After sending out the call for pirates to join us this weekend for Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers, I got this message from an old friend, Mimi Foxmorton, who lives and borrows goats in upstate New York where apparently the weather hasn't been idyllic.
Greetings from gray, freezing fecking perpetually sunless CNY.
Hope you St. Croixians had a fabulous time.
Don't forget the SPF. I hear sunshine can be a bitch though personally I wouldn't have a clue.
love & kisses
Foxmorton the Pale and Sober"
Hi, Mimi. How're the goats?
First, we on St. Croix refer to ourselves not as St. Croixians but as Crucians. Oddly we refer to things from St. Croix as Cruzan (like the rum.) BUT they're both pronounced the same way, so unless it's a written conversation it's hard to know whether you're referring to a person or a bottle of rum, and often immaterial.
Now, I'm afraid, it gets worse – at least worse from your perspective. Friday at Cheeseburgers was absolutely great. Tom Mason isn't just a songwriter, singer and guitar virtuouso, he's a terrific enertainer. The nine costumed pirates in the crowd were a colorful addition to the proceedings, as always, not to mention quite startling to the large gathered audience. Tom (I call him Tom now, we're buddies, even facebook friends!) knows how to play a crowd. Most of his pirate songs (from his new album, "Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers") have choruses that the audence can bellow along with, which is really the best way to enjoy pirate music, pounding yer mug on the table (beer mug, not your face, although I admit I've never tried the latter.)
For "Throw Me In the Drink," he invited the Crucian pirate contingent onstage to sing the chorus with him, and that was a blast, easily the highlight of the evening as far as we were concerned. When you watch the video (it'll be a couple of days to cut together) you'll even hear some of us going up in high harmony. It's been too long since I shared a stage with Tori, and though it was just a few minutes, damn it was fun!
Another great moment was when he asked for requests. There were two, the classic chanty, "Drunken Sailor," and "Free Bird." He attempted to do them as a medley, although neither he nor the woman who requested "Drunken Sailor" knew many of the words. But "Free Bird" bellowed out as a pirate was priceless! Yes, it'll be on the video. Coming soon!
So a time was had by all. But wait! There's more!
Cheeseburgers (And by the way, it's not just a clever name. they make a great cheeseburger. I prefer mine without cheese, and the cheese I prefer it without is Swiss, but it's still a hell of a hunk of meat, which coincidentally is ... never mind.)
My point is, Cheeseburgers wasn't their only gig on this island tour. They played Saturday night, then Sunday afternoon at Rainbows, which is right on the beach. We wore what I call "pirate lite," because it was quite warm and sunny and the place is open air. Did you hear that, upstate New York? Warm and sunny, open air. Too warm for full pirate gear. Just sayin'
The show was supposed to start at 4. We got there a few minutes late. The stage was all set up for them, but there were no musicians. We ordered beers, which took forever, the place was crowded, and still no band. It was about 15 minutes later that this guy walked up out of the ocean, towelling himself off. It was Tom. I asked if he was concerned about being wet and shorting out on the electrical equipment, but he was pretty calm about it. As he finished drying off and started throwing on his pirate rig over his damp shorts, drummer Paul and bass player Lorne rolled out of the surf, dried off, and the show got under way. What a great gig!
They were joined this time by two local musicians whose names I didn't get, both percussionists, couple of older guys who really knew their stuff. Paul told me later, "Yeah, they were great. I really had to work. I was like, 'Damn, I've gotta be good!'" And they added SO much to the music.
Tom and the band don't have three hours of pirate music, so they interspersed some of their older stuff and an occasional novelty song, including "Sugar, Sugar" (well, they make rum from sugar, and it was a prized commodity pirates seized, so it fit) and "Last Night I Got Loaded." And once again we pirates were back on stage to sing the "Rum diddy" chorus of "Throw Me In the Drink." I think I've got the hang of it, now. Although both times we made sure Millie was closest to the mike, because of all of us Crucian pirates, she's the one who can sing.
Speaking of singing, there was an older guy in the crowd – damn, he must have been as old as me! – who was just hanging out, and then suddenly Tom was calling him up on stage. The story, as I later got it from Tom, was that this guy had come for a vacation from New York in January and sort of forgot to go home, and who could blame him? Tom had heard him singing on the Christiansted boardwalk and invited him out to Rainbows to join them onstage.
He was introduced as "Big Papa," that's all the name I've got for him, and he sang one number, a blues song called "Crosscut Saw," full of wonderful double entendre. Man! He was good! I didn't realize what was up at first, but as soon as I heard the first couple of lines I was on my feet, with my camera, and caught about 90 percent of it on video. It'll be posted this week. And Tom's blues guitar licks were smokin'!
They wound up as the sun went down over the Caribbean. No "green flash," there was a band of clouds right on the horizon, but other than that, it was an almost perfect evening.
Anyway, that was my weekend (with some actual work filling up Saturday from 9 a.m. to about 10 p.m., so you can't have everything.) How was your weekend, Foxmorton?