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If you’ve always believed Jimmy Buffett concerts to be just another excuse for frat boys to puke in public, chances are you won’t buy into the notion that the man from Margaritaville was once a respectable singer-songwriter. But in 1974, several years before selling out as a soulless CEO in beach bum’s clothing, Buffett released his finest album, A-1-A (named after the Florida coastal highway), a thoroughly laid-back listen loaded with enough lament and twang to qualify as country but spiced with a cool dash of the tropics. The same year, Buffett did a favor for screenwriter pal Tom McGuane and wrote the music for Rancho Deluxe, a quirky, quickly forgotten western starring Jeff Bridges and Slim Pickens. Twenty years later, with the movie a staple of late-night TV and Buffett a ruthless corporate mogul (albeit a very popular one), Rykodisc has remastered and repackaged the soundtrack in hopes of attracting some desperate Parrothead dollars. The reissue, however, is more than a cheap cash-in: Rancho Deluxe, which packs 17 tracks of songs, both vocal and instrumental, and “incidental dialogue” into a mere 27 minutes, plays like a brief, diverting supplement to A-1-A, though with more barstool than beach. The redneck swagger of “Livingston Saturday Night” and “Left Me With a Nail to Drive” is well matched by the escapist breeze of “Countin’ the Cows Ev’ry Day” and “Wonder Why You Ever Go Home” (which Buffett later tweaked into “Wonder Why We Ever Go Home” on 1977’s Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes). And the instrumentals, including the high-plains lounge of “Some Gothic Ranch Action,” are proof that when Buffett started makin’ music for money, some legitimate talent was lost in the transaction.—Sean Daly