The first time I saw Alvin "Little Pink" Anderson was on June 6 of this year at The Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis, where Little Pink opened for Roy Book Binder. At that show, I heard Little Pink display the acoustic side of his musical talents. During that show he presented songs that were reflective of his youth growing up under the tutelage of his father, Pink Anderson, the man credited as one of the pioneers of the Piedmont blues style. The elder Anderson provided young Alvin with the tools necessary to perform the blues literally at his father's feet, as Little Pink traveled with his performing father after the untimely deaths of both his mother and step mother.
On Saturday night at my favorite blues venue in South Florida, The BamBoo Room, I got to see and hear another side of Little Pink Anderson; Little Pink the electric bluesman. Backed by Al Shaver (drums), Sam Eakins (guitar) and Bill "Stick" Stichnoth (bass) from Greenville, South Carolina, Little Pink proved himself to be a formidable bluesman and guitarist in the electric blues genre. I was impressed by how together the band was as they moved through their first 90-minute set. Talking with the band later, I was stunned to find out that thus was only the second time the group had played together publicly (the first time was on Friday night) and that they only had three rehearsals before making the trip to Lake Worth for the two night show at The BamBoo Room. I also found out that the three musicians baking up Little Pink have been playing together for several months, backing up other performers and working under the band name "Mr. Ridiculous."
From the opening bass line for "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" was hammered out by "Stick" Stichnoth, it was clear that Little Pink and his band were there to have a good time and to make sure that everyone in attendance had a good time along with them. Sam Eakins and Little Pink traded guitar licks all night long, with Shaver and Stichnoth laying down a solid backbeat. Anderson alternated between using a guitar pick and picking the strings with his thumb and fingers in the style of his admitted influence, Albert "The Iceman" Collins. Not surprisingly, Little Pink's sound was at times reminiscent of the guitar work of The Iceman as he moved through a set of original and cover material.
While the evening offered many highlights, I particularly enjoyed "The Truth Hurts," where, early on, Sam Eakins demonstrated his capabilities a quality guitarist; "Five Long Years," featuring a snapping guitar solo by Little Pink in the Albert Collins' style; "Your Too Dressed Up To Go Bowling" and "Dirty Old Man," both guitar-filled originals; and a fantastic version of "Stormy Monday," with Anderson and Eakins going toe-to-toe, trading guitar riffs back and forth throughout the song.
Despite a small crowd at The BamBoo Room, it was clear that everyone, band and audience, had a great time. Little Pink and his band commented on what a great venue The BamBoo Room was and how much fun they had playing together. It was too bad that they couldn't have played for a larger crowd.
Little Pink Anderson is an excellent musician with a broad range of talent in multiple blues genres. Hopefully, his talents will continue to receive greater recognition and that he will be rewarded with a recording contract and more appearances nationally both as an acoustic and electric blues artist. In either form, he is definitely a talent worth seeing.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.