2016 Delbert McClinton & Friends Sandy Beach Cruise – 22nd Edition – Jan 9th-16th 2016
Another wonderful year of deep ocean performances and there will be a twenty-third edition and likely many more to follow! This year’s cruise brought back many familiar faces: Marcia Ball, Anson Funderburgh, Jimmy Hall, Big Joe Maher, Clay McClinton, The McCrary Sisters, Mingo Fishtrap, Spooner Oldham, Gary Nicholson also known as his alter ego Whitey Johnson, Lee Roy Parnell, Big Al Anderson, Seth Walker, The Band of Heathens who (year after year) I repeatedly have enjoyed, and of course Delbert McClinton who continues to marvel and amaze. There was also a major first-time Delbert cruise performer: Kevin Moore best known as the three time Grammy winner Keb’ Mo’ who was a stellar addition.
Favorites included Gary Nicholson’s band with Anson Funderburgh (and at times Le Roy Parnell) on guitars. It was a superb set where I enjoyed 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 set(s). Funderburgh also regularly performs with the ready and steady Big Joe Maher, and this year I caught him sitting in with Lee Roy Parnell on “Natural Ball” that instrumentally reminiscent of “T-Bone Shuffle,” that was one of the most potent highlights of this year’s cruise.
Who doesn’t like Marcia Ball? Especially with guitarist “Mighty” Mike Schermer, and it’s a Delbert cruise tradition to have Red Young sitting in on B3 throughout. Delbert continues to defy time (saw him three times) as McClinton and his always solid band sparkled. By the way, Kevin McKendree tells me that Delbert will have a brand new album coming out this spring; look for it on-line or better yet at: www.Delbert.com 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-seventies roots music. They are reminiscent of groups like The Band, Little Feat, and other country-rock bands, but also write great tunes, vocalize well, and have a unique knack of 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 (again) left a memorable impression. Their set was another favorite especially when they called for guitarist extraordinaire Guthrie Trapp who tore it up on “Gimme Some Lovin’”near the end of the Heathens performance – whew!
Big Al Anderson has also been a regular on the Delbert cruises but this year he sported a supberb new band: The World Famous Headliners with veteran guitarists and vocalists Patrick McLaughlin and Shawn Camp.
And the best news of all is that (all of this) unforgettable music continues for at least another year! I am happy to report that you can sign up right now for their twenty-third edition at: www.Delbert.com or call 1-800-Delbert. I hope to be back again in January 2017 and look forward to seeing many of you onboard too! You will not be disappointed.
Tearful tribute: Months prior to each previous Delbert cruise I always received preliminary emails from fellow cruiser Jack Malone who would always check on me to see if I would be on-board. I didn’t hear from Jack this year and found out he had passed. So I dedicate this year’s article to the memory of Jack Malone for his always kind words about my articles and for his gentle recommendations about artists I had missed providing coverage for. R.I.P. Mr. Malone, you are missed.
For 17 years Bob Putignano has been pivotal at WFDU with his Sounds of Blue radio show (Wed. & Fri. 9am-1pm) www.SoundsofBlue.com – http://wfdu.fm Previously a contributing editor at Blues Revue, Blueswax, and Goldmine magazines, currently the Music Editor for the Yonkers Tribune www.YonkersTribune.com & www.MakingAScene.org 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: [email protected]