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Sam Myers-Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets

Sam Myers & Anson Funderburgh

Sam Myers & Anson Funderburgh. Both of these artists go hand in hand when it comes to the blues. When I wanted to just write about Myers, I realized that half of his life includes Anson Funderburgh. So, for these reasons, I’m going to include both artists. Since Myers career started off a lot earlier than Anson’s, we’ll start off with Myers.

Myers – The Multi-tasker

What I love about Myers is that not only is that not only can he sing the blues. But he can also play drums and is quite the harp player!  Performing in the 1950s, he hooks up with the likes of Elmore James and releases a few tracks of his own along the way. Furthermore, he forms his own band in the 1960s and mostly plays the “Chitlin’ circuit” throughout the 70s. After a while he realizes that work is slowing down and even though he’s popular and well-known. In Mississippi, times are changing.  In 1985, he meets up with a guitarist and to his surprise. Things take a change for the better. 

Because that particular guitarist is none other than Anson Funderburgh, They became friends, Myers joins the band which at the time is called Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets. Needless to say, this move revives Myers’s career and gives him the opportunity to tour nationally and record with the band. In fact, W.C. Handy award in 1988 as “Best Blues Band” and another for Best Blues Album, “Sins”. Myers’ stays with the band until his passing in 2006. 

Anson Funderburgh – Texas /Chicago Blues

Growing up in Plano, Texas, Anson knew at an early age that music was his destiny. Being weaned on country music shows like “The Grand Ole Opry, The Porter Wagoner show, The Buck Owens Ranch, and many others. Plus, not living far from Dallas. He sees an opportunity and makes a go at it. At nine years old, he receives his first guitar and a box of blues 45’s which had a treasure trove of music featuring Jimmy Reed, Albert Collins, Freddy King and many more. Then his brush with greatness when he sees B.B. King at a local club in 1969 which leaves quite an impression. By the time he’s fifteen, he’s already a professional musician. During this time, he schools himself on all the great players in the Blues genre. 

Anson’s big break came in 1978 when he teams up with Harp player and singer Darrell Nulisch, which in turn becomes the beginnings of “The Rockets”.  Shortly after, they are doing gigs full-time. Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets were the inaugural artists on Hammond and Nauman Scott’s New Orleans-based Black Top Records, one of the leading contemporary blues labels throughout the 1980s and ‘90s.  Kicking off the label in 1981 with their acclaimed debut release, Talk To You By Hand, the band encored in 1983 with She Knocks Me Out! Around 1981-1982, is when they really got to know Sam Myers and would have him sit in on gigs when he is in town. In 1986, Nulisch leaves the music business. So, Anson calls up Sam to ask if he would move to Dallas.

A Successful Time For The Band 

With Myers as The Rockets dynamic front man – his booming pipes were perfectly complemented by his muscular harp work – Anson embarked on his most successful time when it came to albums. On the Black Top Label, Anson Sins (1987), Rack ‘Em Up (1990), Tell Me What I Want To Hear (1991), Live At The Grand Emporium (1995) and That’s What They Want (1997). As well as the ’91 overview Thru The Years: A Retrospective. Anson and the band move to Bullseye Blues in 1999. Releasing “Change In My Pocket” and “Which Way is Texas?” in 2003. The longstanding musical partnership between Anson and Sam brought both international acclaim. For 20 years The Rockets, along with Myers, toured continuously all over the world and went on to win ten Blues Music Awards from the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2006 is when Myers passes from cancer. 

Starting A New Path

After taking a break, Anson starts working on projects with some of the most influential musicians in the business. When he’s not performing or producing his own albums, he’s in the studio working on other artist albums. Plus, he’s always in demand for his guitar playing and tone and his unique take on contemporary blues while influencing future generations. Ultimately leaving his mark in blues history and his great music!

Keeping the Blues Alive

To learn more or donate to Keeping The Blues Alive, visit our website at https://keepingthebluesalive.org/

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