Cruise ship travel and second-hand brushes with fame.
Cruise ship travel offers all sorts of entertainment, from full-on variety shows in the theatre to small venue entertainment that entices you to hang around the bar for an hour or two.
The music of the latter half of the 60s and the all of the 70s was very important in my life, and I love a good sing-along, so it was natural that we would end up in the bar with the very talented singer/pianist Patricia Watson.
A Canadian born resident of Maui, Patricia pumps out a very enjoyable set of songs, sometimes with a theme (e.g. Beatles music), at other times a random selection from her huge repertoire. But the random selection is predominantly from the era that is “my music”… the songs I listened to back then, sang with a guitar for years, and still enjoy today.
Last night we very much enjoyed Patricia telling stories of famous people she has known well and those she has had the pleasure of meeting, each story followed by a relevant song.
Patricia was involved in an Earth Day Song and as a result was asked to open a concert for Bob Dylan. Bob was very anxious about performing, a normal situation for him apparently, so she was asked to allow him to go on stage immediately. She agreed but ended up on the stage with Dylan backing up his vocals for Blowing in the Wind.
She also sang backup vocals for Willie Nelson and shared that his only contract rider asked for a lit joint to be waiting for him in the wings between songs. Now we know why he always seems so very laid back!
A colleague of Dean Martin, my mother’s favourite singer, told Patricia that Dean acted the role of the perennially ‘drunk’ crooner consistently and was not the alcoholic that people presumed him to be. His confidence level was very high, especially with women, but it seems he was particularly nervous when Petula Clark performed on his show. According to Patricia it is worth looking up one of his old shows to watch his change in behavior whenever she performed.
She knew Denny Doherty from The Mamas & the Papas well and he told her that there was a period when groupies often followed him around. One day he got sick of this and led them into a church where he insisted they “drop down on their knees and watch them pray on a winter’s day” …and from that came the line from ‘California Dreaming.
Patricia knew that George Harrison was also a resident of Maui and one day she recognized him as one of just a few people waiting to collect their luggage at the local airport. She had a long chat with him about Beatles music and had the great pleasure of getting a big hug from her favourite Beatle.
There were several other interesting stories of people she performed with and for, including singing with Roger Hodgson from Supertramp.
But perhaps the story that I enjoyed the most was the time she had performed live on CBC Network in Canada. She was waiting in the Green Room after and a musician, who she didn’t recognise, came up to her and said ‘You sang well. I’d like you to do backup vocals for me.”
“But we haven’t rehearsed.”
“That’s OK. You’ll know the song.”
And there she was, on live TV, doing backup vocals for Don McLean singing “American Pie.”
Cruise ship travel isn’t always fun. Sometimes you are tired from sightseeing, or can’t get a decent cup of coffee on board, or the weather isn’t good for whatever you are doing. First world problems, I know, but they can seem big at the time.
For me, it’s the chance encounters with fascinating people that make cruise ship travel worthwhile and memorable. Thank you, Patricia, for adding a delightful element to our holiday.
Check out my trip to Greece