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As we crossed over the border into unconventional America, the road, as it usually does, became a muddy lane with axle-threatening ruts and crevasses - Alan Lomax, heads out to Panola and Tunica counties

Author Topic: Pink Anderson 1969  (Read 2569 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Pink Anderson 1969
« on: March 25, 2006, 03:01:23 AM »
I was looking through a folder I had labelled as "Sing Out Blues Cuttings 1966-76" and could not resist the temptation to scan this contribution by a WC participant:

Pink Anderson, Carolina Songster
By Roy Bookbinder
(Sing Out, Vol.22 No. 3, 1973)
Down in Spartanburg, South Carolina, just thirty miles from where the late, infamous Rev. Gary Davis spent his early years, lives another legendary blues singer and guitarist ? an old time medicine show entertainer named Pink Anderson. Pink first went out on the road in 1918 with W. R. Kerr's traveling show. In 1928 in Atlanta, with his old friend Blind Simmie Dooley, he made his first recordings for Columbia Records. Two 78s were released, "Papa's 'Bout to Get Mad" and "Every Day of the Week," backed with "C.C. & O. Blues" and "Gonna Tip Out Tonight" On these four sides Pink and Simmie, with harmonizing vocals, guitars, and kazoo, have left some of the greatest "good time" blues of an era.

Blind Simmie Dooley was an older man than Pink, and their friendship began when Pink was still a boy. Simmie helped raise him, and, when Pink was still quite young, began to teach him how to play along with him on guitar. Pink and Simmie never recorded again in the 'twenties for fear that the trip back to Atlanta would be too much for Pink's aging friend. Until Pink's retirement in the mid-50's, he toured with the medicine and minstrel shows of Frank Curry, Emmet Smith, W. A. Blair, and finally with Chief Thundercloud, who only this year retired.

In 1951, Pink again recorded, the result being half an LP for Riverside. Rev. Gary Davis, then a street singer in New York City, shared the LP, now an out of print collectors item The "folk revival" created a market for blues records, and in 1961 Sam Charters, then with Prestige Records, recorded three albums of Pink Anderson.

It was from these four albums that Pink's music passed on to folk and blues singers up North. Such songs as "Travellin' Man," "Every Day of the Week," "I Got Mine," and "He's In The Jailhouse Now" were recorded by a variety of younger entertainers including Jim Kweskin, Tom Rush, Billy Faier, and Paul Geremia. Their humor and relevance has made people happy now for many years. It was Paul more than anyone who kept Pink Anderson's name alive.

(It may be true that Pink Anderson did not write many of the songs he recorded, but I feel that anyone who recorded songs learned from his LPs owes him royalties, since Pink is the one who made the songs available to us. Paul has paid Pink for the use of his songs, and I hope others will too.)

Paul introduced me to Pink's music, and in 1969 1 decided to find out if Pink was still alive. Twenty-five hours of driving and a brief search of the Spartanburg phone directory later, I found myself sitting on Pink Anderson's front porch singing "Travelin' Man" to some of the neighbor's kids. Pink came down Carpenter Street, and when he heard the music he just stopped. I looked up at the tall, fragile-looking man before me, and I stopped, too. Pink couldn't believe that I was playing that song, and I couldn't believe that Pink Anderson was really listening to me play it.

When I returned home I sent Pink two of the Prestige LPs which they had never even bothered to tell him were released. Soon Pink was beginning to play music again, although hesitantly. When Tom Hartmann and I were down in Spartanburg in April of this year, Pink was remembering a lot of old songs and writing some new ones though his playing was still weak. In June, Paul Geremia returned North with a tape that showed Pink was once again in good form. This led to Pink Anderson's first gig in almost 20 years ? his first since retiring from Thundercloud's medicine show! Dan Prentice, a friend of Paul's who runs a music club called Salt in Newport, R.I., heard the tapes and drove down to South Carolina with Paul to get him.

Pink was very calm about the whole thing, but on the first night, with a packed house of anxious people, newspapermen and photographers, we could sense his excitement, Pink took the stage and with his guitar behind him began; he did a trick with his hat and went into a twenty minute monologue of hard luck jokes and stories that can't be described. Pink never once cracked a smile, and the audience ate it up. Music followed, and Pink's voice was strong and clear, his guitar playing snappy and loud, and the audience response kept him going for an hour.

The next day, Pink read the article in the Providence Journal and looked at his pictures in the paper.

"What?ll folks back home say about that" I asked him.

"They?ll bite their heads off," he answered, "they surely will"

AX17609

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Re: Pink Anderson 1969
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2006, 02:10:48 PM »
thanks Bunker  that was good reading

 AX

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Pink Anderson 1969
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2006, 11:47:12 PM »
I guess the person who should really be thanked is the writer, I just did the excavating! :)

In the meantime don't forget this http://www.wirz.de/music/andepfrm.htm

Offline Zoharbareket

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Re: Pink Anderson 1969
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2014, 06:18:38 AM »
great article,

Pink's playing is out-of-this-world cool!

just discovered him recently and its fun to dig up this lovely article here!

Thanks WC!

Z

Offline CF

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Re: Pink Anderson 1969
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2014, 03:13:47 PM »
Thanks Alan, that was great
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Pink Anderson 1969
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2014, 07:48:06 PM »
Great article by Roy. I got to see Pink when Roy brought him to NY to do a concert at Izzy Young's Folklore center 1 flight up on 6th ave. between 4th st. and Bleecker and right at the dead end of W.3st. I seem to remember shaking his hand too. I do his versions of Greasy Greens and he's in the Jailhouse now, both learned from that much treasured Riverside Album.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Pink Anderson 1969
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2014, 10:03:50 PM »
Astonishing what gets "rediscovered" on Weenie after a lull of 8 years.  :o

Offline oddenda

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Re: Pink Anderson 1969
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2014, 01:24:32 AM »
Was at that concert at Izzy's and met JoAnn Kelly. Took her out afterwards to hear Bobby "Blue" Bland (w. Mel Brown and Wayne Bennett in the band)... she loved it! JoAnn was working with Nick Perls/Blue Goose at that time and when I took her back to Nick's brownstone, she pinched a Yazoo t-shirt for me. Nick would have been to cheap to give me one!! At that gig, Pink was "on" and quite functional - way more than when I tried to record him a few years before. Roy told me that Pink was hit-or-miss on that, his last "tour". Those were the days!

peter b.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 01:25:44 AM by oddenda »

Offline Zoharbareket

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Re: Pink Anderson 1969
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2014, 01:44:56 AM »
You recorded Pink Anderson?!! :o

Jeez, that's just about as cool as it gets!

It was only a decade after this gig that I came up for air....

Hats off to you Sir.

Z

Offline oddenda

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Re: Pink Anderson 1969
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2014, 08:40:17 PM »
Z-

          I tried to record Pink, but he just couldn't do it - he wanted to record so badly, and Peg Leg Sam tried to help out, but to no useful avail. He must have had some recovery from the stroke(s) by the time Roy took him on his last go-round.I was able to hear him play "She Knows How to Stretch It" at Izzy's!

          My/our first meeting with Pink wasn't all that auspicious as we were guided to his house by a police car! The library was closed by the time we arrived in Spartanburg and so access to a city directory was limited to the cop shop. They insisted on taking us there - Pink's girl friend, Squeeky, came to the door and denied that Pink was around. She did give us directions to Baby tate's place around a corner or two and that was the beginning of a decade's work.

          Tate did see Blake as a child and did many of his tunes: he knew Willie Walker after moving to Greenville with his parents. Even in 1970, Tate was totally in awe of Walker's ability and my cassette of the two issued sides opened up the flood-gates! He would not tackle Walker material as he was so in awe. Remember, Willie Walker was the only guitarist that Gary Davis had lots of positive things to say about! Blake was "O.K." on record in Gary's estimation, but Walker was admired by him (probably grudgingly). As Tate said, Walker could play in all the keys with all his fingers - he had a good voice and swung like hell!!

Peter B.

Offline Zoharbareket

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Re: Pink Anderson 1969
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2014, 09:44:05 AM »
Wow,  great story!

Thanks peter.

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