Music: Caribbean Country Boy

In his early days as a singer-composer, Jimmy Buffett did some of his best work in grocery stores. "I was a good shoplifter," he recalls, emphasizing good in his soft Alabama accent. Buffett barely earned beer-and-cracker money in the 1960s, playing hotels and red-walled cocktail lounges.

Things are better now. Buffett, 30, belongs to a wave of laid-back Dixie performers, including Oklahoma-born James Talley and Tennessean Sid Selvidge, who are just now getting wide recognition. Buffett's seventh album, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, is 20th among country LPs, and last month he...

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