We had another opportunity to go ashore on Tortola, and after a winding trip over a mountain, we hit a beach to find Mike Zito reading Elmore.
Terry and Teresa James caught some rays nearby, while Richard Thompson and bassist Taras Prodaniuk waved towels at drummer Michael Jerome, who apparently took an alarmingly lengthy swim.
Back on the ship, the Jameses suited up and played the big stage, swinging the house with her soulful vocals and that big Memphis-horn sound. In the songwriters’ session, Donny Flowers performed “I Was a Burden”, which I heard the Blind Boys of Alabama perform only a week ago in New York, though now that night seems like a galaxy far, far away.
Like most of the ship, we eagerly awaited the Mavericks’ performance, more so than usual since their previous set didn’t go off quite as planned. This time the stars shone on the Pool Stage affording the band enough room to let loose, and let loose they did. Malo’s vocals and delivery have, if possible, improved over the years, so no matter how often he sings “Back in Your Arms Again,” the audience melts.
Well, the women melt, the men just like it a lot. Taking a page from an earlier crooner, Malo delivered Sinatra’s “Saying Something Stupid Like I Love You” and made it his own. “Sway Me Now” had a contingent of Filipino waiters dancing with beer buckets between the knees for percussion, trays on their heads, and hips swinging Latino-style, customers’ rum punches be damned for the moment.
Big Al Anderson played rhythm guitar the entire set and actually broke a smile twice, perhaps a personal best. One of my favorite Maverick tunes, “Come Unto Me,” is living proof that big bands are alive and well in the US. The grand finale included Wayne Toups, who joined the band for “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down,” co-written by Malo and Anderson. This balls-out version had keyboard player Jerry Dale McFadden kicking up his heels across the stage until the crescendo. Bring me down, my ass! Listen, even Al Anderson had to smile.