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Thursday, October 6, 2011

She Knows How To Stretch It - Pink Anderson


Pinkney "Pink" Anderson (February 12, 1900 – October 12, 1974) was a blues singer and guitarist, born in Laurens, South Carolina.
After being raised in Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina, he joined Dr. Frank "Smiley" Kerr of the Indian Remedy Company in 1914 to entertain the crowds whilst Kerr tried to sell a concoction purported to have medicinal qualities.
cemetery marker for Pink Anderson in Spartanburg, SC.
Cemetery marker for Pink Anderson in Lincoln Memorial Gardens, Spartanburg, South Carolina

In 1916 in Spartanburg, Anderson met Simeon "Blind Simmie" Dooley, from whom he learned to be a blues singer, this after experience in string bands. When Anderson was not traveling with Dr. Kerr, he and Dooley would play to small gatherings in Greenville, Spartanburg, and other neighboring communities, as well as recording four tracks for Columbia Records in Atlanta in April, 1928.

After Dr. Kerr retired in 1945, Anderson stayed more close to home in Spartanburg, keeping his musical talents in tune with an old Gibson J-50 guitar and a harmonica. He still "went out" annually when he could with Leo "Chief Thundercloud" Kahdot (of the Potawatomi native Americans) and his medicine show, often with the Jonesville, South Carolina based harmonica-player Arthur "Peg Leg Sam" Jackson. In May 1950, Anderson was recorded by folklorist Paul Clayton at the Virginia State Fair. Heart problems eventually forced Anderson to retire from the road in 1957. He was once more recorded at his home in 1962 by Samuel Charters.

"Anderson went on to make some albums on his own after the blues revival commenced in the early 1960s" and played some folk clubs, "establishing him as a minor but worthy exponent of the Piedmont school, versed in blues, ragtime, and folk songs". He also appeared in the 1963 film, The Bluesmen. A stroke in the late 1960s curtailed his musical activity. Attempts by folklorist Peter B. Lowry in 1970 to get Anderson on tape were not successful, although apparently he could occasionally summon up some of his past abilities. A final tour took place in the early 1970s with the aid of Roy Book Binder, one of his "students", taking him to Boston and New York.

He died in October 1974, of a heart attack at the age of 74. He is interred at Lincoln Memorial Gardens in Spartanburg. Anderson's son, known as Little Pink Anderson (b. July 13, 1954), is currently a bluesman living in Vermillion, South Dakota
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