Two of the most beloved and influential figures in the R&B and blues genres, James "Pookie" Hudson of The Spaniels, and Sam Myers of Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets are battling cancer. It's beyond argument that each gentleman has positively impacted the course of music in incalculable ways. Their artistry speaks volumes, so it's no wonder that three generations of fans have thrilled to countless hours of enjoyment from their respectively productive careers extending in excess of 50 years each.
The Spaniels stand at the pinnacle of all-time great R&B groups. Their instantly identifiable sound and subtle harmonies evoke immediate responses from listeners of all ages and backgrounds. Their elevated reputation is chiefly attributable to James "Pookie" Hudson, their lead vocalist whose sublime, relaxed tenor and icy delivery was far ahead of its time. It set the gold standard for coolness with its sophisticated affability and effortless romanticism, such that Pookie's style would became the model for such future polished practitioners like Lou Rawls, Jerry Butler, and Brook Benton. Another protégé, Aaron Neville would say it best, on the back of one his albums, by thanking: "God, Nat 'King' Cole, and Pookie Hudson."
Four of the most everlasting tunes of that 50's era remain "Goodnight Sweetheart", "You Gave Me Peace Of Mind", "Baby It's You", and "Stormy Weather". A 2000 survey on R&B historian/broadcaster Marv Goldberg's website: http://home.att.net/~marvy42/index.html placed those titles as the top ones, but the breadth of The Spaniels artistry is also given resonance by 14 other wonderful songs receiving number 1 rankings from various fans that participated in the survey.
There's an insightful overview of the career of Pookie Hudson and The Spaniels was done by Billy Vera in 1992. It's featured at: http://www.doowopcaferadio.com/
Donation instructions are detailed on the same website. Those contributing at least $15 to the Pookie Hudson Cancer Treatment Fund will also receive a CD of an interview Pookie made in 2004 at the University Of New Mexico's FM station. Make your check payable to:
Thornton J. Hudson
c/o Barbara Ann Yatsko
140 LaVale Drive-Unit 711
Monroeville, PA, 15146
Please include your e-mail address, and mailing address.
Alternately, if you are not interested in the CD, you can mail your
check directly to Pookie, via:
Thornton J. Hudson
6939 Aquamarine Court
Capitol Heights, Maryland 20743
Sam Myers' throat cancer was diagnosed in March, 2005, it has kept him off the stage ever since. His latest round of treatment has left his voice very weak, but as Sam gains strength, he hopes to return to performing real soon. Let's pray for that day happening! Anson Funderburgh, meanwhile, has severely restricted his touring schedule to tend to getting Sam to treatment. The 70-year old blind vocalist and harmonica ace has an inspirational biography, and his extensive discography plus numerous award and honors are detailed at:
Sam has performed with everyone from the great Muddy Waters, to Howlin' Wolf and Little Walter. However, he's especially remembered for his significant stint as drummer for Elmore James. He's appeared on many classic Elmore songs on the Fire/Fury labels.
Pairing up with Anson Funderburgh in 1986 would bring Sam's name to the forefront, culminating in a series of award-winning releases, and acquainting a new generation of admirers with his bountiful blues shouter chops and riveting stage presence.
Before Sam's recent health issues, he recorded his first completely solo outing, titled Coming From The Old School. Sam gets 100% of the proceeds whenever this CD is ordered from his website. He has staggering medical expenses to cover, and they continue to pile up. For updates on Sam's progress, please visit his website.
Contributions are being handled through the SOUTHWEST BLUES HERITAGE FOUNDATION. Please mail your check or money order payable to:
P.O. Box 710548
Dallas, Texas 75371-0548
Please mark on the memo area of the check or money order: "SAM MYERS FUND."
Of course, both Sam and Pookie would love to read your cards, notes, and letters of well wishes, as well as your encouragements and prayers for a speedy recovery!
Joe Curtis & Gary Tate