Bits and bobs of video taken on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise are beginning to turn up, but a lot of it’s poorly shot on telephones — the sort of stuff I won’t pass on to you, unless there’s some over-riding reason to do so. I’m biased, of course, but Shakura S’Aida and Matt Andersen both killed on the Cruise — superb performances, standing ovations, and, in Shakura’s case, an ad-libbed duet with Bettye Lavette, who walked on the stage unannounced and helped Shakura sing “Brown Sugar” to a huge ovation. The cruise was a fascinating experience, but for my taste there were way too many power-charged electric blues bands with screaming guitar solos — hello Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Chris Cain, Tommy Castro, Coco Montoya, Joe Louis Walker. Bettye was a surprise to me — I’d not seen her perform before, and she was soulful, sassy, and stage-wise. Here she is, at the show on the cruise. I met her later over drinks, thanks to Shakura, and now Bettye calls me “Babe” and I feel so privileged to have made her acquaintance…
My other surprise was Latimore, an old-school southern soul singer who rarely works north of the old Mason-Dixon line — he told me, in fact, that he had never performed in Canada — and his recording career for various southern labels goes back to 1973. He told me he might be playing in Buffalo, Cleveland and Detroit in a month or two — but I can’t find a website to confirm it. This is modern deep soul, steeped in the south and layered with a sardonic sense of humour. Here’s “My Give a Damn Gave Out”:
My give-a-damn, however, is still in fine shape! Cheers, Richard

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