Thursday, December 13, 2012

Anson Funderburgh & The Rocket's Best!

The review below was part of a review of several Black Top Records compilations issued by Shout Factory in 2006 and appeared in the September-October Jazz & Blues Report (issue 286). I may have received this directly from Shout Factory or from the publication. Reviews of the other two compilations will run in the next couple weeks. I have made some stylistic changes. I should point out that a  number of the Black Top recordings are available in reissue and you might want to check collector's choice music as well as other websites.

Shout Factory has been reissuing product from the catalog of the Black Top label, arguably the label that from the mid-eighties through its demise in the nineties, had the strongest catalog of blues releases in that period. Earlier releases included the discs of Solomon Burke, and a Hubert Sumlin one. Three new releases are “Best of” collections centered on three of the label’s artists that do include recordings these performers made for other labels.

It was ironic that I received, Blast Off -- The Best Of Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets, the day word that Sam Myers, the great Mississippi vocalist had passed away. It is odd that this reissue does not mention featuring Sam Myers who appeared on most of the Rockets discs after Myers joined Anson and his varying line-up over the years, especially since the band took off as one of the preeminent blues bands after Myers became featured. 

The above is not to say that the band was shabby with the original vocalist Darrell Nulisch who certainly turns in an amiable performance on Earl King’s Come On, but a younger Nulisch simply had not developed the authority that Myers brought with his singing and harp as evident on A Man Needs His Loving, Moose John Walker’s Ramblin’ Woman or Buddy Guy’s reworking of Barrett Strong’s Money, $100 Bill. Additionally Myers brought his considerable harp talent to the recordings and live dates. Anson himself displays his sizzling playing as well as his impeccable taste, and is featured on Down at JJ’s. While the backing personnel changed over the years, they remained a tight, swinging outfit. 

There are numerous pleasures to be heard on all 17 selections which is compiled from all nine Rockets recordings, including selections from the two Bullseye Blues albums and the two with Nulisch and one certainly hopes that at least a few of the Rockets CDs featuring Sam Myers including Sins, Rack ‘Em Up, and Tell Me What I Want to Hear, are issued in their entirety. 

Here is a video clip of Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets featuring the late legend, Sam Myers.

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