Friday, February 12, 2010

Blues History moment for 2/12 - artist of the week: Pink Anderson

Featured Blues Moon Radio artist of the week:

Pink Anderson - born Pinkney Anderson
B: Feb. 12, 1900 in Laurens, S.C.
Raised in Spartanburg, S.C.
D: Oct. 12, 1974

Grave Location:  Lincoln Memorial Gardens, Spartanburg, South Carolina USA

Rock fans know of Pink Anderson as one half of the inspiration for the name of the seminal British progressive Blues/Rock band, Pink Floyd. Originator Syd Barrett, an early Blues aficionado combined the names of two Carolina Bluesmen - Pink Anderson and Floyd Council of N.C.

According to Wikipedia, "Barrett noticed the names in the liner notes of a 1962 Blind Boy Fuller album (Philips BBL-7512). The text, written by Paul Oliver, read: 'Curley Weaver and Fred McMullen, (...) Pink Anderson or Floyd Council - these were a few amongst the many blues singers that were to be heard in the rolling hills of the Piedmont, or meandering with the streams through the wooded valleys.'"

Of course Blues fans know that Pink Anderson is an icon of Piedmont Blues, with or without a Pink Floyd tribute. Paul Oliver, a British DJ whose historical reverence for Blues preserved much of its American heritage, recognized the importance of these Piedmont Bluesmen... and that the Carolinas were the home of so many.

It was my pleasure to meet Pink's son, Alvin Pinkney - known as Little Pink - in the early 90s. Little Pink worked with his father from a young age in the medicine shows as a dancer and learned guitar from him. Little Pink began performing music again following a visit to my USC Honors College Blues History class where I was pleased to introduce him to Freddie Vanderford, who learned harmonica under the tutelage of Peg Leg Sam - another S.C. Blues treasure. Their first gig together as the Legacy Duo was booked by me at the Art Bar in Columbia. While there is no doubt that these two musicians are singular individuals, it was as close as one could imagine to seeing and hearing the two talented old-time medicine show performers play together again.

This photo of Pink Anderson is with a boy, who is - based on his features and unmistakeably expressive face - his young son Alvin, later better known as Little Pink Anderson.

We commemorate this great Bluesman - on this, the date of his birth.

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