Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Little Bertie Told Me

I got into an argument with a fellow smooth rock connoisseur where I claimed Bertie Higgins was "the intellectual's Jimmy Buffett." We'd had enough Coronitas between us to float a Spanish caravel, so perhaps my claim was a bit overstated. First, we both loathe Jimmy Buffett and his panty waste fans. They're worse than Dead Heads by a nautical mile. It's not that there isn't a likable mellowness to his music, but his lyrics make me seasick.

After reformulating my thoughts, I concluded that Bertie Higgins was the gentleman's Jimmy Buffett. His songs are mellow as an evening on Quaaludes and smooth as Coppertone on a 10th grade cheerleader's tummy.

Key Largo was Higgins' hugest hit, and watching the video, it's easy to see why. To paraphrase the lyrics, it has it all: clothes so white you could lose three grams of coke on them, a hot chick, and most importantly, a boat. Then there's Bertie himself. He is that late '70s/early '80s paragon of the ideal man. He can handle the boat, he can handle the hot chick, he definitely knows where to score coke, and he has that sensational, dark and mysterious mane and beard combo. Here's looking at you, Bertie.

Bertie's followup record from 1983, Pirates and Poets, didn't enjoy quite the success that "Key Largo" did. Styles were changing. Manly men like Bertie who referenced Ernest Hemingway and Errol Flynn were shunned in favor of girly men in spandex and make-up who probably never even read "For Whom The Bell Tolls."

Bertie never succumbed to the ridiculous like Jimmy Buffett, choosing the high road and staying sublime. His star may have faded, but at least it was never tarnished by shark fin hats and books Hemingway would have punched out and peed on. Bertie stayed classy and even posts his videos and responds to comments on his own Youtube channel. I like that.

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