Taj Mahal

The "Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise" to depart from Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday

Let’s put aside the tried clichés that dictate steel drums, congas, and clanky Caribbean rhythms for this one. Oh yeah, let’s get down and dirty. Let’s run amok on a cruise with all the inflection and goodness only a rhythm and blues revue can bring. And don’t get me wrong: I know how fucking cheesy this can seem. But let’s face it; as long as we live on the musical asshole that is South Florida, we’re gonna be far and few between some good concerts and if you’re the kind that likes listening to some good blues, you might never get a chance. No shit.

So here come the Blues Cruise. On paper, a has-been kind of money saver, but in reality, an ad-hoc army of blues past, present, and future. Delight to the rhythms of old and new. What an eclectic mix of the old guard and the new vanguards.

Taj Mahal, Hubert Sumlin, and Billy Branch can bring it on down with Delta, juke joint, woman-done-me-wrong styles, juxtaposed with the goodtime feel of Tommy Castro and his crew. Shemekia Copeland appears with her registered-weapon lungs and, the oft-overlooked Irma Thomas and her Professionals do it right with some New Orleans soul. And get a little crazy with Richard “Magic Dick’s” Salwitz's harmonica (who you know from the J. Geils Band!).

Roger Naber (CEO and blues cruise pro for close to 30 years) is the kind of guy that knows exactly what he’s doing. And with a proven formula that puts his enterprise in business well into 2009, this cruise shindig relies more on balance than star power. The blues are a genre-lover’s game, and as a lover of said game I’ll tell ya that you’re not gonna get a better bang for your buck. Let’s face it, round out the aforementioned exemplar luminaries with the likes of Billy Gibson, Chick Willis, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Tab Benoit, and Jim Thackery, and you’re gonna have you a good time.

Nothing’s more conducive to the blues message than the wanton, happy-go-lucky attitude of a Caribbean cruise. This year's cruise is sold out, but another departs for the Pacific in October, and again from Ft. Lauderdale next year. Visit www.bluescruise.com for full details. Get drunk, listen and get laid. Send me the thank-you notes later. – Abel Folgar

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