffett is one of them. I’ve known Jimmy for some time and found him to be one of the kindest and most generous people.

I remember once on holiday when I had forgotten to bring my guitar and was itching to play. He said he would get me one of his, but I said, ‘I’m left-handed.’ So, Jimmy had his roadie restring one of his guitars which he loaned me for the duration of the holiday. He then followed this act of generosity by giving me my own beautiful left-handed guitar that had been made by one of his guitar-making pals. It’s a beautiful instrument, and every time I play it now it’ll remind me of what a great man Jimmy was.

He had a most amazing lust for life and a beautiful sense of humor. When we swapped tales about the past his were so exotic and lush and involved sailing trips and surfing and so many exciting stories that it was hard for me to keep up with him.

Right up to the last minute his eyes still twinkled with a humor that said, ‘I love this world and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.’

So many of us will miss Jimmy and his tremendous personality. His love for us all, and for mankind as a whole.

Last, but not least, is his songwriting and vocal ability. If someone made an interesting remark he repeated it in his gorgeous Louisiana drawl and said, ‘That’s a good idea for a song.’. Most times it didn’t take too long for that song to appear. I was very happy to have played on one of his latest songs called ‘My Gummy Just Kicked In’. We had a real fun session and he played me some of his new songs.

4. The Meaning of “Bubbles Up”

Concluding his letter to Buffett, McCartney talked about one track in particular, the more hymnal acoustic ballad “Bubbles Up.” Co-written with Kimbrough, “Bubbles Up” is the term used for how sailors can find their way up to the surface of the water when a boat has capsized.

“Bubbles Up” also serves as a metaphor for looking up to the light when things get dark: When this world starts a-reelin’ / From that pressure drop feelin’ / We’re just treading water each day.

McCartney told Buffett that “Bubbles Up” was one of the best vocals of his that he’s ever heard.

“I told him that not only was the song great but the vocal was probably the best I’ve heard him sing ever,” shared McCartney. “He turned a diving phrase that is used to train people underwater into a metaphor for life when you’re confused and don’t know where you are just follow the bubbles. They’ll take you up to the surface and straighten you out right away.”

McCartney added, “So long, Jim. You are a very special man and friend and it was a great privilege to get to know you and love you. Bubbles up, my friend.”

Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

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