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Pink Anderson
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picture by Samuel Charters

Pinkney "Pink" Anderson (February 12, 1900 – October 12, 1974) was a blues singer and guitarist, born in Laurens, South Carolina.

Life and career

After being raised in Spartanburg (in Upstate South Carolina), he joined Dr. Kerr of the Indian Remedy Company in 1914 to entertain the crowds whilst Kerr tried to sell a concoction purported to have medicinal qualities.

In 1916 in Spartanburg, Anderson met 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 "Chief Thundercloud" (Leo Kadot) and his medicine show, often with the Jonesville, South Carolina based harmonica-player Peg Leg Sam. Heart problems eventually forced Anderson to retire from the road in 1957.

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. Anderson's son, known as Little Pink Anderson, is currently a bluesman based in Georgia.

The Pink in Pink Floyd

Syd Barrett, of English progressive rock band, Pink Floyd, came up with the band's name by juxtaposing the first names of Anderson and North Carolina bluesman, Floyd Council. He 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."

 

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