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Music Reviews

  Here you'll find reviews of the latest releases by your favorite "Trop-Rock" musicians, our take on some older CDs you may have missed .... and perhaps a great book or two !!

Tropical Dreams is pleased to announce that we will be updating our Album Review section on a more regular basis, featuring reviews by our knowledgeable friend, Mr. Jim Bright. Look for Jim's insightful analysis of new TropRock releases as they appear.



Singer/songwriter/musican Jack Mosley from South Florida has put out another great CD in 2005. Jack is talented and one of nicest artists you could ever hope to meet.

This CD has 11 tunes, all very good or great. The first track is Down On Duval, one of favs on this CD. Jack is many things but most of all he's a songwriter. And there is no doubt Jack likes writing drinkin' songs. The first 3 songs deal with the fun of drinkin'. I have no problem with that! Then the CD changes with Gypsy Wind, a beautiful ballad. Down In The Islands is a great island tune written while Jack went back to Nashville for some songwritin'. Summer Afternoons reminds all the boys of summer and camping, our lost youth, I love this tune. My Little Town By The Bay is sort of sad because Jack got hit by a hurricane and his town, like most tourist areas, are getting over run by "snowbirds". My word, not Jack's. Big hotels and such. You couldn't pay me to live where Jack does but I understand his feelings.

I think Jack is Good At Being Bad, likes to sing about it! Jack's fun songs are great but his ballads get to your heart like It's A Beautiful Day. It's a simple song about a damn good day. 

On this CD Jack was joined by Vaughn Lofstead on guitar, Rick Rhenberg on bass and Joe Fiorentiono on drums. The title track is one of the best. Sad, lost love in a tourist town. Jack can write songs and sing them too. 

Jack Mosley is one of the best indie artists out there. Tourist Town Blues is Jack's 4th CD. I won't say it's his best because I love them all so go www.jackmosley.com and buy his music!

Rambling Reviews by Jim Bright

"PUT IT IN" - Terry Kozminski  

Terry Koziminski, better known as Koz, released his first CD in 2004. Though only 3 songs, they are very good songs.

Those that attend Phlocking of the Phaithful in Put-in-Bay will be especially interested in Koz’s songs since a couple of them deal with that event. Put-It-In is probably the best tune, but I like Regular Guy maybe a bit better because of the lyrics.

Koz is joined by several great artists on his first, though too short CD. Larry Goshorn plays electric and acoustic guitars, background vocals and also produced the CD. Dave Morris on keyboards, Adam Scovanner on 5 string bass, Harold Kennedy on banjo and lap dobro and Rick Marksberry on harmonica and background vocals.

The CD was recorded and mastered at Wine Cellar Studios and Koz did a great job with the cover design with help from friends, too many to mention.

Kozminski songs are getting radio play so shows that are very good. His first play was on Island Time Radio, Cleveland, Ohio WBWC.com but others are listed on Koz’s website.

I recommend you check out Terry Kozminski at www.terrykoz.com. Listen to the sound bites, you’ll enjoy his music, I do.

Rambling Reviews by Jim Bright

Multiple CDs - Rockfish

Recently I found a new band (to me) to enjoy and even had the pleasure to
meet them. Rockfish isn't very well known but should be because these guys
know music and have been together along time.

Rockfish comes from Grand Haven, MI, and the members are Charlie MacConnanch on guitar, vocals, and synths, Fred Elkins on bass, harmonica and vocals, and Bruce Bowditch on drums and vocals. Sometimes Charlie's son Carl sits in on congos or drums.

Rockfish's motto is: The More You Drink The Better We Sound, The More We
Drink The Better We Think We Sound.

Though I'm known to be a drinkin' man I don't need to drink to to enjoy
Rockfish's music. They have 6 CDs plus a DVD with all the CDs on one disc.
What a great concept.

Fred writes all the lyrics and Charlie puts the music to them, and what a great job they do. The variety is amazing. Rock, TropRock, ballads, country, bluegrass, tropical, frigging good stuff.

Mostly likely Rockfish's best CD is Rockfish at Normans Cay II - Return to
MacDuffs. Since the CD started as a fake radio broadcast that fooled me and
I thought MacDuffs a fake resort but I guess it is the Bahamas and Rockfish
is obsessed with the place through much of their music.

Some of Rockfish's music is for "mature" listeners but who doesn't like a
little Head? Who hasn't had a Shitty Day in Paradise? I know I have. There
is always a Burger Bitch out there somewhere and the title to this song is
for those of us that live in the North, Winter Sucks. It does. Did I forgot
the song about boobies? Who doesn't like boobies?

Rockfish is under rated and should be known better. They have a great
website: www.soundclick.com/rockfish Check them out!!

Rambling Reviews by Jim Bright

"DEJA VIEW" - Hanna's Reef 

Hanna's Reef consists of some ex- members of Key West The Band from Texas. For whatever reason Jerry Diaz, Mike Barnett and Bob Brammer split off and formed a new band, I can only guess because they wanted to keep to the TropRock sound so many of us love.

Deja View is adaptly named, many of the songs were already recorded by KWTB and some of my all time favs. Jerry Diaz does the writing, Mike Barnett does most the singing and that guy can SING! Most the re-makes are much better with the exception of Making Waves, one of my all time favorite tunes ever. Hannah's Reef makes it good again, but it lacks the horns from the first recording, replacing it with piano. I'm a whore for horns ya know.

I adore the ballad Bitter Winds, one of those songs you listen to over and over because of it's melancoly yet great lyrics. Can't be happy all the time.

Livin' Well reminds me of me. To a point. Cool tune about living beyond your means, you can't take it with ya, right? Jerry Diaz sings lead on this one, very good harp by Mykey Baswell as well.

I can't review every song on a CD but I think Jamacia Me Smile is the most boring song on Deja View. Good thing I can click to one of the best, Have You Seen Your Rita? Great play on words in the lyrics, a easy sing along.

I guess I can't say enough about Mike Barnett's voice. There a few in TropRock I really appeciate, this guy can SING! Local Knowledge is another favorite. What a strong voice! You should hear him sing the classic Brandy! WOW.... Not on this CD though.

Hopefully Hanna's Reef is working on another studio CD in the near future, they have a live CD but I don't recommend live CDs, can't review 'em.

You can get this great CD by going to www.hannasreef.com plus it's also available at Amazon.com

Rambling Reviews by Jim Bright

"USE ME" - Amy Lee

The first time I put Amy Lee's new CD in to listen I got stuck. The CD didn't get stuck, I was stuck on the first song, the title track, Use Me. I had to listen 3 times before going on to the rest of the CD. I find the saxophone the sexiest instrument ever invented and when a sexy lady such as Amy Lee is playing it all the the better. Of course Ms. Lee isn't limited to the sax, she knows many instruments.

 If the only thing your into is trop/rock music this CD might not be for you. I say you should change your thing. Amy Lee first CD, Inside the Outside, was very good jazz sax, but Use Me takes the sexy saxophone to the highest level I've ever heard. I don't listen to alot of jazz really, but if I hear a saxophone my ears always perk up. 

Amy Lee has brought together many fine artists for Use Me, some Coral Reefers, some more famous in the jazz genre. Amy Lee and all involved put their hearts and souls into this effort, too many names to mention. 

As I've said, I got stuck on Use Me, but track 4, In The Sun has only one problem, it ends!! Traz Da Lua is interesting with it's Portuguese vocals by Alice Genereux, but a bit slow for my taste. Amy does play an awesome flute in the song. 

I really enjoy almost all the songs on this CD, mainly the ones where Amy Lee does what she does best, play that sexy saxophone! The cover pics are really sexy too. 

I highly recommend this CD, only available at www.amyleesax.com  Tell her Jim sent ya......

 Rambling Reviews by Jim Bright

"BLUE PEARL PARADISE" - Josh Kear, Ed Hill, David Frasier

I learned that Blue Pearl Paradise isn't actually a band that you can hire for a gig, I was rather bummed to learn that because this is one great CD. This is project by Nashville songwriters Ed Hill, David Fraiser, and Josh Kear. They put together at great bunch of musicians to make one of the best trop-rock CDs I've enjoyed in quite some time. 

I have a problem with CD though. The first song, The Only Thing Missing, is so good I keep re-starting the CD. The beat is great and vocals awesome. It's where we all want to be with the babe of our dreams, but she ain't there! Come on down honey! The only missing is you....... Great song. 

The CD slows some after with Sunshine State of Mind, but wonderful ballad about wanting to go from landlocked to the beach. 

I really don't care much for the title song, Blue Pearl Paradise. Just too slow and sort of whiny, I'm not much into this sort of music. If I knew how to make music, rather than just listen, OK, I don't like the song. I don't really care much for And Girls All Sway either. 

Then we get to Hurricane Cooking, ah, yes, my type of tune. Very awesome vocals in this tune though too short. This song should have been expanded because it's one of the best on the CD. 

Being a semi-country fan I enjoy the use of steel guitar on this CD and the piano work is very good. The song Twelve Miles Out is a favorite, sort of blues? I guess if your a Cuban you'd have the blues if you didn't make it 11 miles in. 

I don't like every song on this CD, but I certainly like more than I don't like. The vocals on all songs are very above average. My favorite ballad is Sailor Too From The Sea, reminds me when I was in the Navy, same as my Dad and my Grandpa. 

I've pretty well reviewed what I think about the first 9 songs. The last three are why I really wanted to own this CD. I really can't recommend Blue Pearl Paradise enough, I have hundreds of independent artist CDs, mainly in the island genre, this one is why I keep spending my money!!! 

 Rambling Reviews by Jim Bright


While takes a road trip on New Year's Eve to see the band Boat Drunks I put in Freaky Tiki Faces in the trucks CD player. After a couple of minutes my wife asked which Jim Morris this was. I told her her the newest. A few minutes later Kristi commented Jim Morris's songs all sound the same. I didn't agree completely but didn't completely disagree. 

About halfway into to the CD Kristi said this really good, I like it. She is right, it one of the best Jim has put out. His voice, well it's Jim Morris, it doesn't change much. He is a great artist, though maybe not the friendliest artist I've ever met. 

This is one of Jim's best Cds and I believe I have them all. This Jim Morris, the artists behind help, I woudn't go see to Jim sing solo. 

Dreamin is cool with Johnny Magnusan on sax, I'm a sucker for saxophone. Rock  Star School is what is sounds like, a rock song but not the best Jim singing. Like it though. Rawdy. 

Water Days is typical Jim and Dave Lapio on steel drums is very well done. 

Gary Harvey does alot of lead guitar work on this CD and he plays lead like I likes it. Trying To Hold The Wind Up With A Sail has a WONDERFUL guitar rif at the end that is awesome. 

This is Jim Morris's 10th CD, a long career so he is doing something right. 

Jim Morris is a great artist and you can check out more at www.Jim-Morris.com

  Rambling Reviews by Jim Bright

"TROPICAL NUTS"- Brent Burns  

I consider Brent a phriend from Gulf Shores and the last time I was there he'd just released Tropical Nuts and I hadn't heard any of the tracks. 

If your a Brent Burns phan like me you will like his 3rd CD. Much of it is comedy and fun. When I heard I'm Going Ulgy Early Tonight live about fell out of my chair with the "punchline" in the song. OK, I did fall out of my chair laughing the first time I heard it. 

Of Brent's 3 CDs this is his funniest but not all songs are comedy, Men Fake It Too is a very seroius song, really, it is! 

I really love Their Getting Married Again, 2 for him, 3 for her, sounds familar in my life! It rocks too. 

It's a bit country but a fun CD. The last track might not appeal to everyone, it's called FTF (Forget The French). Though not a great song the message works for me, Brent wrote it in nearly a heartbeat and I say F... the French. 

Brent did something at MOTM no artist has ever done, he put a copy of Tropical Nuts in every goodie bag for those that were registerd. What a guy. 

Brent still hasn't topped my wife and my favorite song from his first album, Aloha Betty.

Check Brent out and buy his CDs at www.brentburns.com

Rambling Reviews by Jim Bright

"NEW CONNECTION" - Todd Snider

Leave it to Todd Snider to explore old ironies and former paths in an album called "New Connection."

The singer/songwriter's fifth album, and second for John Prine's Oh Boy label, doesn't pack the emotional wallop of his last record, "Happy To Be Here," which, with its "folk Stax" feel, was among the best albums of 2000.  Nor does it have the rock & roll attitude that made his final (and best) album for MCA, "Viva Satellite," so punch drunk on Tom Petty.

Instead, former Memphian Snider has made his least original (and least convincingly sung) album, one that has some great tunes, as always, but tunes that often feel as if they dropped out of someone else's bag of alt-country moves, most notably label head and mentor Prine, whose Crooked Piece Of Time is about the catchiest thing here (Prine even adds vocals).

Snider gets in his trademark Talking Seattle Grunge-Rock Blues wordplay on Vinyl Records, which pays tribute to his influences with a down-home litany of names ala Kid Rock's  American Bad Ass (instead of rhyming Johnny Cash with Grandmaster Flash, Snider opts for lines like, "I got Rita, Kris, Keith Sykes and Country Joe, When he was singing with the Fish, you know"). 

However, the weakest track is a parody of a tune that already skated on thin novelty ice; Beer Run, which even has the same "B double E" chorus as the more famous hit by Garth Brooks and George Jones.

All is forgiven during Snider's reflective moments, some of his most beautiful ballads to date, in fact, which lift the album from generic outlaw to something with bite and heart.  You won't soon forget the bittersweet closer, Waco Moon, the Buddy Holly pop ease of Easy or the Snider-Sykes Celtic-styled original, Class Of '85.

With arrangement-savvy pals Kim Richey on harmonies and Will Kimbrough on guitar, plus horn player Jim Hoke and Prine multi-instrumentalist Jason Wilbur adding a Band-like flair to several tracks, "New Connection" sounds wonderful (if all too familiar) even in the slightest moments.


Musical inspiration comes in many forms. It could be from a life experience, another song from a favorite musician, or any other event a person lives through that impacts them so greatly that it spawns a musical creation.

BOB KARWIN’s "A Little Something for Everyone" is the perfect example of inspiration turned musical enjoyment. Karwin, is an independent artist whose music can best be described as the "Barenaked Ladies meeting Jimmy Buffett." Combine that with his Jim Croce-esque voice and Karwin is a classic example of musical talent kept hidden in the shadows of popular culture.

Biographically, Karwin has followed the same escapist footprints left in the sand left by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett. Karwin traded in playing the Boston Pub circuit for the sunny California coast, where he vividly conveys his laid-back, escapist image in this, his first CD release.

One of my personal favorite selections, "California Sunshine", is a Buffett-inspired, lay back, and soak up some rays kind of tune. This song stimulates the kind of daydreams nearly every New Englander experiences each cold, snowy winter.

Other notable tracks from A Little Something… include the song "Drive", an excellent lifestyle metaphor, which matches Karwin’s bad driving habits with a ‘blind to what the future holds’ mentality. "Drive" conveys the feeling of sitting behind life’s steering wheel, barreling down the highway, with eyes closed.

Also included is the comedic country music parody, "Perfect Day." This upbeat track is the antidote to the stereotypical country song, which generally includes a lot of bad luck, trouble, and a melancholy tone. So instead, Karwin sings of one of those days when everything goes right. He humorously admits, "country radio will never play the song because the folks won’t be able to relate!"

For anyone who enjoys simple melodies with strong lyrical accompaniment, Bob Karwin’s A Little Something for Everyone is the perfect addition to the CD library. I’ve put this album right next to my entire Jimmy Buffett collection, for those days when reality is just a little too much to handle.

So, fire up the blender, pour yourself a frozen concoction, and enjoy!


The year 2001 was a banner year for singer/songwriters in the TropRock/Gulf & Western/Caribilly/Americana genre with the release of literally dozens of excellent albums.

Hugo Duarte has unleashed the potential he showed in his previous album,  "Places Along The Road," and the result is unquestionably one of the top 5 releases of
the year and a benchmark for singer/songwriters of any genre.

This is a happy album, this is a fun album, this album takes me sailing off of Caya Hueso.  With the
exception of a couple of superb ballads, every tune "sets your toe to tappin' & makes you want to cut a rug."  Slip this CD in on the way to the office and I guarantee you'll be smiling & singing "Danged Old Truck" or "Back To The Islands" or "Cutie" or "Hillbilly Beach" to yourself the rest of the day!

Top to bottom, every tune on the album is a winner, the production job is just about perfect for this type of album...not too slick, not over-produced, but just about right and The Full Sail Band is strong and tight and continue to show their versatility and mastery of a ton of different instruments.

Hugo himself just keeps getting better and better...as a songwriter, as a singer and as a performer. As Dick Vitale says, "He's now a PTP, Baby!"  A Prime Time Player who's gonna be around making great music for a long time to come.

Order your copy today at: http://www.hugoduarte.com/

 "SHELLHEAD PARTY" - The Carolina Beach Club

I don’t know if you folks realize that this is the fourth album released by this group in just as many years. This one is by far the best project to date. (Hey, they always told me practice, makes perfect). This project isn’t perfect but it is good. Each of their previous projects put forth an island flavor and this one continues that trend. But it also adds in a bit more blues, a little retro feel and sound plus some innovative use of harmonies. A good example of this is the auccupella bridge in track 1 and the mid point modulation on track 9 a solid lounge cover. 

I have to tell you there are several tracks that I personally like, several of which you dancers and DJ will find of use. My Favorite is Track 10, (Some Kind of Wonderful). A solid 120-bmp cover with a great variation using an interchange of male and female leads on this ever-popular John Ellison original. Another very usable track it cut 8. It too clocks in around the 120 BPM range but feels a bit easier has a really nice guitar bridge as well as a triple break that will allow you dancers to throw in a few nice effects for STYLE! Additionally, those of you who like faster Bop style tunes are going to find at least three tracks you are going to love, if you like material that clocks in at 144 BPM or better. Not to be out done the final track “No Woman, No Cry” has a slight island tinge which just cries out to be a belly rubber for you snuggle up and squeeze me folks. 

On the “Ole Give It To Mikey, He’ll Play It, Rating Scale” this one is a straight up A. It offers a variety of material for the DJ, the dancer and the listener. It is well produced and engineered. The engineer has maintained the quality of the background tracks while providing the lead vocalists with the necessary presence to feature them on tunes that accent their individual skills. Additionally, the group takes some very familiar tunes and not just tweaks them but enhances them in a novel way that adds to the track and your listening enjoyment. 

This one should be available at your local specialty shop but if you can’t find this one go to their website and order direct http://www.shellhead.com.

"Fools, Drunks & Children" - PHINS

This CD from St. Louis based PHINS has been out for awhile but before I review the CD itself I feel I need to tell a story about the lead singer, Paul Roush.

 In the summer of 2003 PHINS played after a minor league baseball game in Peoria, Ill. and of course I was there. I ran into some of the band members and asked where Paul was. Charlie and Flipper told me to look at home plate in a few minutes. There was my friend Paul singing our National Anthem. I've heard it sung hundreds of times but I'll always remember Paul's rendition, it touched me so. I cried, really I did.

 OK, the CD. It's full of covers but also some originals. Down To The Islands is what many of us here in the North dream of, I know I do.

 PHINS is a big band and have something most Parrot Head bands don't have, a fiddle player. Jerry also plays keyboards and guitar and probably more. Love the fiddle.

 The title song Fools, Drunks, & Children is a wonderful ballad and most of us have been all three.

 I love every song on this CD, even the covers. Only Paul Roush and PHINS could make Peter Mayer's Suzannah When The The Goes Down even better than Peter, in my humble opinion.

 The tune Songs You Know By Heart takes Buffett songs and makes one phun tune to listen too!

 PHINS is blessed with one of the best lead singers in the bizness and  surrounded by a very talented band. 

A must have CD so check out www.phinsband.com  for more info.

Rambling Reviews by Jim Bright

"Keys" In My Car" - CARIBBEAN BLUE 

 This is a toe-tapping CD from 3 guys up in Michigan. There is something about Michiganders, they love singing about warm weather though they usually need to leave that state to find it. I can understand that.

I really like this debut CD, very tropical, very good singing, Caribbean Blue just needs a real drummer/percussionist to make them a really great band. The first two tracks, Keys In My Car and Only The View is Free grab your attention, that toe-tapping, just good tune thing. Vacations, track 3, goes from great to not so great, vocals vary abit, the harmony is not that good at times.

 A couple of songs aren't that good, Friends and Faces seemed like a filler and the vocals need some work. White Boy Rasta is an attempt at reggie but not bad for white boys. Pretty much like it. The best track on this CD is Amazing Larry even though some of the music is "borrowed" from someone we all know. The last two tracks are really good as well. Caribbean Blue is a harmony singing band, most times it sounds good but maybe one of the guys should stay out out of certain songs?

 I don't love every song on this CD but I don't hate any of the songs either. It's a good CD, I didn't waste my money by buying it. Your money won't be wasted either. 

You can check out Caribbean Blue more at www.caribbeanblueband.com

Rambling Reviews by Jim Bright


Bahama Llama is one of the first tropical bands I started following. They call home Bloomington, Indiana and are popular at Cheeseburger In Paradise in Indy. When the leader of the band, Eric Ban, sent me the Llama's 3rd CD his written note called it "killer". Eric has never lied to me and he has lead this band through many changes over the years. This time around around he has added a three piece horn section and the CD features several guest performers and back up vocals. It is extremely well produced.

 Baja Whale Watching has 11 tracks, including two fine updated versions of songs from their debut CD, Gravity Is My Friend, no longer in release.

 The title track on this CD is a little hard to explain, the best I can come up with is "tropical funk". Eric shows his voice range and then it just gets sort of wild! Words can't quite describe this tune but very cool.  I love 10 out of the 11 songs on this CD. I really don't care for the cover of Let's Talk Dirty In Hawaiian, I guess I'm just not a whaka wkaka nooka licka kind of guy but it might appeal to many, just not me.

 My two favorite songs on this CD are about as opposite as they get. Santeros just plain rocks with great horns and awesome singing from Eric and background vocals. I'm a sucker for horns and songs like this are one of the reasons. Pretty good story too. Daddy killed a chicken in the living room again, good lyrics or what? The final track has to be the best, To Jamaica. This song is too beautiful for words. Look up tropical ballad in the dictionary and you should find this song.

 These guys need to get out of Indiana more. You can purchase Baja Whale Watching at www.bahamallama.com A killer CD.

Rambling Reviews by Jim Bright

"THIS AIN'T DUVAL STREET" ..... Boat Drunks 

Boat Drunks are from the Champaign/Urbana area in Illinois. Their popularity is growing in the Midwest and beyond. They are mainly a Jimmy Buffett tribute band and I argue they know more Buffett songs except the Head Parrot himself. But there is not a single Buffett cover on their debut CD, This Ain't Duval Street. 

Of the 9 tracks on this CD there are two covers, Southside Summer Nights by Micheal Garcia and Corona Alone Again by Kevin Mulvenna, both very good. 

Boat Drunks boasts three great songwriters/singers, all very talented. Jake Tatar leads the show, author of three songs on the CD, followed by Howie Golub, one of the most talented harmonica players and percussionists I've seen with a couple songs, and Mike Miller on bass with the title song and the best song on the CD in my opinion, Hollow Man. The band is rounded out with Andy Gaines on keyboards and Larry Lester on drums. 

Boat Drunks are a show band and their debut CD is excellent. I hate to pick out favorites in this band but I love Mike Miller's tunes the best. This Ain't Duval Street will appeal to anyone ever spending a winter in the north needing a tropical fix in Feburary and being lucky enough to stumble across one. Hollow Man. This is a great ballad and a wonderful but sad story.

 Howie's Girls All Want To See Jimmy is a great Meeting of the Minds song and Jake's A Pirate On The Caribbean is another favorite. I can't decide if I like Bermuda Triangle or not, it's pretty different. All in all, a geat debut CD.

 If I had a vote these guys would be in Key West next year for MOTM 2004. You can purchase this CD at www.boatdrunks.com

Rambling Reviews by Jim Bright


 I had the pleasure of spending a little time with Jack in Key West this year and he gave me his newest CD. At least I think he gave it to me, maybe I just snagged it out of his box? It was Halloween, one of those nights. Really, Jack is a great guy from the Ft. Myers area.

 I call Jack Mosley a solo artist but on Small Boats on Big Oceans he has great backup musicians, notably Tony Fiorintino on many instruments, Lenny Ski on violin and Steve Scott on harmonica.

 The title is song very good. But Headin' South really really gets to this Northerner, I want to head south but my wife won't let me. Has a rowdy side, makes me want to head south again!

 I'll Just be Myself is another great tune, Jack is a great songwriter though might have a attitude about Nashville?

 See How I Feel, what can I say about this song? Been there, done that? It's my wife's favorite song on the CD. I love the lyrics.

 I'm particularly impressed with Was I Ever That Young? It could have been wrote in the 60's but the point of the song is the system can only be be changed from within. That makes great sense in the 21st century.

 All the songs on this CD have a tropical feel, especially That Summer on the Gulf, wish I'd spent a summer on the gulf when I was a kid. Any Better Than This, I want to give up my last winter coat too! Old Affairs of the Heart is very pretty with the violin as background.

 Jack has a unique voice and songwriting skills. None of the songs on this CD suk. You can purchase this CD at www.jackmosley.com.

Rambling Reviews by Jim Bright

"DOWN ISLAND WAY" - Gene Mitchell 

Gene Mitchell, for his fourth album "Down Island Way", follows the same formula that has made him one of the most beloved Jimmy Buffett style performers around. 

Using a Caribbean style flavoring as the main ingredient in his compositions one's spirit is lifted by the joy-filled ambience created. Gene Mitchell also uses his expertise in creative songwriting to capture an audience as in, "Classic Songs". Here one finds lyrics which are easily related to, the familiar quality makes it very easy to get into the song by completely capturing the listeners attention. 

With the aid of sweet saxophone riffs from Amy Lee, sax player for Jimmy Buffett, Mitchell explores and delivers his Jazz side on, "With You Here". While showing a Jazz edge with this song, Mitchell still manages to include some of the Island flavoring to the mix with the steel drum ingredient. 

On "No More" one has to be strong not to become ridden with sadness over the touching lyrics. As Mitchell sings of, "No more walking, hours just talking, About the things they both adored, No more holding hands, won't be making plans, She's not coming back anymore", a lost lover who has died and left him alone. A sad song presented with beauty in a contagious melody make this a perfect example of why people flock to buy Mitchell's albums. 

John Raymond, who has worked with Mitchell on other albums, adds his amazing guitar skills to heighten the Rock essence on "It's Really Love This Time". The guitar and bass guitar work from the long time guitarist for Kenny G, is complemented by Mitchell's heart and soul vocal performance making this another exceptionally powerful presentation from the album. 

Whether Gene Mitchell performs Jimmy Buffett style Caribbean music or Rock, Jazz flavored songs they all come off as the most infectious music gracing the sonic waves to date. Break out the suntan lotion, put on the shades and lets join Gene Mitchell on the voyage "Down Island Way."

Please visit Gene Mitchell on line at www.genemitchell.com to order your copy of "Down Island Way"


This CD shows a different side to the leader of the Coral Reefer horn section. "I wanted to take phans "inside" of who they see on stage - aka "the outside" of me," says Amy. As can be gathered from some of her concert solos, Amy is a jazzer. One only needs to recall the evocative sax solo on "Frenchman For The Night" if you need further proof. It can certainly be gathered from this CD. It’s club style jazz from the get go. 

Amy has lined up a fine supporting cast, including fellow Coral Reefers Peter and Jim Mayer and Roger Guth. There’s also an Eastern Massachusetts connection. On board are a local Boston jazz trio, Bert Seager, Dan Greenspan and Joe Hunt. Here’s what Amy had to say about the session with Bert: "Bert was a gem! He lined up the studio and the players - his trio: Joe Hunt on drums and Dan Greenspan on upright acoustic bass. I flew up to Boston after tour, ran through the songs the night before the session and then recorded "Consider This," "In A Memory" and "UD1000N" live in the studio. This rhythm section's playing off of the live moment, listening and complimenting everyone's ideas, made that night in the studio magical and captures the epitome of what music is all about to me. " 

The selections are mostly self-composed (excepting Stevie Wonder’s "Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers") and are straight ahead jazz tunes. Not a steel drum to be heard! Her alto sax work sparkles throughout the disk, exhibiting a warm tone here, a cutting edge there, all nicely mixed to provide the listener an enjoyable evening’s listening. 

Some standouts on the album are the aforementioned Stevie Wonder tune; some great recording and mixing done here -- congrats to Steve Schwartzberg on this cut. "In A Memory" offers some nice support work by the trio from Boston. It’s a lovely ballad that gives ample play to the talents of Seager at the piano. 

The Coral Reefers have done okay for themselves; Peter’s recently released and excellent ROMEO’S GARAGE, Mike and Robert’s CLUB TRINI disks, Fingers’ blues CD’s and now Amy’s INSIDE THE OUTSIDE. No wonder the Coral Reefer/Buffett albums of the 90’s have been so musically excellent. 

INSIDE THE OUTSIDE is a fine addition to the growing Coral Reefer collection. "Inside the Outside" is $15, plus $1.75 shipping and handling for each CD and can be ordered on the Internet at www.amyleesax.com


When I chose to review this album, "91 Clerical Error Tour," I was gonna write something cute & witty about Jim Hoehn & his first-ever recording session. I mean, this is a 10 year old rookie effort and, as self-deprecating as Jim is, he had prepared me for the worst. Truly, we are our own worst critics ! 

I listened...and I heard Jim Hoehn, writing as he always writes, playing like he always plays. There's no background, foreground, run-around...just Jim & his guitar. But I heard more, and I couldn't put my finger on it. I listened again. 

It's familiar...it's comfortable...it's enjoyable ...but what the hell is it??? One more listen and it dawned on me! This is storytelling! This is Americana!! 

This is wherever friends get together: around a pool, on a beach, in a pub, sitting by a fire and a guy pulls out his guitar and everybody sings for hours. 

This is Jimmy Buffett & his guitar circa '69, this is vintage "Scamp" Walker & his guitar, this is John Prine, this is Guy Clark, this is Steve Goodman, this is Tom Rush in the coffeehouse days. 

Some of the songs you've heard, most you haven't. Most of the songs are comical, some, a bit poignant. They are all clearly Jim Hoehn songs, in his inimitable style, expressing his slightly skewed view of the world around us. 

This is simply Jim Hoehn & his guitar. No, it's not "Pet Sounds".....it wasn't meant to be. It's an assortment of songs (aged 10 years) that makes for a fun time and I promise you'll enjoy listening to this album again & again. A true collector's item (each is signed & numbered), I highly recommend adding this album to your portfolio. 

The "'91 Clerical Error Tour" is available only in a limited edition, only at Jim Hoehn's website: http://www.hepcat.com/playa/index.html and only for $10.00.


After years of performing together, Latitude, the high energy husband & wife duo out of Myrtle Beach, has released their debut album "Permanent Vacation," and,
folks, this little jewel rocks !!

Tom & Michelle Becker called on their long pedigrees in the music business to fill this CD with eleven original tunes that lend new meaning to the term "Harmonic Convergence!"  Rarely have I heard two distinct voices so perfectly and so beautifully matched and not since the days Phil Spector have I truly heard the "Wall Of Sound" that Tom's engineering has created.

Coupled with the upbeat island flavor of the Trop-Rock genre, you have a collection of songs that make you want to have another Boat Drink, kick off your flip flops & join that conga line.  In fact, I'll bet you can't listen to the title tune or to "Endless Weekend" without it running through your head the rest of the day!!

All in all, a solid effort, top to bottom, that does exactly what it's supposed to do....make you think of the beach, the ocean, fruit drinks & tropical sunshine.

"Permanent Vacation" is available at www.CDBaby.com and http://www.migrationmusic.com  Get your copy today and catch Latitude at a club near you......It's the perfect solution for your Tropical Dreams !!  

"CITY STREETS" - Roger Bartlett & Hell's Kitchen

This CD by former Coral Reefer Roger Bartlett & Hell’s Kitchen is a pure blues primer and it ROCKS!!…It’s what happens when Dr. John meets The Blues Brothers….It’s a tour up Ole Man River, starting with some Swamp Blues from Nawlins, stopping in Clarksdale, MS for a batch of traditional Delta, King Biscuit kinda licks, on up the river for a heapin’ helpin’ of Memphis Blues and ending up with some New Blues in Chicago.

The CD features 10 original tunes by singer/songwriter Roger Bartlett who has done a masterful job melding bits and pieces of such legends as Albert King, Little Milton, Dr. John, Memphis Slim, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Willie Dixon and Howlin’ Wolf into a truly enjoyable listening experience.

Hell’s Kitchen has a tight, lush horn section and Bartlett proves he can still play the guitar as well as anyone, but the amazing manner in which his voice lends itself to the blues is a side I haven’t heard from Bartlett before, but is truly a treat to behold, particularly on cuts like “Goin’ To New York,” “Bad Reputation” and the title cut, “City Streets.”

Rick Ulfik does a yeoman’s job on keyboards, Bart McLaughlin is smooth on percussion, but one of the highlight’s of the CD is the chillingly soulful work of Mr. Don Brooks on the harp. In the tradition of Little Walter and Paul Butterfield thru Charlie Musselwhite and “Fingers” Taylor, this man can flat play a harmonica!!

All in all, a stunning effort by Roger Bartlett & the band. This CD has earned a permanent spot in my CD carousel & I’ll bet it won’t leave yours often, either.

"SONGS FOR SAIL" - Eric Stone

A wonderful, tropical, sailing-themed CD by Nashville based singer/songwriter Eric Stone.

This initial effort by the immensely-talented Stone is a MUST for any Parrothead's music library and includes nine original Stone compositions, excellent covers of "Southern Cross" and "Jamaica Farewell" and the most stirring rendition of Keith Sykes' "Coast Of Marseilles" that we've ever heard. In fact, every single cut on this CD is excellent....I highly recommend it to any Parrothead!!

If clear blue ocean water, white sandy beaches and a soft tropical breeze is something you enjoy. then let Eric and his music take you there. You may also want a pina colada to go along with it.

Buy this CD today at: http://boatsongs.com

"NAKED IN THE GARDEN" - Deborah McColl

After listening to this solo debut from L.A.-based songwriter Deborah McColl, one's reaction is likely to be, "Why did she wait so long?"

A 20+ year veteran of the music industry, McColl has shared the stage with the likes of Cat Stevens, Tom Waits and Hoyt Axton, but is probably best known as "The Original Reeferette"
with Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefers.

"Naked In The Garden" marks McColl's return to music after a long sabbatical...and what a return it is!! Accompanied by roots-oriented instrumentation and her own acoustic guitar, McColl excels at creating textured balladry and mid-tempo folk-part centered on sturdy melodies and beautifully crafted arrangements. A gifted singer as well, McColl often brings to mind such songbirds as Patty Larkin, Joni Mitchell and Margo Timmins. Perhaps best of all, "Naked In The Garden" demonstrates the way in which "subtle" can translate to "substantial."

Deborah McColl's songs flow straight from the heart---sweet & strong, gentle & bold, and she is certainly a new voice with plenty of promise!!

Order this super CD at: www.jbirdrecords.com


Keith Sykes’ ninth solo album, "Advanced Medication For The Blues," is a self-produced rock record and the debut release for Memphis-based Syren Records.

"Advanced Medication For The Blues" rocks full tilt from the opening track and never lets up. Highlights include “I Know An Angel,” a loving testament to youthful innocence he wrote for his grandchild, Kelsey; “The Whole 9 Yards,” a modern-day outlaw tale; and “One World,” which takes a sitar-like riff and infuses it with a swamp groove worthy of Dire Straits. The CD was produced, recorded and mixed at The Woodshed--Memphis by Keith Sykes.

Check out what the media has to say about Keith Sykes and "Advanced Medication for the Blues:"

"Keith is an unsung hero of Memphis’ singer-songwriter tradition. Check out the despairing “One Up One Down” for a passionate example of his craft..." G. Brown/The Denver Post

"Keith Sykes make records far too infrequently; a fine collection of tracks..." Jason Ankeny/All-Music Guide

"Six years after his last album, roots rocker Sykes returns with a barn burner. Sykes writes like a maniac unleashed..." Alanna Nash/ Entertainment Weekly

"Jimmy Buffett, Jerry Jeff Walker and John Prine have all covered his songs. He comes up with a winner in “I Know an Angel”..." Bill Ellis/The Commercial Appeal

"Part swamp, part blues, and certainly pop induced, he offers well-crafted, guitar-driven three-minute pop snapshots. What separates Sykes from the herd are catchy melodies coated with lyrics that are self-deprecating and full of wit. These are not philosophical musings of the big picture, but pinpricks of the local Joe just trying to make life work..." Dirty Linen

Order this dramatic new CD from former Coral Reefer Keith Sykes at: www.keithsykes.com


If you don't buy this CD for any other reason, buy it for "Parrothead Holiday," which is rapidly becoming the anthem for Parrotheads everywhere!

Fortunately, there are other GREAT reasons to buy this CD..... 13 of 'em to be exact!! That's right, "Sunday At Sunrise" contains 14 excellent tracks...top to bottom, not a bad one to be found.

This initial release by Mango Mango showcases the ultra-talented Alonzo McLean on pans & vocals on several of his own rockin' compositions and Paul Schuster on one of our old favorites, "Two Pina Coladas."

The arrangements are solid and the trumpet of the incomparable Harvey Cherlin is stirring, especially on the McLean tune "Gimme Some," which will have you dancin' around your living room like Tom Cruise in "Risky Business!"

In addition to excellent renditions of "The Big Bamboo" and "Jeff The Muff Diver," there are also several favorites from that Cayman troubadour, The Barefoot Man.

Finally, the jewel of the album is a McLean collaboration, "Sunday At Sunrise," a beautiful, plaintive ballad that harkens me back to the days of Spanky & Our Gang.

In short, this CD defines the genre of "Trop Rock" and it ROCKS with island flavor from start to finish!! Definitely one of the best of the indie island bands we've heard.

Order "Sunday At Sunrise" today from Mango Mango at www.islandband.com

We GUARANTEE you'll love this one !!!!!!!!!


Reggae, TropRock, Gulf & Western, Gumbo Rock and a bit of Country....steel drums to twangy guitar to jazz clarinet....This debut CD by the enigmatic New Orleans singer/songwriter Joe Bennett has it all....different ingredients all combined like a big pot of gumbo to produce a delicious offering.

Backed by the tight arrangements of his Pirates Of The Vieux Carre, Bennett at times sounds like Jimmy Buffett, Dr. John, Jerry Jeff Walker and even Harry Connick, Jr. All in all, this CD is a delightful mix of musical styles that really show the range of Joe Bennett's smokey voice. God, I LOVE this CD!!!!

He's a regular at Ms. Pam Fortner's Tropical Isle in the French Quarter and I guarantee that this album will be a regular in your CD player!!

Order this terrific CD directly from Joe Bennett at: http://www.headpirate.net


This compilation attempts to cover the career of this outstanding singer/songwriter from Memphis and a fine job it does. Though it's impossible to compress eight albums into a single disc without shorting some favorites, all three of Jesse Winchester's main characters---the exile longing for the South, the immigrant building a family in his new country, and the showman---all get a turn at the microphone in this CD from one of the great singer/songwriters of our time.

For those unfamiliar with Jesse Winchester, check out what some others have said about his work:

** Bob Dylan said of Winchester, "You can't talk about the best songwriters and not include him,"

** Don Henley once called Winchester "the new Stephen Foster,"

** Elvis Costello commented that, "He's really one of the greats,"

** The legendary Bernie Taupin told Rolling Stone that "he dreamed of one day writing a song as perfect as "Yankee Lady."

Winchester has written three songs covered by Jimmy Buffett, "Biloxi," "Defying Gravity" and
"L'Air De La Louisiane" and a host of other tunes covered by various artists.


To music lovers worldwide, the names Jimmy Buffett and "Fingers" Taylor go hand in hand. Taylor, a Jackson, Mississippi native, first met Buffett at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1970, and thus became the very first member of Buffett's now famous Coral Reefer Band. He's been on board ever since, and, in the interim, became a part of music history - one of the key contributors to Buffett's carefree, Caribbean sound.

In recent years, "Fingers" Taylor has begun to establish himself as a solo artist in his own right. In this release, "Fingers" showcases some of the hottest rockin' blues licks around.

"ANOTHER ISLAND" - Rick Steffen

This latest release by journeyman troubadour Rick Steffen is not a concert CD. This is the type of album that takes you back to Key West, sitting under the fans at Sloppy Joe's on a warm afternoon, sipping a cold one while the guy onstage plys his trade.

Steffen shows his versatility throughout "Another Island," by including Soca, Ska, Pop, Reggae, Calypso, Jazz & even a Ballad on this effort. With a strong adaptive voice, he moves effortlessly from one genre to another without a glitch in sight.

Rick Steffen sings about the things we love: Key West, the Caribbean, palm trees, coconuts and even hurricanes.....and he does it very well with solid vocals and tight backup.

As Rick says, "I plan to continue my work here making visitors and locals forget about their corporate or private quests and, with my songs, promote the pursuit of happiness and a more casual lifestyle - after all life is too short for anything else."

This CD has earned a spot in my CD carousel and I'll bet it deserves a spot in yours. Check it out at http://members.nbci.com/ricksteffen/

It'll take ya back to the Keys!!!

"BILOXI SUNSET" - The Tropical Steal Band

If the sound of steel drums takes you to the islands, you'll LOVE this 2nd release from the Tropical Steel Band, featuring the incomparable David Waugh on steel drums and vocals.

While he's not a Greenidge yet, Waugh is a very accomplished pan player with a dynamite voice, whose talents are showcased throughout the album, most notably on "Indian Soca," a Robert Greenidge composition.

The CD also features an excellent cover of "Big Bamboo" and two original Waugh compositions,
"Biloxi Sunset" and the catchy "Pirates Of The Northern Caribbean," the official theme song of the Coastal Alabama Parrothead Club.

Don't miss the steel drums on "Biloxi Sunset".....order your copy today at www.tropical-steal.com


Undoubtedly one of the finest cookbooks in its genre to come down the pike in a long time!!
"Tropical Temptations" is a dogeared favorite in our massive cookbook collection here at Tropical Dreams...We use it regularly!!!

A collection of spirited recipes for those who long for the islands. Favorites like: Loblolly Bay Lobster Chowder, Bomba's Jerk Chicken, Calypso Rice, Margarita Salsa, Tavernier Key Lime Pie, and favorite Cocktails and Concoctions. Not only will these recipes bring the flavor of the tropics into your home, the notations of Gail's travels will take you through the lands of origin.

Tropical Temptations is 160 pages with full color illustrations and complete with Gail's personal photo scrapbook from her travels.

For order information see the order form at Island Times. www.islandtimes.net

"GUMBO LIMBO" - Tom Corcoran

Late August, Key West, the off-season, the dog days. Alex Rutledge, freelance and part-time crime scene photographer, awakes to his first vacation day in months. Suddenly, an odd call from his old Navy friend, Zack Cahill, now a successful Chicago banker. Zack's drunk in Sloppy Joe's, demanding that Rutledge join him. Alex shows up eight minutes later. Cahill is gone.

The day continues downhill. A high-noon murder in the tourist district, the ransacked apartment of a local bartender, and the chance encounter of Abby Womack, Cahill's ex-mistress, combine to convince Alex that Zack Cahill's disappearance may be linked to all of these events. An overnight fire and a drive-by shooting the next morning amplify the strangeness and danger.

Within forty-eight hours, Rutledge will be tested for courage, smarts, and loyalty. To define the threat-and attempt to end it-Rutledge must risk his business allegiance to Key West Detective Fred "Chicken Neck" Lishka, his fresh interest in Teresa Barga, the police department's new press liaison officer, and his longterm friendship with Zack and his wife, Claire Cahill.

By calling in favors from a crew of Key West characters, stepping aside of law enforcement, and traveling to New Orleans in an attempt to help his friend, Rutledge will fall deep into a mysterious range war, a fight for the profits from a twenty-year-old smuggling deal.

In this follow-up to the popular "Mango Opera," Tom Corcoran provides a deftly plotted and gripping mystery with all of the flavor and intrigue that Key West has to offer.

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