Delbert McClinton & Friends
" Sandy Beaches Cruise #19 "
January 5 -12, 2013

Another Great Year of Performances And There Will Be More!

After you read about this year's cruise, click over to this week's Photo Page to see some of Bob's cool photos from the ship.

It was previously announced that this year's Delbert cruise would be their last. Thankfully there will be more, perhaps many more! As it was decided to outsource Ragena Warden's Event Coordinator's position, but this was not a corporate-like decision as the (always wonderful) Ragena is retiring to travel the world with her husband. This year's cruise brought back many familiar faces: Marcia Ball, Anson Funderburgh, Jimmy Hall, Big Joe Maher's 4 JAKS, Clay McClinton, The McCrary Sisters, Mingo Fishtrap, Gary Nicholson, Spooner Oldham, Lee Roy Parnell, Wayne Toups, Paul Thorn, Seth Walker, plus the return of Tab Benoit (who's been absent for two years), newcomers The Band of Heathens, who I thoroughly enjoyed, and of course Delbert McClinton, who continues to marvel and astound.

Favorites included Wayne Toups' excellent band with the burning Freddie Pate on guitar, Toup's son Darrell on percussion, Chevy Foreman's solid bass, Adrian Boudreaux' keys, and Matt Janise, who was very impressive and added much color on drums. The Toups band is not your typical zydeco band as they incorporate classic rock overtones into their Louisiana-based performances; they are especially fond of the Allman Brothers, too. The highlight of their set was when Lee Roy Parnell sat in and called for "Ramblin' Man," "One Way Out," and a rollicking "Sweet Home Alabama," all of which sizzled (especially Parnell and Pate's dueling guitars) which had the crowd cheering and begging for more.

Gary Nicholson's band was a big party with Anson Funderburgh and Colin Linden on guitars. It was a superb set, where I enjoyed Nicholson's fun tune "Pay Bo Diddley," and much more. The band I saw last year with Big Joe Maher, Anson Funderburgh, Kevin McKendree, and Steve Mackey also dazzled, and they have a new Ellersoul album due out titled Deal With It. And they now have a band name: The 4 JAKS, as in Joe, Anson, Kevin, and Steve, get it?

Who doesn't like Marcia Ball? Especially with guitarist "Mighty" Mike Schermer (who also has a new CD coming out) and Red Young sitting in on B3 throughout. Tab Benoit (saw him three times) was on fire with the newly added Terrence Higgins on drums (Dirty Dozen Brass Band), who was in lockstep with the fabulous ex-Chubby Carrier bassist Corey Duplechin, plus Johnny Sansone was called up to sit in and Tab never let him leave the stage. These Benoit sets were nearly the best I've ever seen him and his previous bands deliver! Delbert is so timeless (saw him three times too) and McClinton and his always solid band marveled. By the way, Delbert also has a new CD coming out in May on New West records with his old cohort Glen Clark titled Blind, Crippled & Crazy.

Of special note, I completely enjoyed the two sets that I witnessed by the The Band of Heathens. Even though these youngsters are in their early thirties, they definitely have an affinity towards late-sixties to mid-seventies music. They are reminiscent of groups like The Band, Little Feat, and other early-seventies country-rock bands, but also write great tunes, vocalize well, and have a unique knack at listening to each other when they jam. These young Heathens would have fit in playing the Fillmore East and West back in the day and left a very solid impression. Cary Baker also tells me that they too also have a new album due out later this year, look for it!

Add to the mix the late-night that produced all kinds of unsuspected and dynamite playing, Nick Connolly's 5 p.m. Jams, and The 4 JAKS' four performances, and it all made for one heck of a noon-to-wee hours party. Running into Spooner Oldham on Grand Turk Island was also special for me to catch-up and chat with him as he saw me wearing my Atlantic Records T-shirt and wanted to know where he could get one. Spooner told me he was very proud of his Atlantic days, and it was an honor to shoot the breeze with this legendary musician.

And the best news of all is that it ain't over, as there will be more Delbert cruises! After being horrified of the thought that this would be the last cruise, I am happy to report that you can sign up right now for their twentieth at or call 1-800-Delbert. I hope to be back again in 2014, and look forward to seeing many of you onboard, too!

Bob Putignano a senior contributing editor at BluesWax. He is also the heart of Sounds of Blues at Bob maybe contacted at:

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