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Published: September 20th 2015
Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise 2015 Western Caribbean...Meet the Bands.
You've heard talk of our splendiferous times...the Dancing Duo and those Darn Dangerous Binkleys...schmoozing, bluesing & cruising the Caribbean.
Now it's time to meet the stars of the show...the artists...the bands...the faces...the music...why we love the blues.
I always thought cruising was sitting in deck chairs...probably in a reclining position...sipping from a glass with a bent straw...possibly having a swim...then reclining again...reaching for that glass with the bent straw.
I've been on a Legendary Blues Cruise...and I had so much fun...I didn't sit in a deck chair at all...not even once.
I now figure deck chairs are for people who think they have nothing to do...or for people who use the "R" word.
"Relaxing"...used in speech like a sentence to death...sends shivers down my spine.
Crawl away and die somewhere else buster...can't stand the "R" word...RRRR!
I prefer stimulation...of the senses...sight, sound, smell, touch, taste.
Not like a wind up toy mind you...stimulation can be sitting, standing, dancing, reclining, schmoozing, bluesing , cruising.
And when it's blues it can be hot, cool, fast, slow, swing, zing, loud, soft, explosive, soarin', slidin',
jumpin', schmoozin', bluesin', yeh...and cruisin'.
Now you're cookin'...feeling hungry for some now.
The 2015 Legendary Blues Cruise had 21 Bands, 6 solo artists and a live show on the Life of Bessie Smith.
ALL guests on board were die-hard blues fans.
Lukewarm no place here.
So where to start?
I think I'll start from the beginning.
****** Shemekia Copeland
The daughter of the late Johnny Copeland, the Texas Blues great shows that blues is in her blood...kicking off our Blues Cruise with gusto and grunt.
Just one of many young blues artists on board that show the future of blues is in good hands.
Her "Mississippi Mud" track on the Cruise Compilation CD carrying her soul ever onwards.
Ran into this maestro of the keyboards who is Club 88 Piano Bar Host...so had to say "Good to see you again".
Last saw him at the Great Southern Blues Festival in Oz in 2014 when he had a boogie jam with Alison Penny and Bridie King.
Big smile big heart laughing about that fun gig. Charlie Musselwhite
Stayed across the way from his house in Clarksdale, Mississippi as we travelled down the Blues Highway...also seen him in Oz.
An absolute icon of the blues harmonica.
If you haven't listened to Christo Redentor featured in my last blog you have not lived. Schmoozing, bluesing & cruising with those Darn Dangerous Binkleys Part 4: Where the rich find Hell is their Heaven.
Like sitting at the feet of a wise teacher...opening our hearts for more. Coco Montoya
Didn't know anything about this guy thinking he may be related to Carlos Montoya the Paraguayan electric violinist we had seen with Roy Rogers in Oz. So kinda gave me a surprize when he told me he'd never heard of him.
But plenty had heard of Coco so now we have too! Keb Mo
Denise used to remind me how I went to the wrestling when she was pregnant with Simon...so my reply was I missed seeing Keb Mo 'cause she gave birth at the same time as his Sydney gig.
So when Dave & MJ said we gotta see his first night gig t'was not necessary to twist arms.
What a cool dude...sweet bouncy blues...multi Grammy
winner...one of the true gentlemen of his craft...real feel good gig.
There's a gig about to start on the Pool Deck but this is only Day One...maybe a bit of shut-eye in order...gonna be little time for that coming up.
Keb Mo's "She Just Wants to Dance" still ringing in my ears...zzzzzz
Day 2- Gospel Brunch with Taj Mahal, Bobby Rush, Charlie Musselwhite, Shemekia Copeland and Bill Sims
Reps from 5 bands chatting...sharing their lives in the blues...nice way to begin the day.
Getting us ready for one of the artists I came for. Popa Chubby
I've admitted my quest for a hug with this man mountain of the blues. Schmoozing, bluesing & cruising with those Darn Dangerous Binkleys Part 2: The Naked Hug
So when he had his first gig in the Crows Nest we were ready and waiting.
Saw all his gigs after that.
Arthur Nelson from Shemekia's band joining as a guest to duel guitars.
When you are that good...once, twice, three times is never enough.
Got 10 of Popa's C.Ds but there's one more I really want.
And to be on first name basis...doesn't get better than that. The Devil's Music...the Life & Blues of Bessie Smith
The Empress of the Blues in the 1920s and 1930s.
Famous for "Nobody Knows You when Your Down & Out".
Claimed to be the first millionaire black singer...the inspiration for Billie Holliday, Aretha Franklin & Janis Joplin.
Her life story and the music in the Queens Lounge ...screaming for more. Tommy Castro & the Painkillers and The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Review
Tommy Castro is 60 but you can't keep a good man down...looks 40.
Real "grit and rocking soul" guitarist and band leader.
Tommy's "Gratitude" C.D one of my faves from this trip.
His band the Painkillers on the Pool Deck followed by his Blues Review introducing three young women of the blues...each with their own bands.
Samantha Fish, Danielle Nicole and Tasha Taylor each rockin' with Tommy and singing their own stuff as well...deep into the night.
When heading out to Costa Maya, Mexico gotta get into the groove before you go.
So we begin our 5 a.m. to dawn Jams today...and every morning thereafter...best way to start the day.
Dave throwing hoops as the sun sets with Charlie Musselwhite
then Popa Chubby
playing the pool deck.
Mardi Gras night and Tab Benoit & the Voice of the Wetlands
...so we danced the night away.
Roatan, Honduras today and the girls got carried away. Schmoozing, bluesing & cruising with those Darn Dangerous Binkleys Part 3: Diamonds are a girl's best friend Roomful of Blues
45 years on the road this blues big band was a must see.
There's something about brass and the blues that is ageless.
Bit of swing never hurt anyone.
Wasn't till 9pm for Dave's No 1 must see... Lucky Peterson
We took our usual possie in the Showroom of the Sea...and Dave was pretty excited.
The band kicked off but no Lucky.
Wow. His lead guitarist Shawn Kellerman
blew us away...like a blistering tornado wrecking ball...wow.
Then Lucky came on and Shawn went to the back and his charisma was gone.
I asked him why later..."It's what I get paid to do"...it's the Lucky show after all.
Lucky...on keyboards...then onto guitar and walking the aisles...Dave in raptures...Lucky doing his thing...Beyond Cool.
Then his daughter on vocals...like a
good Dad...Lucky stepping back to let her do her thing. Bobby Rush
When you are 81 years old you shouldn't be able to move this way.
The funkiest gig on the ship was delivered by this dancing machine...not sure whether his youth was from the blues...or his love of big legged women.
If big booties are your thing...Bobby Rush is pure fang dang bling.
Picked up the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year as well as Best Male Blues Artist at the 2015 Blues Music Awards.
Day 5 The Voice-Blues Music's First Instrument
Taj Mahal, Bobby Rush, Bill Sims, James Harman, Tasha Taylor & Danielle Nicole in the Showroom of the Seas...what a great way to continue the day.
I say continue as we are up at 5 am each morning in the Crows Nest for the late night to dawn jams...washing it down when the coffee shop opens at 7am and the jammers head to bed at 7.30 am when they can smell the bacon. Dwayne Doopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers
If zydeco is your thing then these guys take it to
Accordian as an excitement machine...the washboard worn like a suit of armour...played as if going to war
Rockin' the ship like there's no tomorrow. Mr Sipp in the Queens Lounge
Mr Sipp scored a gig on the 2015 Blues Cruise as reward for winning the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2014.
Little did we know by attending this gig we'd go to Heaven...'cause that's where he took us.
This gig is the closest I've ever been to a religious experience in the Blues.
And having seen hundreds of blues bands in my time this is no idle claim.
Dangerous Dave (who MJ constantly said did not dance) was cured of his affliction and boogied the night away.
And the next day Mr Sipp remembered me as the guy who taught him some new moves...my Ethiopian shoulder rolls and his guitar grooving in synch.
But the night was his.
Everyone later who was there all said the same thing:
Best gig on the ship...Queens Lounge...with Mr Sipp. Dave Keyes & the Piano Bar
Dynamite Dave Keyes does late night...cool sea
breezes like his fingers on the keyboards in the Piano Bar or accompanying Popa Chubby for hot blues.
The Piano Bar is the place for late night schmoozing & grooving.
Whether it's Gene Taylor
, Fred & Darnell Neal
, Mitch Woods
, Dave Keyes
or Victor Wainwright
...wow...the world's top tinklers wooed us every night here. Samantha Fish
The blonde who takes no prisoners...there's nothing like a woman with soul...but no ordinary soul.
Samantha does raw...does sultry...whips you around...then around again...does goosebumps groove.
Killer grooves...just as I like 'em...yep...hot & sultry...prodigious talent.
Off to Hell & back today on Grand Caymen. The Peterson Brothers
Do these guys never sleep?
Glenn age 18 on lead & vocals and younger brother Alex age 15 on bass & violin.
Their school music teacher Chris on drums must not know Glenn & Alex are grooving away at every pre-dawn jam.
Guys like this are the future of the blues.
How on earth do they know all the grooves for the jams with the other musos?
Just learning from the greats they say...great students I
say. Taj Mahal Trio
Seen these guys twice in Sydney...at the Basement an intimate venue...and another time with Shuggie Otis & Robert Cray.
So pretty excited to have chats with Taj's drummer Kester Smith and see Taj again.
At only 73 years of age Taj is another of the ageless legends of the blues...and he's played everywhere man. Legendary Rhythm & Blues Review
Some bands you've gotta see more than once and Tommy Castro with Samantha Fish, Danielle Nicole and Tasha Taylor in the Showroom of the Sea as a late nighter is one such gig.
Joined by Keith Crossan & Nancy Wright for a double dose of sax.
Liked them the first time...loved them the second.
Great music grows on you...ministers to your soul.
Somewhere in here I attended a workshop by two of the World's top Blues photographers.
Hope you like my pics guys.
If some do...I guess that's all that matters.
Sometimes one just wanders...a bit of James Harman's Bamboo Porch
...a bit of Heritage Blues Orchestra
...a bit of Madeleine Theroux
...a bit of Victor
Wainwright...a bit of this and a bit of that...some bands I've already mentioned you cannot see just once. Matt Anderson
And one we had to see was a solo act that everyone was raving about...a one man band on accoustic guitar...the colossus from Canada...Matt Anderson.
Front row for his show...left nothing back...my opening picture gives just a taste.
Packing 'cause we're leaving tomorrow...Samantha Fish shredding her riffs...makes one glad we picked the cabin closest to the Crows Nest.
Sad to have to say bye to Dangerous Dave and MJ...new friends...for life.
Thanks Dave & MJ for bringing the band back together. Schmoozing, bluesing & cruising with those Darn Dangerous Binkleys Part 1: Dave was not "Dangerous" then.
Your blogs will be a constant reminder of fun times and camaraderie Blues Cruisin' with The Dancing Duo So you think you don't want to go on a cruise? Ah, blues!
But where next will we meet?
You would have loved the Festival au Desert at Timbuktu in Mali.
We'd love to go back but these are dangerous times.
How about Blues de Fleur on the Niger?
Calls for a reunion in Senegal we thinks.
Thanks for our Blues cruise on the Caribbean...what a privilege...what a blast.
Fabulous memories that will last, last, last.
Next stop Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
What tunes will we meet?
Relax & Enjoy,
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