Musician, author, entertainer: Barefoot Man is one of Cayman’s most recognizable faces.
And now he’s heading Stateside for a series of gigs – the fruits of a growing, reputation.
“The tour dates come from two main sources,” explains Barefoot. “People – tourists and fans – we meet here in Cayman during our performances and those we meet in the Bahamas when we do our biannual concert there. After 40 years of performing in Cayman, I have made many good contacts.”
He adds that folks say they hear the bands play, have a good time, and then want to replicate the fun back on their home turf.
“The fans who gather in the Bahamas are in the very affluent category. Many come over from the U.S. in private yachts, jets, or own second homes in the Abacos.
“So for them to fly a five-piece band from Cayman to the U.S. is a mere drop in the bucket. In fact, on several occasions, they have sent down a private jet to pick us up. They got the money … we got the time.
“In most cases, the people throwing the party will donate any leftover proceeds to some charity. These U.S. performances are always good promo for Cayman because during the concerts we are decorating the stage with Cayman Airways banners, posters and some other form of visual publicity for the islands.”
The majority of his set consists of his own music, he adds, which is what the people come to hear.
“That’s what I give them – The Barefoot double innuendo stuff like ‘Fake Boobies,’ ‘Big Panty Woman,’ ‘Ching-Ching’ …, etc.
“In Cayman, I mix it more – my stuff and covers. Love doing the country.”
Also performing at various gigs are Sea ‘n B, with whom Barefoot has been working for 25 years.
“Close friends Chuck and Barrie [Quappe] are a super-talented couple who have done the majority of all my backup work on my many recordings and we also collaborate on some song writing now and then.
“Chuck and I make a good team – he is the serious musician who can read the notes and I’m the couldn’t-care-less three-chord kind of guy. The odd couple thing seems to work. Mark McTaggart, on drums, has been with me since the old Holiday Inn days … and Bugs Wilson, on bass, has just recently in the last few years joined me for our off-island tours.”
Sunny Jim is also an old friend who used to play at the Hyatt hotel and now is considered one of the top Trop-Rock acts in America. He joins Barefoot for an acoustic gig on tour.
At present, the Cayman fixture is working on a brand new CD, which includes titles such as “Get a Little Bit,” “Beach Bumming Around” and “I’ve Been Displaced.”
“I plan on including the ‘Ballad of Commissioner Baines’ about his hero act when he ran down the bandits [on New Year’s Day in Grand Cayman] – I thought that was so great.
“Also for Christmas, I will have a separate three-CD collection of 63 original songs titled “The Bare Essentials.” The idea behind this project is to put the most popular requested songs from the last four decades (and 12 albums) all together on one collection rather than keeping a large inventory of 12 different albums around. Physical CDs are a hard sell these days … thank the Tiki gods for iTunes.”
As for 2014 so far, Barefoot is enthused as ever with what has come his way.
“2014 has been a great year – like all the others. I have no low points; I’ve been retired since I landed in Cayman back in 1972.
“Only when I can’t find a good cigar and a cold beer, that’s a low point, and when I have to go to George Town for anything – that’s a low point, but it only lasts a few hours and then I rush back to Breakers,” he says with a smile.
It’s that tongue-in-cheek but warm sentiment that keeps people coming back time and again.
- Oct. 17 – Margarita Republic, the Villages, Florida, with Sea ‘n B
- Oct. 18 – HR Ranch, Inglis, Florida, with Sea ‘n B
- Oct. 19-21 – Nashville, Tennessee
- Oct. 22 – The Station, Venice, Florida, with Sunny Jim
- Oct. 30 – The Reef Resort, Cayman
- Nov. 1 – The Wharf, Cayman