Anson Funderburgh and The Rockets - Change in My Pocket

Anson & Sams New One

Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets featuring Sam Myers

Copyright 1999 by David M. Carrigan
Posted on Blues-L

Texas guitar player Anson Funderburgh recorded the first album ever produced for the New Orleans label, Black Top, Talk to You by Hand, in August 1981. After a 17 year run with that label this is the bands first for Bullseye. Finished in less than a week, August 25 - 30, 1998, the album was recorded at Arlyn Studios in Austin.

There are 6 originals on Change in My Pocket, 3 cowritten by Anson's wife, Renee Funderburgh. Unfortunately Renee does not sing on this album, because her vocal performance at the 98 King Biscuit Blues Festival was very well received. Four of the covers were penned by Chicago legends, "Young Fashioned Ways" (written by Willie Dixon for Muddy Waters, recorded 2/3/55); "Little Girl" (Little Walter, recorded 7/14/55); "$100 Bill" (Buddy Guy); and "What Have I Done" (Jimmy Rogers, recorded 57).

Sam Myers, "The Deacon of the Delta", now diabetic and legally blind will be 63 this year. Check out Sam's drumming for Elmore James in August 1961 on "Look on Yonder Wall" and his harp work on "Shake Your Moneymaker". These two gems are found on Rhino's recording The Sky is Crying. Sam's first recording with Anson was the Aug. '84 album My Love is Here to Stay.

Sam's harp is featured on half the tunes on Change in My Pocket, and stands out on Jimmy Roger's "What Have I Done". But the real showcase is Sam's vocal work. On "Young Fashioned Ways" Sam bemoans he may be getting old, but heck he's 63! When Muddy Waters sang this Willie Dixon tune in early 1955 the Mud wasn't quite 40 yet! Most tunes on the album are mid and up tempo shuffles and Texas swing numbers, the styles which seem to best fit Sam's unique and wonderful vocal style.

There is one instrumental, "Hula Hoop", which although written by Anson, unselfishly showcases John Street's organ playing and the "together" rhythm section of drummer Danny Cochran, who has been with Anson for 9 years, and J.P. Whitefield who wields an upright bass. Cochran's drumming can really drive a tune along, particularly on "Single Again". And while this reviewer is passing out congratulations, there's nothing quite like the sound of an upright bass.

Anson Funderburgh's guitar is another key to this fine recording. Some of Anson's stage shyness seems to have extended itself to his guitar style, he often prefers to perform in the background, weaving in and around John Street's keyboard playing. The pair make exceptional use of this ensemble style on "Highway Man" and "$100 Bill". Anson even manages to make tasteful use of the wah-wah pedal on "Ain't That Lonely".

Kudos to the engineers at Arlyn who, at the insistence of producer Funderburgh make everyone's work count. (How many times have you struggled to hear the piano player listed in the credits on a certain tune, only to realize the performance is too far down in the mix to enjoy?)

As an added bonus there is a "hidden track", unlisted, which appears after 40 seconds of silence following the end of track 12, "Things Have Changed". The tune is the band's version of Big Bill Broonzy's "Key to the Highway".