Down to Earth (Jimmy Buffett album)

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Down to Earth
Jimmy Buffett- Down to Earth.png
Studio album by Jimmy Buffett
Released 1970
Recorded 1970
Genre Folk rock
Length 39:22[1]
Label Barnaby
Producer Travis Turk
Jimmy Buffett chronology
Down to Earth
High Cumberland Jubilee
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]

Down to Earth is the debut studio album by American popular music singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett. It was produced by Travis Turk and was initially released in 1970 on Andy Williams's small Barnaby Records label as Z 30093. Parts of the album were re-released in various compilations until the album was issued in its entirety on compact disc by Varèse Sarabande in June 1998.

Due to its limited initial appeal (it only sold a few hundred copies), long periods out of general release, and stylistic differences with the rest of Buffett's work, Down to Earth (along with the similar High Cumberland Jubilee) was often not considered part of the chronology of Buffett albums by fans or even Buffett himself.

Alternative versions[edit]

The 1998 re-release of the album contained an additional track, "Richard Frost," which was recorded for but not included on the original album. (However, it had been released as a B-side to the single of "The Christian?" from the album).


All of the songs on Down to Earth were written or co-written by Buffett. "The Captain and the Kid," which originally appeared on this album, was later re-recorded by Buffett, first for 1976's Havaña Daydreamin' when it was released as a single, and in 2002 for the greatest hits compilation Meet Me in Margaritaville: The Ultimate Collection making it (with "In the Shelter") one of only two of his songs with three different studio versions.

The folk-rock style of music and lyrics on Down to Earth and High Cumberland Jubilee differ greatly from Buffett's subsequent output. There is less of the country music feel and little of the gulf and western, Key-West-influenced sound and themes that have defined his musical career. Allmusic reviewer William Ruhlmann notes that "this is not the freewheeling Jimmy Buffett of 'Margaritaville,' but rather a thoughtful folk-rock singer/songwriter of the early '70s, earnestly strumming an acoustic guitar over a rhythm section and singing lyrics of social consciousness with sly references to drugs." [3]

An alternate take of Captain America was released as the third single of the album.

Track listings[edit]

All tracks composed by Jimmy Buffett; except where indicated

Original release[edit]

Side A:

  1. "The Christian?" (Milton Brown, Jimmy Buffett) 3:54
  2. "Ellis Dee (He Ain't Free)" (Jimmy Buffett, Buzz Cason) 2:50
  3. "The Missionary" 3:33
  4. "A Mile High in Denver" 3:07
  5. "The Captain and the Kid" 3:18

Side B:

  1. "Captain America" 3:28
  2. "Ain't He a Genius" 2:43
  3. "Turnabout" 4:20
  4. "There's Nothin' Soft about Hard Times" 3:23
  5. "I Can't be Your Hero Today" 2:58
  6. "Truckstop Salvation" 5:48

1998 re-release[edit]

  1. "The Christian?" (Milton Brown, Jimmy Buffett) 3:54
  2. "Ellis Dee (He Ain't Free)" (Jimmy Buffett, Buzz Cason) 2:50
  3. "Richard Frost" 3:29
  4. 'The Missionary" 3:33
  5. "A Mile High in Denver" 3:07
  6. "The Captain and the Kid" 3:18
  7. "Captain America" 3:28
  8. "Ain't He a Genius" 2:43
  9. "Turnabout" 4:20
  10. "There's Nothin' Soft about Hard Times" 3:23
  11. "I Can't be Your Hero Today" 2:58
  12. "Truckstop Salvation" 5:48


Some, most, or all of the songs on Down to Earth have been released on a number of compilations authorized by Barnaby Records.

  • Before the Salt (Barnaby/Janus 1979) — included all of the original release plus "Richard Frost"
  • Before the Beach (MCA 1993) — did not include "The Christian?" or "Ain't He a Genius" from the original release; was the first CD release of Down to Earth material
  • American Storyteller (Delta 1999) — did not include "The Missionary," "There's Nothin' Soft about Hard Times," or "Truckstop Salvation" from the original release
  • There's Nothing Soft about Hard Times (Madacy 2000) — did not include "The Christian?" "Ellis Dee (He Ain't Free)," "The Missionary," or "Turnabout" from the original release
  • Best of the Early Years (Delta 2000) — the one disk version only included "The Missionary" "There's Nothing Soft about Hard Times," and "Truckstop Salvation" from the original release
  • Now Yer Squawkin' (Recall 2005) — included all of the original release plus "Richard Frost"


  • Lanny Fiel, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Cook - guitar
  • Lanny Fiel - piano
  • Dave Haney, Bob Cook - bass
  • Carl Himmel, Travis Turk, Paul Tabet - drums
  • Bob Cook - harmonica
  • Jimmy Buffett, Travis Turk - kazoo
  • Buzz Cason, Jimmy Buffett - backing vocals
  • Travis Turk - producer, engineer


  • "The Christian?" b/w "Richard Frost" (Released on Barnaby ZS7-2013 circa May 1970)
  • "Ellis Dee (He Ain't Free)" b/w "There's Nothing Soft about Hard Times" (Released on Barnaby ZS7-2019 circa September 1970)
  • "Captain America" b/w "Truckstop Salvation" (Released on Barnaby ZS7-2023 in January 1971)


  1. ^ Varèse Sarabande compact disc time is 42:05
  2. ^
  3. ^ William Ruhlmann. Allmusic Review of There's Nothing Soft About Hard Times.