Review - Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets with Sam Myers

R. BANK$ & M. Martin rbanks@MAIL.WINCOM.NET
Tue Jul 8 02:10:25 EDT 1997


Sorry we took so long to get to it... busy summer schedule and all!

        Last Thursday July 3rd was not only our fourth wedding anniversary, but
a special evening that we set aside to kick back, tip a few and enjoy a
great Blues act! And enjoy we did! The three hour drive to Toronto
passed quickly with the anticipation of the evening of Texas/Mississippi
Blues to follow.
        We arrived at the Silver Dollar in Toronto at about 8:45. Doors were to
open at 9:00 and showtime, 10:30. We expected a considerable lineup but
were surprised to find the club virtually empty. My husband Mark, being
the guitar player in our band and a huge Anson fan, chose our seat at
the bar directly in front of the band, and Anson's Super Reverb.
        The club slowly began to fill, far from capacity. A very reasonable
$12.00 ticket price was charged at the door. We were surprised, as I
stated on an earlier post, that more area Blues players were not in the
audience. Even though the TBS Blues Talent competition finals were in
progress just a few short blocks away, I still expected a bigger
turnout.
        The band arrived and I made a joke to Anson that he must have brought a
Texas tornado to Michigan as they had just played at the Kalamazoo Blues
festival on Wednesday, the day after a nasty twister hit Michigan.
        I fell instantly in love with the man they call Sweet Sam, Mr. Sam
Myers. I asked Sam to send out a special dedication request, "A Man
Needs His Lovin'", to my husband Mark for our anniversary. I had no idea
he'd dedicate various songs to our happy occasion throughout the course
of the evening. He's a sweet man, slow speaker, sincere and thoughtful,
and one of the finer performers I've seen live. We chatted about the
business, and by the end of the evening he gave me his mailing address
so I could send him a copy of our CD as soon as it's released! What a
sweetie!
        Anson and the Rockets began the evening with at least one instrumental.
I don't remember what it was, not familiar to me, I just remember how
they appeared to epitomize the Texas gentlemen, with their cool and
killer appearance and sound.
        The thing that strikes me most about their style is that they leave
open spaces, allowing the music to breath and speak to you.     Anson's
tone was deadly, his usual fat, full and clear. He had a three guitars
on stage, a Gibson ES-5, a black strat and his 57 strat. He opened with
the Gibson and went back and forth between it and his main 57 strat all
night, definitely favouring the strat.
        When Sam made his way on stage, I knew we were in for a real treat! For
anyone who's not familiar with him, he's a wonderful older gentleman
from Jackson Mississippi, tall in stature, slow moving and damn near
blind, although I doubt he admits it! He's got a warm throaty sweet
singing voice, his own singing style and he sings and plays his harps
with soul and passion. His between song dialogue is playful, warm and
respectful, constantly referring to the audience as "ladies and
gentlemen".
        Oh yeah, and by the way, Sam just LOVES Anson. There appears to be a
tremendous amount of respect and admiration between them. It's funny how
sincere friendship and respect just shines so brightly in these two
men's faces, everyone with eyes could see it that night.
        They played a variety of their tunes and covers (including "Money")...
shuffles, slow Blues. One of my favorites, "The Woman The Woman The
Woman The Woman The Woman The Woman The Woman ..... Keeps Me Busy". (say
that ten times really fast! Sam does!) They opened the second set with
my husband's instrumental request, "Side Tracked", by Freddy King. And
Sam melted me when he sang, "I'm a good man, but I'm a poor man, who
understands...", B.B. King.
        The band deserve some special recognition as well... all from Texas, on
keys Douglas Demitre Rykert (sp), drums Danny Cochran, bass Pat
Whitefield. All of which played with taste, style and cool restraint. I
could watch these guys every night!
        I did a headcount in the middle of the second and final set (around
1:00) grand total? 60 people. Maybe 80 or 90 people all night. And
considerable advertising was done too! It seems sort of strange to me
that talent like this in a town the size of Toronto (2 million +) should
be filling a good sized theatre at least! Such is the Blues.
        Regardless, bravo to Gary Kendall and the Silver Dollar for bringing
quality national Blues acts to Toronto!
        Come the end of a wonderful evening, we had had some great
conversations with everyone in the band...
        Mark had heard a story that Sam played drums on Freddy King's
"Hideaway" and asked him about it. He did play with Freddy but not on
record. He was however the drummer on a considerable amount of Elmore
James recordings and proceeded to rattle off the names of the songs and
what labels they were on. Heck, I can't even remember what I ate for
breakfast! Pretty impressive!
        Then a funny thing happened... I was having a nice chat with Sam when I
heard my husband calling me... "Robin!!!" I looked over and he had
Anson's 57 strat in his posession and a big goofy grin on his face.
Apparently he was talking guitars with Anson well after the show... he
asked him about the 57 strat and Anson proceeded to take it out of it's
case and give it to Mark... then Anson walked away... for 20 minutes!!!
He went to get paid and left it with my man, talk about a great
anniversary present! Mark was in guitar heaven. I bet they shook hands
100 times! A real nice man indeed!
        I kinda hated to leave, I did not want this night to end... so I asked
Sam if it was OK if I kissed him... he didn't mind at all!

        The moral of the story? Don't you dare miss Anson Funderburgh and the
Rockets featuring the incredible Sweet Sam Myers! A great Blues act
indeed!

ROBIN BANK$ & Mark Martin





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