Delbert McClinton & Friends
"Sandy Beaches Cruise XXIV Review – 1/6 thru 1/13/2018 " – 1-800-Delbert

This year’s cruise brought back many familiar faces: Marcia Ball, Jimmy Hall, Big Joe Maher, The McCrary Sisters, Mingo Fishtrap, Spooner Oldham, Gary Nicholson also known as his alter ego Whitey Johnson, Big Al Anderson, Seth Walker, The Band of Heathens who (year after year) I have repeatedly enjoyed, and of course Delbert McClinton who continues to marvel and amaze. There was also a major first-time Delbert cruise performer: The Fabulous Thunderbirds rocked the boat, plus a unannounced performer (Curtis Salgado) sat-in with several bands during the seven-day voyage. Favorites included Gary Nicholson’s superb set where I enjoyed 2018 Delbert’s - Band of Heathens 2018 Delbert’s - Big Al Anderson 2018 Delbert’s - Delbert McClinton Nicholson’s fun tune “Pay Bo Diddley,” and much more. Unfortunately Nicholson only performs once, and I certainly would like at least one more Nicholson performance. Who doesn’t enjoy Marcia Ball? Especially with guitarist “Mighty” Mike Schermer, and Marcia’s Delbert cruise addition with Red Young sitting in on B3 throughout. Delbert continues to defy time (saw him twice) as McClinton and his band sparkled. 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 to mid-thirties, they definitely have an affinity towards late-sixties to mid to upper seventies roots music. They are reminiscent of groups like Guthrie Trapp and other country-rock bands. They also write great tunes, vocalize well, and have a unique knack of listening to each other when they rock-out and jam. These youthful Heathens would have fit playing the Fillmore’s East and West back in the day and (again) left a memorable impression. Though I was hopeful to catch guitarist extraordinaire Guthrie Trapp who (2 years ago) tore it up on “Gimme Some Lovin’” near the end of the Heathens performance – whew! Big Al Anderson & the Floor Models performed new songs and favorites from Anderson’s days with NRBQ that went over well. As always Wayne Toups band packed a wallop with longtime guitarist Freddie Pate and Will McFarland sitting in. Teresa James and her Rhythm Tramps are also a joy especially with legendary trumpeter Lee Thornberg as part of her band. (Note: Thronberg has played with : Tina Turner, Bo Diddley, Aaron & Ivan Neville, Rod Stewart, Bonnie Raitt, Tower of Power, Yes, Beth Hart, Joe Bonamassa, Dwight Yoakam, Robert Cray, fellow band cruisers: the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and previously recorded with Teresa James too. The McCrary sisters never-ever disappoint, the Mavericks marveled and Mingo Fishtrap funked it out.
New to Delbert’s Sandy Beach Cruises the Fabulous Thunderbirds sizzled with most of the fire emitting from the energetic guitar work of Johnny Moeller who was always ready to tear it up. Second timers (but this was my first time seeing) Marc Broussard’s band was spectacular, I especially enjoyed the night Broussard decided to not perform his own tunes and instead took us down memory lane covering soul-funk bands from the seventies and eighties, stunning!
I never miss dropping in at Red Young’s jazzy jams, and Big Joe Maher’s Blues sets with his Dynaflows that included daddy Kevin McKendree and his son Yates who has guitarist instincts of players many times his age. By the way, Maher told me to be on the lookout for a brand-new Big Joe & the Dynaflows album this year too. Who invited Curtis Salgado? At the beginning of the cruise Maher invited two special guests to sit in his jam, Kim Wilson played harp, and Curtis Salgado sang. Salgado was not listed in the program guide and it was a very special surprise to see him perform. A few days later, I saw Salgado at the elevator bank and I asked: how’d you get here? Salgado answered, “I swam.” Too funny. Gone but not forgotten: I still miss seeing and talking with fellow cruiser Jack Malone who passed a few years ago. In closing; the best news of all is that this music cruise continues for at least another year. I am happy to report that you can sign up right now for their twenty-fifth edition at: or call 1-800-Delbert – say hi to Molly. I hope to be back again in January 2019 and look forward to seeing many of you onboard too. There isn’t a remote possibility that you could be disappointed.

For 17 years Bob Putignano has been pivotal with his Sounds of Blue radio show. Hear new Homegrown Sounds of Blue internet radio shows: Previously a contributing editor at Blues Revue, Blueswax, and Goldmine magazines, currently the Music Editor for the Yonkers Tribune & Bob was also the 2003 recipient of the “Keeping the Blues Alive” award (given by the Blues Foundation in Memphis) for his achievements in radio broadcasting. Putignano can be contacted at: