Blues fans of every age, dress and ilk descended on Cruz Bay on Wednesday afternoon, January 17, to hear a variety of musicians from the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise jam across town.
The Blues Cruise, which sails throughout the Caribbean yearly, stopped in St. Thomas on Wednesday afternoon when musicians and passengers made a beeline for Love City.
Mitch Woods and Dennis Rizzo rocked the crowd at Mooies, while Joey Gilmore led the fun at the Beach Bar and Slammin’ kept the gang dancing at Infusions Lounge.
First St. John Stop
This marked the first time the Blues Cruise has stopped by St. John and organizers hope it’s only the beginning.
“It seems like things are going great and everyone is having a great time,” said Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise founder Roger Neighbor.
Neighbor, a former Kansas City nightclub owner, launched the themed cruise after he attended one that “needed a little help,” he explained.
“I was well-networked in the blues community and had already been taking groups to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival when I went on a themed blues cruise in 1991,” said Neighbor. “It needed some help and organization but they didn’t want my help.”
“So I started my own cruise,” Neighbor added — and the rest, as they say, is history.
Originally sailing under the title the Ultimate Rhythm and Blues Cruise from 1992 through 1998, the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise is already in its sixth year and going strong.
“We have people who book their cruises for the next year before they even get off the boat,” said Neighbor.
If the St. John stop — with the great music and fun atmosphere — is any indication, it is easy to see why the cruise is so popular.
“Deep Sea Blues”
Some Love City locals might even get their faces in a movie, since a film crew was on hand at the Beach Bar. Robert Mugge, who recently filmed “New Orleans Music In Exile,” was leading the shooting of “Deep Sea Blues,” a documentary about the Blues Cruise.
Veteran Blues Cruise passenger and St. John resident Yvonne Tharpes — who helped organize the Cruz Bay mini-blues festival — was on hand as well and even took a turn at the microphone at Mooies before heading back on board for the final stop of the week at St. Barths.
The ship headed back to Ft. Lauderdale on January 19, and was due to dock at 8 a.m. on January 21.
For information about the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, check out their Web site at www.bluescruise.com.