Not much time right now; I’ve been engulfed by some huge projects along with the fun of battling movie studio attorneys.
Nevertheless, I would be remiss if I didn’t relate the abundant pleasures of my recent Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. So much happened and there was so much great music, this will have to come to you in pieces.
Along with seeing some of my favorite musicians (Taj Mahal, Eric Burdon, Los Lobos, Elvin Bishop, etc.), I always look forward to being turned on to talents of whom I had not previously been aware.
One of these was grandmaster blues singer-songwriter Doug MacCleod (pronounced “Mak-CLOUD”). I don’t know how I’ve missed this guy. Doug primarily performs with an acoustic National Steel guitar. He is a superb songwriter; there is depth in each subject that he chooses to sing about. His song introductions are as enjoyable as the songs themselves. His sets are loaded with humor and pathos, laughter and tears.
I met Doug when we were both assigned to work the ship’s CD shop (where my book Legends of the Blues was being sold). Part of the deal was that if we worked two 2-hour shifts in the shop, we got a higher percentage of the sales monies.
Doug, his beautifully elegant and kind wife Patti and I hit it off pretty quickly. I promised to catch his act.
Boy, am I glad I did. My wife said it was the highlight of the cruise for her. Here’s a little sample of Doug introducing and performing my favorite song of his:
“The Entitled Few” comes from the above CD. The whole CD is well worth picking up, especially if you could use a little extra laughter and wisdom in your life. If you ever get a chance to see Doug live, don’t miss it!
Here’s his official website (which has Appearances listings):
For all of you who contributed to Kid Ramos‘ health & medical fund when I made a plea on this site to help out Kid — Thank you! I’m happy to report that his cancer is in remission. How do I know? He was on board ship, playing his blistering lead guitar with The 44s, Los Lobos and The Mannish Boys. I finally got to personally meet Kid and gave him a well-deserved copy of Legends of The Blues. He was extremely grateful. We briefly swapped cancer stories and I finally got to tell him face-to-face how much his music means to me.
I had met Elvin Bishop at my first Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Music Festival. He’s a very funny guy, both on stage and off. When I had him sign a CD of his I mentioned that I saw him open for Led Zeppelin.
“A guy’s gotta make a living,” was his response.
Here’s one of the photos I shot at that event:
…and one from the following year:
On the Blues Cruise I finally had a chance to talk privately with Elvin. I gave him a copy of Legends of the Blues (he’ll be in Volume Three: Modern Legends of the Blues). He loved it and told me he began reading the bios of all the musicians he personally knew.
“You found out stuff about them I didn’t even know!”
Elvin has a new CD out with some great new songs:
I highly recommend the title track, plus “Old School” and “Everybody’s in the Same Boat”.
Elvin and Mike Bloomfield were the original lead guitarists for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Elvin was on their first four LPs. He went solo after that and scored a gigantic hit with “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”, sung by Mickey Thomas.
In addition to being a legendary blues guitarist, Elvin famously grows his own vegetables in northern California. And he likes fishin’.
I never saw Elvin jam more than on this trip. He played with nearly EVERYbody! What a kind, generous, sweet and funny guy.