Blues Cruisin' with The Dancing Duo

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January 18th 2015
Published: February 3rd 2015
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Popa ChubbyPopa ChubbyPopa Chubby

This dude could really sling it and brought high energy to his sets.
The Blues are the true facts of life expressed in words and song, inspiration, feeling, and understanding.” – Willie Dixon

The term colossal confluence comes to mind while reflecting on our latest journey. Although “confluence” is normally reserved for a hydrologic description of two rivers merging, it also describes a coming together of people or things…..a concourse if you will. We believe this is spot on description of a journey that involved travel, people gathering for a purpose, and most importantly, the opportunity to meet a couple who love to travel at least as much as we do…perhaps more….wait, no way!

So…combine the Dancing Duo from Down Under, a cruise ship chock full of blues music lovers and fabulous blues musicians sailing the Caribbean and you’ve truly come upon a colossal confluence. And what a gas it was!

It all began in the fall of 2013, when the plan was first hatched. We’d heard of the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise from a friend more than a few years back, but discovered that Dancing Dave and his better half Denise were planning a trip to Canada to see their son and a bit of our rather large nation as part of an extended holiday that would also see them visit South America
Wee hours of the morningWee hours of the morningWee hours of the morning

Tab Benoit, MJ and Denise
as well. You’ll have to wait a bit for their blogs……It didn’t take much convincing to get us on board (pun intended) and apparently we were all set.

The arrangements were set well in advance, but admittedly we were a bit too busy with our work and other commitments to really give it much due. Then the holidays were upon us and all of a sudden, this grand voyage was in sight, and the excitement began. Anticipation is a rather large part of the travel experience and we were about to meet fellow Travel Bloggers so the experience was heightened to say the least. We were actually going to meet Denise and Dancing Dave? Awesome!!

The ship was to depart from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and we flew in a couple of days earlier to escape the throes of the eastern winter and get to meet the Dancing Ones. We were relaxing with adult beverages at the outside bar at the hotel when we spotted them…and instantly the fun began. We knew that we were in good company and immediately a most wonderful rapport existed between us. For those TBers who have met other TBers, you are acutely aware
The CrossroadsThe CrossroadsThe Crossroads

A tale of Robert Johnson, the Devil and a deal......
of the experience. If you have not met another fine member of this website, find the opportunity and you will not be disappointed.

The Dancing Duo had not only been on holiday for well over a fortnight, but had made their way from Memphis to New Orleans via a Cadillac (rather large U.S. automobile) to experience the blues trail. They had seen the crossroads! Highway 61 & 49 are rich in b-l-u-e-s history. What a way to get ready for this excursion! It was revealed that they had not sold their soul to the devil…..and so the real adventure began……

The Adventure Began

We boarded the ship on Sunday and immediately realized that we were among a demographic that consisted of many walks of life gathered for only one simple reason……da blues! The schedule of performances was disseminated just before boarding and it was an overwhelming document and required constant close scrutiny as we were technically “Bluescruise virgins,” but not for long. There were multiple venues on this large vessel and the opportunities seemed plentiful.

Taj Mahal, Bobby Rush, Charlie Musselwhite, Popa Chubby, Keb ‘Mo, Tommy Castro and the Pain Killers, Lucky Peterson…..the list was endless
Travel Blog Big Beat BandTravel Blog Big Beat BandTravel Blog Big Beat Band

We're getting' the band back together.
and we soon came to realize that all of them came to play and wow an audience that had an unquenchable thirst for the blues. And as if these headliners weren’t enough, there was Mr. Sipp, the Peterson Brothers and Matt Anderson, lesser known, but equally powerful performers.

“We're putting the band back together.” – Jake Blues

Only one thing to do at that point……get the band back together.

Back in 2013, the Dancing One put out a blog entitled “The TravelBlog Music Awards.

As the band was actually large in number and there were only four of us, we knew the others would be there in spirit, but we needed to soldier on……for the love of music. This was the Blues, man! And we did our level best to make the old band proud of us. One of the “theme” nights was Mardis Gras and we used this to full advantage to show the planet how the band was back together. (see photos)

We took in as much music as possible, sometimes seeing artists multiple times. We saw Popa Chubby four times, once as a guest artist for his keyboard player Dave
Mr. SippMr. SippMr. Sipp

Bluesin' in the Queen's Lounge
Keyes (more on him later) in the Piano Bar. Others we had to have another listen to included Keb ‘Mo, Shamika Copeland, Tommy Castro and the Pain Killers and Mr. Sipp.

“I rambled all the time. I was just like that, like a rollin' stone.”

– Muddy Waters

We stayed up late and got up incredibly early, due to the fact that our cabin was just below the Crow’s Nest, where they played ALL night. You could amble up there at five in the morning and catch a bunch of these cats jamming with one another as they had been there all night.

This of course is in direct contrast to the norm. Our routine back home is to go to sleep between 930pm and 1000pm because we are up at 515am each day for work. Our blues cruise routine quickly reversed our body clocks….we frequently stayed up until 130am slept until 430am and headed back to the Crow’s nest for music by sunrise. By 730am everyone would head back to their cabins and catch about 3 hours sleep before heading out for breakfast and another day of music. The adrenalin caused by excessive blues

Piano Bar
music exposure kept us going… all hours.

Pop music is aspirin and the blues are vitamins.” – Peter Tork

One early morning, we caught Tab Benoit, Mr. Sipp, the Peterson Brothers and half the horn section of Room Full of Blues kicking out an incredible version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” To witness this great jam and see the looks on their faces as they thoroughly enjoyed jamming with one another as the early morning light loomed was priceless. Another morning, they kicked out a great version of Mile Davis’ “All Blues” as the sun rose over the blue waters of the Caribbean. There were no more than a couple of dozen hearty souls at this point, but the band played on…..magical. We would sleep some other time.

The “Dave Club”

Members: Dancing Dave (Australia) Dangerous Dave (U.S.) Dapper Dave (England) Diesel Dave (Canada) Dave Keyes (Blues Star and keyboard player for Popa Chubby)

Can’t remember exactly when this concept first slipped out into the open. It might have been alcohol-fueled, but we would like to think that it was merely an extension of the brilliance among Dancing Dave and Dave (later to be called Dangerous Dave). Oh well, we can believe whatever we
The Peterson BrothersThe Peterson BrothersThe Peterson Brothers

Crow's Nest Performance blew the roof off the ship
want, because it’s our story, and we’re going to stick with it. The plan was to get as many “Daves” as possible for a group photo at the stern of the ship at a designated time. With over 2100 passengers, it appeared promising.

Now, not all cruise ship stops put you next to a pier so you can just stroll ashore. Roatan, Honduras was one such location. They load you into what looks like a bobbing egg and motor you in. During transport, Dave stood up and announced that he was looking for guys named Dave. Low and behold, we were sitting next to a Dave from London (he became Dapper Dave). The hunt was on! Dancing Dave took it upon himself to put signs at the ship’s elevators. They didn’t last long, but it was a great idea, nonetheless.

At one of Popa Chubby’s performances, Dancing Dave approached Dave Keyes (his afore-mentioned keyboard player) and asked if he would join the photo. He agreed!

So, at 1800 hours, we gathered at the back of the boat…..The Daves! Dave Keyes hustled from the front of the ship after his gig to join us.

Later, we even
Sailing out of Ft. LauderdaleSailing out of Ft. LauderdaleSailing out of Ft. Lauderdale

The Dancing Ones at the Virgin Party
ran into Dave from Canada (soon to be known as Diesel Dave) who we met at the hotel in Fr. Lauderdale. He joined us later in the Piano Bar for another photo…..great stuff.

Our cunning plan is to write to the Legendary Blues Cruise organizers and see if they will assist us in gather a larger group of Dave’s for January 2016 Cruise.

The blues is life itself.” – Billy Gibbons

Do you have the blues in your DNA?

The kindship and friendship of the blues cruise made this truly an experience of a lifetime. A moment in time difficult to describe when you are experiencing so much joy from music. As described earlier we joined the pre-cruise party at the Ft. Lauderdale Hilton Marina. We learned that we were about to participate in the 24th sailing of this Blues cruise.

We freely admit as we thought it odd that many people at this cruise party had been on ten or twelve sailings and we actually talked with someone who had been on all but 3 of them. It seemed odd at the time.

Among this group we were known as virgins and we actually attended the virgin
Pulling Away From PortPulling Away From PortPulling Away From Port

Our 1st sunset.
party on the ship. We aren’t virgins anymore. Legendary law #1 states that “once a blues cruiser, always a blues cruiser.” Yep, we’re special now.

The experienced cruisers all had a glazed look in their eye when they discovered we were virgins. Every one of them, 100%, said we were going to have a life changing event. We secretly rolled our eyes at them. Looking back we still push back on calling it a life “changing” event because we don’t like that verbage but we can tell you the bond among that group of people is warm, friendly, polite and inviting. It was an experience, truly.

As you can imagine at each music venue hundreds of people were attempting to find the perfect place to sit, stand or dance to the music. We’ve never been around such a polite group of people in our lives. From time to time we’d want to get next to the stage to take a close up photo, to attempt to get that perfect shot. At any other music venue we’ve attended people would attempt to block you from getting in front of them. On the blues cruise the crowd parts so you
Lucky PetersonLucky PetersonLucky Peterson

Old Style Blues Man
can walk up and take your photos. They share in your enjoyment and compliment you on your photo. When you are done they get out of your way so you can go back to your friends.

Blues cruisers share a musical DNA bond. We were amidst a sea of smiling faces, a sea of people who truly, deeply, share a bond and are moved by the tones and vibrations of these sounds. The people on this ship did not have a mild interest in the blues, they are not just looking for a party, they have a passion deep in their souls for the lyrics, the mood, … understanding of the roots of blues.

As hard as it may be to fathom, this amazing journey was even more incredible as we got to share it with TravelBlog brethren, two very special people.

To Denise and Dancing Dave -- let's sail with the Blues again!!

Additional photos below
Photos: 46, Displayed: 30


Heritage Blues OrchestraHeritage Blues Orchestra
Heritage Blues Orchestra

One of our favorites
Matt AndersenMatt Andersen
Matt Andersen

Canadian Blues rocked the house

Dave danced all weekDave danced all week
Dave danced all week

He can no longer tell people he does not Dance!
Mardi Gras NightMardi Gras Night
Mardi Gras Night

Dave and Merry Jo
Dave shooting hoopsDave shooting hoops
Dave shooting hoops

Top deck and sunset. WOW
Shemekia CopelandShemekia Copeland
Shemekia Copeland

What a voice.
Merry and Ralph (from Chicago)Merry and Ralph (from Chicago)
Merry and Ralph (from Chicago)

He is the self-proclaimed Mayor of the Lido Deck!

Love to learn to do this

4th February 2015

Eeeeeeekkkkkk....... I'm so jealous!
Almost forgot you guys are meeting up. Dancing Dave told me about the planned meet-up in January but this..... On a cruise, dancing, drinking, rockin' to the blues! Eeeeeeeekkkkkk...... You guys are having too much fun without us! I don't know much about blues' music but i do love to dance like Dave and Denise ---- uh, ok, you too Dangerous Dave ---- and i can imagine what fun you guys had. How mah'velous! Keep rockin'
4th February 2015

It was a wild, wild, week with our friends the dancing ones! So much fun we can barely describe it. Action back and very little sleep. Wish you could have been there. We danced and danced. Fine food, music and friendship. It was grand.
5th February 2015

Don't be blue!
Dave here.....first of all, loved your photos from Myanmar and hope you had a great time and saw a temple or two:) We had the most fantastic time with David and Denise, they are great company. Dancing Dave's reputation is well-deserved. We do hope that we can get together with them again. We've signed up to go on the cruise next year as it was such fun.
4th February 2015
Dave danced all week

Love the hat and anklet!
5th February 2015
Dave danced all week

Bought the hat just so I could be a "blues man." The leis were because we were "virgins" on the Blues Cruise.
4th February 2015

thats what I'm talkin' bout
Amazing time..... envious of this saturation of the good oil. Fantastic
4th February 2015

Great times indeed
Even though we blog, words were hard to come by to adequately document the experience...many senses in play at all was great!
4th February 2015

These sounds the perfect combination - Travelbloggers, a cruise ship, and music. All three on their own are wonderful, but combined, it must have been a very special experience.
4th February 2015

It was incredible
Hi Shane...Dave here. I mean "Dangerous Dave." We did have a great time and perhaps your ears were burning as we spoke of you. We told them the story of your phone call to us in Ireland. We also heard more about your trip with the Dancing One and Cockle. We simply must meet up some time....cheers!
4th February 2015

Have fun!!!
This is really nice hahah. Never knew they had such cruises. You guys have much fun on the blues-cruise. Greetings from Bangkok!!
4th February 2015

Have fun!!
Dave here....we had a great time and plan to go next year. Well worth it. Great music!
4th February 2015
Mardi Gras Night

Magical, musical, mystery tour!
What a perfect confluence of a shared passion, music and dancing and fabulous people--not to mention stopping in some exotic spots! Best wishes for many more, you Blues Cruisers!
4th February 2015
Mardi Gras Night

Dave was great and we plan to go next year! Hopefully Dave and Denise will join never know!
4th February 2015

Boogie Chillun
I'm so jealous! I spent my teenage years listening and dancing to nothing but the blues. BB King, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, Lightning Hopkins, etc. were my idols and it has been my lifelong dream to learn to play the blues harmonica. This sounds like the most wonderful experience ever.
4th February 2015

Boogie Chillin'
Dave here.....yes, I danced, a lot. Great, great music. A fantastic experience. We plan to go again next year!
4th February 2015

Caribbean ?
You certainly had a great musical adventure there ...did you see any of the Caribbean sights . Cheers Lynne
4th February 2015

Hi Lynne....Dave here.... We were on a cruise that went to Mexico, Honduras and Grand Cayman. Saw some Mayan temples in Mexico, Honduras landing was just a cruise ship port and we've been to Grand Cayman and did not get off the boat there. Everything was great on the cruise and we want to go next year.
4th February 2015

What a trip!!!! Loved your descriptions. Was that your first cruise? What did you think as far as travel options go? I know the "blues" part of it was awesome but how about the "cruise" part?
4th February 2015

MJ's 3rd cruise and Dave's 2nd. I went on one in 86 and didn't care if I went back. We took an Alasakan cruise in 2002 and it was great. This was strictly for the music. We didn't get off the boat much because we were too tired. Cruises have a place in the world. Chat soon
4th February 2015

Dancing Dave was in Memphis and I didn't get to meet him!!!! I live here in the 'home of the blues' and hope y'all come back to do Beale St. and its music. The entire trip sounded like a great time. I LOVE the thought of 'Dangerous Dave'- Hmmmmm. I smiled reading the entire entre. Great words and great pictures. Great blog!!!! Carolyn/Gunga
4th February 2015

Dave here.....(yes Dangerous Dave). Sorry you did not get to meet Dancing Dave and Denise. They are delightful. We had a fantastic trip. They spoke highly of Memphis, particularly the BBQ.
4th February 2015

I didn't see one compromising picture...
I guess I'll have to wait for Dancing Dave to post his blogs. Nevertheless, I could tell you had an amazing time confluencing!
4th February 2015

Hi Bob...Dave here....out of respect for the Dancing Ones, we elected not to show anything that result in arrest/prosecution in international waters:)
5th February 2015

I'm quite envious
To see Taj Mahal AND Shemekia Copeland, AND Keb Mo', AND... what a trip that must have been. I'd have been over the moon. All I can say is "Good on ya!"
5th February 2015

Don't be envious
Go find some blues and indulge! You'll feel better!
5th February 2015

A cruise to give you the blues
Sounds like some sort of reason to jump a ship.
5th February 2015

Got the blues and digging it!
No reason to jump ship, just jump to the music on the ship!
5th February 2015

Wonderful Blog
Great job once again. This blog entry is so well written it should be in a travel magazine. You've made me want to make this trip. I'm going to present the idea to our traveling mates.
5th February 2015

Thank you
Thanks for the kind words! If you need any information about the cruise, please let us know. Registration for first time cruisers starts fairly soon, so talk with friends soon. Very popular cruise and it fills up fast. Lots of folks go many years in a row.....
6th February 2015

What happens on the cruise stays on the cruise
Just got off Lake Titicaca so we could read this blog so sorry for the delay. Far out Indian....what a time we had....iNCREDIBLE! And couldn't think of a more compatible couple of rockers to do it with! We said so long ago we'd have to meet at a music festival....somewhere in the World. Well we travelled half way around the World to make it happen...where will we meet again? We know it will happen...we still dream of Blues on the Niger in Senegal....where there is a will there is a way. Love from Denese & I....and keep dancing!
6th February 2015

No tie required!
I am sure you continue to have a blast in South America. Yes, we're still basking in the glow of a great trip with you both. The blues on the Niger River....hmmmm. All the best to you and Denise.......Dangerous Dave (who dances!)
6th February 2015

Sorry I can't see straight. Mis-spelt Denise....hope she forgives me. I'll blame too much dancing at a fiesta on an isle on Lake Titicaca . But you guys know for us there's never too much dancing!
6th February 2015

Spelling lessons
Must be the altitude and the cocoa tea!
6th February 2015

Blues icing on the cake
Glad you got to meet The Dancing Duo. Any time spent in the company of those beautiful souls is to be treasured. The Blues Cruising a fantastic way to do it too!
6th February 2015

Blues icing on the cake
Dave here....great times with great people. Hopefully we'll get to be in your company some day!
6th February 2015

How Awesome a time!
Arent the dancing duo fabulous! Im smiling from ear to ear knowing what a great time you must have had. They know how to party. I so wish I couldve joined you day!
6th February 2015

How Awesome a time!
Arent the dancing duo fabulous! Im smiling from ear to ear knowing what a great time you must have had. They know how to party. I so wish I couldve joined you day!
6th February 2015

The Dancing Ones
Dave was simply grand. The funk, the gyrations, the melodic movements....then there was the music! David and Denise are wonderful and we hope we can meet up again...soon! Someday our paths will cross as well.....stay tuned.
7th February 2015

Tha dancing the high seas
What a beautifully written account of our time together -it is not often that one can have such rapporte with people that have not physically met but it does happen & it did for us. What good times & more to report I believe...😎
7th February 2015

The dancing the high seas
Heartfelt and memorable. We feel a true connection with both of you and hope we can travel again. Let's make it happen. More to come.
7th February 2015

What a great adventure and what a fantastic blog. We could even feel the rhythm ;-). Cruising, dancing, drinking, rocking - fantastic!
7th February 2015

Feel the rhythm
It was so much fun. We'd heard about this cruise a few years ago and we aren't "cruisers" for the most part so we were hesitant to go. We are thrilled we did as it was a fantastic trip and we are planning to go again next year.
8th February 2015

Cruising & bluesing...
What a fantastic blog! It put cruising in a totally different perspective for me now! I didn't know they had cruises like that! So much fun :-) and it looks like you had an absolute blast with the Dancing Ones.... Great trip!
9th February 2015

Cruising & Bluesing...
You are right Anna the cruise put things in a different perspective for us. There is a cruise for everyone. It was a blast. Our next blog will give additional details on that very topic.
9th February 2015

How fabulous that you had such a wonderful time. I love the thought of seeing in a new day to the sounds of a jam session! :)
9th February 2015

The trip was so much fun. More than we could have expected. The jam sessions with people from various groups were our favorites. They were amazing playing with people they never or rarely play with.
10th February 2015

I had a smile on my face the entire way through reading this!
What an awesome blog. It sounds like you guys had such a blast and the other guests seemed to make it even better. Ii love reading blogs when other bloggers meet up.
10th February 2015

A smile or your face
Glad you enjoyed the read. It was a fabulous meet up with fellow travel bloggers. The cruise was insane and the music magical!
12th February 2015

Maybe one day. Let's see how Trish gets on with a one night ferry across the Bay of Biscay in July!
12th February 2015

Cruising & Bluesing...
The ships are so big that generally even people prone to motion sickness don't have a lot of trouble but everyone is individual.
9th June 2015

Engaging read - I'm thoroughly envious
I loved looking at the images that you have uploaded and I'm a massive fan of playing the Blues. The quotes that you have included are inspirational, and I enjoyed the humour of gathering as many Dave's together as possible! I didn't realise there were Blues cruises. This may be something that I look into at some point in my life!
11th June 2015

Hello Free Bird
You will love it if you decide to take the Legendary Blues Cruise. It is a great deal of fun. Thanks for commenting.

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