Blues Bytes


October 2022

Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets featuring Sam Myers
Black Top Records

Anson Funderburgh

One of my first blues guitar heroes was Anson Funderburgh, leading the band Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets. He played regularly around the Jackson, Mississippi area with Sam Myers. They were one of the first blues bands I saw in person, way back in 1987. Funderburgh was cool as a cucumber playing the guitar with those sharp, crisp, concise solos, Myers was the epitome of a southern blues man to these eyes and ears with his world-weary vocals and harmonica, and the Rockets (Matt McCabe – piano, Rhandy Simmons – bass, and Marc Wilson – drums) were one of the best bands out there.

The first album I was able to find by the band was 1988’s Sins, on Black Top Records. They were one of the first signees to the label in the early 80’s, when Darrell Nulisch was fronting the band before going solo in 1985. Funderburgh and Myers had recorded an earlier album for Black Top, My Love Is Here To Stay, under their own names, but Sins was the first of their releases billed as Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets featuring Sam Myers. The 12-song set included three Myers/Funderburgh originals and nine tasty covers, including a familiar Myers tune from 30 years earlier.

Black Top labelmate Earl King contributed the playful opener, “A Man Needs His Loving” and the lively “I Don’t Want No Leftovers.” Myers has a good time singing the lyrics on these two tracks (mixing in a harp solo on the latter track) and Funderburgh contributes a brief, but potent solo on the opener. The soulful ballad “I’ll Be True” comes between the two King songs. and it demonstrates Myers’ vocal versatility. Albert King’s “Walked All Night” provides a fine showcase for Funderburgh’s guitar work, while Little Walter’s “My Kind of Baby” allows Myers the same accommodations on harmonica.

The splendid slow burner “Changing Neighborhoods” is a Myers/Funderburgh original and one of their best to these ears. A fine effort by the entire band. Elmore James’ “Can’t Stop Loving” is transformed into a rhumba (with Funderburgh on slide guitar), and “Chill Out” is a wonderful instrumental tribute to Albert Collins (with Ron Levy sitting in on organ). Meanwhile, Sam Myers turns in a supremely soulful vocal on Percy Mayfield’s ballad “My Heart,” before moving into another Myers/Funderburgh original, “Trying To Make You Mine.”

Myers also updates his 1956 hit, “Sleeping In The Ground,” expanding on the original with extended harmonica and keyboard solos from Myers and McCabe respectively. The album closes with a terrific cover of Eddie Burns’ “Hard Hearted Woman.”

Funderburgh, Myers, and the Rockets released three more studio albums, a live album, and a compilation with Black Top, moving to Bullseye Blues for two releases after Black Top folded in the late ’90s. Myers released a solo album on Electro-Fi in 2004, with Mel Brown on guitar, before passing away due to complications from throat cancer in 2006. Funderburgh continues to perform, preferring to produce and record with other artists, such as John Németh, Andy T and Nick Nixon, Jose Ramirez, and the Texas Horns, and many others.

Sins remains my favorite Anson Funderburgh/Sam Myers album, but ALL their albums are worth having. It was a fortunate thing for the blues world when these two artists decided to collaborate.

--- Graham Clarke




[Pick Hit][What's New][Surprise][Flashback][Feedback][Back Issues][Home Page]


The Blues Bytes URL... 
Revised: October 18, 2022 - Version 1.00
All contents Copyright © 2022, Blue Night Productions. All rights reserved.