Blues legend Sam Myers passed away July 17th in Dallas after a long and valiant battle against throat cancer. He was 70. An award winning harmonica player and vocalist, Myers spent the last 20 years performing and recording with Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets. They were considered one of the top 3 Blues bands in the world, and toured extensively throughout North America and Europe.
Sam was born in Laurel, MS and attended a school for the blind where he was considered a prodigy on trumpet and drums. He began performing at an early age, and his impact was felt initially in Jackson in the late 40’s and early 50’s. He also got to spend a lot of time in Chicago, where he performed with the likes of Muddy Waters, Little Water, and Howlin’ Wolf, although he’s best remembered, as Elmore James’ drummer with whom he performed on a steady basis from 1952-1963.
While in Jackson Ms in 1956, Myers wrote and recorded his most enduring song, "Sleeping In The Ground". It’s been covered by such famous names as Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, and Steve Winwood. Sam also recorded a couple sides for the Fury label, "You Don’t Have To Go" and "Sad, Sad, Lonesome Day". During much of the 60’s and 70’s, Myers was kept busy performing on the chitlin circuit throughout the South.
It was Myers’ collaboration with guitarist extraordinaire Anson Funderburgh starting in 1986 that would bring him the international acclaim and recognition he always deserved. Their fruitful association is destined to go down in Blues history as one of the greatest partnerships ever, on a level with Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, and Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry. Sam & Anson and the Rockets put out about a dozen excellent albums, the last being 2003’s Which Way Is Texas. Prior to taking ill, Myers recorded his first entirely solo album in 2004, "Coming From The Old School". It can be ordered at the following website, www.sweetsammyers.com, and all proceeds will go to the Southwest Blues Heritage Foundation.
The entire Blues community is in shock, as Myers seemed to be making steady progress and was in good spirits, even though his larynx had been removed in early May. Tributes are pouring in from all corners of the globe, giving homage to this gentle giant whose distinctive talent was imbued with a special magnetism. Sam Myers will forever be remembered as an essential artist/performer who emerged in the 50's and went on to delight several generations of Blues fans over the ensuing decades.
Blues Heaven just got a terrific eternal addition to its chorus of juke joint angels.