April 13, 2007

Another Look At Elton Anderson

"(Sorry) I'm Gonna Have To Pass" (Leiber & Stoller)
Elton Anderson, Lanor 514, 1963

Last year, I did some research on Elton Anderson for Red Kelly's fine Soul Detective blog. I really hadn't paid much attention to Anderson's work before that, being mainly familiar with his 1962 regional hit, "Life Problem" on Lanor Records, as it has been comped on numerous Swamp Pop collections; but, when Red was trying to figure out who had recorded a rockin' version of "Sick and Tired" he had on a tape, I discovered that it was the flip of side of that hit and had been recorded in New Orleans. Liking Anderson's voice and intrigued that he recorded some of his Lanor sides at Cosimo Matassa's studio, I started acquiring some of his singles, the following being my most recent find. Most of this piece on Anderson is a reworking of what I wrote for Soul Detective.

During 1956 and 1957, guitarist and vocalist Elton Anderson, from Lake Charles, LA, was regularly featured with the Sid Lawrence Band at the Southern Club in Opelousas, LA. Impressed with the singer, Wayne Shuler, who was working with his dad, Eddie, owner of Goldband Records in Lake Charles, LA, cut a record on Anderson during that time and brought it to Johnny Vincent (Imbragulio) at Ace Records, who was recording a lot of New Orleans artists, who were starting to generate some hits. Vincent released the Anderson single, "Shed So Many Tears" b/w "Roll On Train", on his new subsidiary label, Vin Records, in 1958. When that single didn't connect, Shuler approached Joe Banashak, also in New Orleans, who was just starting Valiant Records (which would soon be renamed Instant), to be followed by Minit, Alon, 7B, Bandy, and other related imprints. Banashak and Shuler partnered on the Trey label, releasing two 45's on Anderson in 1959. The second of these, "Secret Of Love" b/w "Cool Down Baby" was picked up and released nationally by Mercury Records, which was also putting out other regional Louisiana R&B/rock 'n' roll (later to be known as Swamp Pop), such as Phil Phillips' "Sea Of Love". Anderson’s "Secret Of Love" charted in 1960 and rang up good sales. But his two follow-up 45's for Mercury in 1960 and 1961 did not fare nearly as well; and the label dropped him.

Thus, around 1962, Wayne Shuler contacted Lee Lavergne, who had recently started Lanor Records in Church Point, LA, about releasing several sides by Anderson that Mercury had passed on. Since Anderson was a well-known regional artist who had a previous hit, Lavergne jumped at the chance and issued "Humpty Dumpty Heart" b/w "Don't Touch Me Baby", but to little avail. Undaunted, Lavergne next had Anderson record "Life Problem", originally done by Guitar Gable (with King Karl on vocal) for Excello in 1956.

The sessions for that single (Lanor 509) were done at Cosimo's, with Wardell Quezergue arranging; and it is probable that Mac Rebennack produced. A cover of the Chris Kenner classic, "Sick and Tired" (hear it at Soul Detective), was chosen for the other side; and the obviously top shelf studio band helped Anderson lay down a smokin' version. Although musician credits are lacking, one of my many knowledgeable correspondents, BBB, has informed me that Katie Webster played piano on the tracks.

"Life Problem" (which can also be heard at Soul Detective) became very popular locally and interested Capitol Records enough to arrange with Lanor to release it nationally, though the record ended up not doing much for them. After they tried again with another Anderson 45, Capitol lost interest; and Anderson's few remaining releases were issued on Lanor around 1963. "I'm Gonna Have to Pass" was his next record after Capitol had cut and run. It was recorded at the same venue, with Quezergue credited as 'orchestra' conductor. Typical of the many popeye style records with the the stutter-step shuffle beat that came out of the Crescent City at this time, the cut is well-played; and Anderson turns in an impressive vocal on the Leiber & Stoller composition; but there just wasn't much to distinguish the song from the many other similar sounding records of the day, I guess. When the next two singles also did not sell, Elton Anderson left Louisiana for California; and, as far as I know, did not record again.

Elton Anderson Discography

Vin 1001 “Shed So Many Tears” / “Roll On Train” – 1958
Trey 1002 “I Love You” / “Want A Come Back Home”– 1959
Trey 1011 “Secret Of Love” / “Cool Down Baby” – 1959
Mercury 71542 “Secret Of Love” / “Cool Down Baby” – 1959
Mercury 71643 “Walking Alone” / “Crying The Blues” - 1960
Mercury 71777 “Please Accept My Love” / “I Love You Cheri” -1961
Lanor 507 “Humpty Dumpty Heart” / Don’t Touch Me Baby” – 1962
Lanor 509 “Life Problem” / “Sick And Tired” – 1962
Capitol 4762 “Life Problem” / “Sick And Tired” – 1962
Capitol 4830 “Shed So Many Tears” / “That’s How It’s Been” - 1962
Lanor 514 “(Sorry) I’m Gonna Have To Pass” / “I Love You So” –1963
Lanor 516 “The Crawl Pt 1” / “The Crawl Pt 2” - 1963
Lanor 518 “Bye Bye Little Angel” / “Don’t Touch Me Baby” - 1963
Goldband GNG 107 (EP) "Shed So Man Tears" & Cool Down Baby" Elton Anderson / "Family Rules" & "The Crawl" Guitar, Jr.(Golden Nugget re-issue series - date unknown)


Blogger Red Kelly said...

Dan -

Great work! Never heard this one... very cool.

I've been meaning to update the Elton Anderson post at SD for a while with this interesting bit of information:

- In southernsoul@yahoogroups.com,
John Glassburner wrote:

"Today we'll feature Eddie Jackson and the Corinthians' THAT'S ALRIGHT. I'm very impressed with lead singer Elton Anderson on this piece. I wonder if he went on to record make other recordings?"

(Mr. Glassburner is the man who's been posting all that amazing Gospel over there)

to which I replied:

John -

"Very interesting... we've been checking into 'swamp pop' great Elton Anderson over on
soul detective for a while now, and nobody is sure what became of him. There were rumors that he took off for California some time in the late sixties. Just recently, the very cool Warren Storm told one of our detectives (backstage at last month's Fats Domino tribute) that as far as he knew, Elton passed away sometime in the early eighties...

So far we've been unable to confirm that. The fact that he may have 'crossed back over' to Gospel could account for this lack of information about him after his Lanor days. Hmmm..."

John was also kind enough to provide me with a scan of a photo from the back of the album, and I plan to put that, and the Eddie Jackson & the Corinthians track, up on SD soon.

Sorry to gum up your 'comments' like this, Dan, but I figured you'd be interested...

Thanks again! -red kelly

7:47 AM, April 15, 2007  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Red, you're not gummin' up anything. I appreciate you keeping me/us in the loop on your Anderson investigation over at SD. Look forward to hearing that gospel tune. A vocalist as good as EA could certainly have gone over to the gospel side and, thus, off the radar. See ya at Jazzfest?

8:25 AM, April 15, 2007  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

sure thing!

...I'll be the guy drinking beer in the Gospel Tent (but you already knew that!).

I'll call ya.

11:33 AM, April 15, 2007  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Yo, bro, that's sacramental beer! Call anytime. Same number.

11:28 PM, April 15, 2007  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

Ok, folks.. I've finally gotten the 'Eddie Jackson & The Corinthians' photograph and album cut up on soul detective... check it out here.


7:23 AM, April 24, 2007  
Anonymous Joey Lance said...

Ok, Red, I played with Elton several times around Port Arthur in the early 60s! I met him they Huey Meaux! Huey was a barber in Winnie, I was working on the I-10 job there. After I got out if my Army tour I found he had gone to LA. He called me a few times, then I lost touch with him. I formed a lil band in west Texas, used swamp rock songs(most were great dance songs), Matilda was our best one, requested often! Next was shed so many tears! My time playing with swamp rock bands was some of the most fun I ever had! I got along great with my coonie friends, but found a great job in the west Texas oil patch, never went back!

12:04 AM, June 19, 2016  

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