Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets
Which Way Is Texas?
Bullseye (2003) 9619-2
13 tracks, 44 minutes.
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: September 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
It's been far too long since we've heard from Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets, but Which Way Is Texas? finds the Lone Star guitarist delivering another set of hard-driving blues with Sam Myers at his side and the Rockets hitting stride behind them. If there's one complaint to level, it's that the full-price disc seems a bit light when discussing quantity, but as we've come to expect, the quality is generally top-shelf. Anson's taut guitar work has always been immediately identifiable with tone to spare, and things don't change over the course of the baker's dozen, but seven
of the tracks were penned with the help of Anson, making this perhaps a far more personal recording than he's offered in the past. And, as if to drive that point home, Funderburgh steps up to the microphone and delivers two startling vocals; the first being One Woman I Need, a moody grinder while Toss And Turn is a funky, mid-tempo shuffle. Both border on contemporary country, due mainly to Anson's distinct drawl, but his singing is far more soulful than any of today's country crooners. Myers is in fine form vocally on ten of the disc's tracks, but sadly, his rich and textured harp turns up on less than half of the disc during Rice Miller's Tryin' To Get Back On My
Feet, Tabby Thomas' uninspiring Hoodoo Party, and the final pair, I Need To Know, and Homesick James' Crutch And Cane. Riley King's The Jungle features razor-sharp guitar over a slow and brooding groove where Myers proves he's still a powerful vocalist who hasn't lost any of the edginess he's managed throughout his lengthy career. Johnny "Big Moose" Walker gets a nod with a fine reading of Rambling Woman, complete with some tasty slide from Anson, although the album's only instrumental is the B-3 powered Going My Way, featuring Gentleman John Street, which leaves the listener wishing Anson had offered another of his jangling workouts. Wes Starr, who stepped up for Anson and Sam's first recordings (1985's My Love Is Here To Stay - Black Top) returns to the drum seat while the acoustic bass chores are split between Johnny Bradley and Eric Przygocki, both familiar names who have appeared with Johnny Moeller and Nick Curran. The Texas Horns stand in for about half of the CD, filling things out with a nice blend of sax from Mark
Kazanoff and John Mills, along with Gary Slechta's trumpet. All in all, a solid workout with a few surprises that should please fans. www.rounder.com for more info.
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