Sat September 1, 2012
Marc On The Blues

Nine O'clock Blues: We're Going On A Blues Cruise

Looking for a vacation no Blues fan could ever forget? How about the World’s only fully chartered Blues cruise?

In 1991 Blues club owner and promoter Roger Nabor took a cruise that was billed as a ‘Blues cruise.’  He was disappointed.  Unhappy with the sound and organization, Nabor offered his services to help the promoters do it right.

After finding pretty much a deaf ear, he decided to do it himself.

Hence, he, a bunch of musicians and a shipload of devoted Blues fans first set sail in 1992. The result has become the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. Running the cruises has now become Nabor’s year-round job and Blues fans should rejoice at the fact.

Unlike Blues festival’s, the cruises allow for a more relaxed atmosphere with the artists staying in the same stateroom night after night and having a situation where they can kick back in a way that is impossible when they are on the road instead of the waves. And best for the fans, the cruises give the artists a unique type of chance to hang out and play some truly super music together.  

A who’s who of great Blues talent has played the cruises and Tommy Castro says, “It’s the jig everybody looks forward to all year.”

-- Tommy Castro performs "Love Don't Care" on the 2008 Blues Cruise

According to organizer Roger Nabor, “The goal is for the musicians to be able to enjoy themselves more than they do on the grind of the road.” And they do.  

Shemekia Copeland says, “It’s so much fun.   I mean, first of all you got a couple thousand people on a boat that just love Blues so much, the real dedicated die-hard fans… And it’s also a good time for me to just run into musicians and people that I don’t get a chance to see too often.”

Susan Tedeschi feels, “It’s a nice time to see other musicians that maybe you run into at festivals but you can’t really hang out and play with… And if you want to go and play with them you can.”

Between the set performances by the multiple top artists that are booked on any given cruise and the impromptu jams, any Blues lover would love to go along.

This week on The Nine O’clock Blues we will take a vicarious cruise thanks to Tommy Castro and co-Producer Bruce Iglauer who have combined performances recorded on the October 2010 cruise and others by frequent cruise artists on tours that Tommy has organized as The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue, which is the name of the CD we’ll be sampling. The artists will include Castro, Joe Louis Walker, Sista Monica Parker and Trampled Under Foot.

Also on the show will be music from Lowell Fulson, Guy Davis (son of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee), the James Cotton Blues Band and we’ll hear a version of Big Bill Broonzy’s “Romance in the Dark” performed by Cyndi Lauper.


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