Let me tell you about the best vacation I have ever been on. It was the "Sandy Beaches Cruise." It is hosted by a fantastic musician, Delbert McClinton. Each time I've been on it, it was on the Holland America cruise line. The departure port and the ports of call change every year, but the boat's always rockin'.

You may not recognize his name, but I bet you've heard Delbert McClinton. Through over 50 years as working musician, he's played with some legendary artists. A Texas blues man, and accomplished harmonica player, he found work in the clubs in Fort Worth as a young man. There he learned to switch easily from blues and soul to rock and roll, with a little country thrown in for good measure. It was during this time that he met, and played with many of the blues greats, legendary artists like Bobby "Blue" Bland, Sonny Boy Williamson, Lightening Watkins, T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner, and Freddy King.

On Bruce Channel's 1962 hit single "Hey Baby," it was Delbert who played that catchy harmonica that pretty much made the song. He toured Europe with Bruce, and had the chance to meet a young John Lennon. This was before the Beatles hit it big. Lennon had heard "Hey Baby," and asked for Delbert's advice on playing the harmonica. Lennon himself has acknowledged Delbert's influence on his harmonica technique on "Love Me Do."

The first time I noticed him, I heard Delbert McClinton on the radio. He stopped me in my tracks, who was this guy? The song that so attracted me was off his "Room to Breathe" album. The name of the song was "Everything I Know About the Blues." Here's a YouTube clip of it for your enjoyment.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbhiposU5K0

Some of the musicians booked on the cruise I already knew, others were new discoveries for me, they included:
Marcia Ball
Paul Thorn
James Hunter
Amanda Shaw
Jimmy Hall
Tommy Castro
Fred Eaglesmith
Jeffrey Steele

Photos by Author - The deck, Delbert McClinton, James Hunter, Paul Thorn, Jimmy Hall, Amanda Shaw +Norcal +Music +Delbert_McClinton +Sandy_Beaches +Cruise

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