Sunday, September 02, 2007

Kip Anderson RIP

I found out late last week that Kip Anderson died on 29th August 2007. It was with particular sadness that I learnt of his death. I have met many soul singers but he was one artist who really touched me when I met him in Utrecht in the early Millennium. I spent an afternoon with Kip listening to his life story and later that evening I spent several hours hanging out with him backstage after his performance at the Blues Estafette in Utrecht.

I will be back with a full tribute to Kip later on this week. In the meantime, here is an obituary from the Independent Anderson, South Carolina:

ANDERSON COUNTY — Kip Anderson could tell stories about hanging out with the likes of The Beatles, Etta James and Paul McCartney. His voice had been recorded featured on more than 50 recordings. And Europe was his home for a part of his life.

But at the end of it all, he was a man from Starr — once a boy who started singing alongside his mother in a church choir.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Anderson, a leader in the regional rhythm and blues scene, died at the age of 69 at AnMed Health Medical Center in Anderson. While the exact cause of death has not been reported, family members said Mr. Anderson had suffered difficulties with his heart the past few years.

He was a man who could talk to The Beatles and reach his hand out to a homeless person on the street. Conversations with him were always upbeat and full of life, said people who knew him. But when he played — that was something unique, said Damon Downs, owner of Electric City Records.

“Kip would walk in and say, ‘Where’s the piano? Turn one on for me,’ “ Mr. Downs said. “This song would come belting out. It would send tingles up and down your spine. You knew you were hearing something special.”

Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Anderson performed at The Gray House in Starr, hosted a Sunday gospel show on WRIX-FM (103.1 FM) in Anderson, served as the vice president of Electric City Record’s gospel division and was the minister of music at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.

It was at that very church where he started his singing career. Then he sang alongside his mother, Willie Mae Anderson, who would play the piano.
But at the age of 13, the bright young man would take his talent on the road with gospel music legend Madame Edna Gallman Cooke. He would tour the country with Ms. Cooke during the summers.
His first solo recording, “I Wanna Be the Only One,” came out in 1959 during his college years at South Carolina State University.

From there he would sing with well-known rhythm and blues artists, The Drifters, Sam Cooke, Jerry Butler and Jackie Wilson. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, Mr. Anderson would travel the globe performing and meeting musicians like Paul McCartney and Etta James.

Troubled times would later bring Mr. Anderson home.

By the 1980s, he was back in Anderson County, living on family’s land in Starr. And he returned to the stage where he began — Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. For three years, Mr. Anderson has led the church’s four choirs and its musicians.

“I’m going to miss his singing and his performing on Sunday morning during worship,” said Rev. Stephon Gilliard, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church’s pastor. “He just had a way of just pulling people together.”

The reason he could do that was because of his humble nature, said Catherine Nesbitt, one of Mr. Anderson’s relatives. Mr. Anderson’s parents are both deceased. He was not married. And he was an only child. But he has several cousins, aunts and uncles.

“He was the kind of person who could talk to anybody,” Ms. Nesbitt said. “He especially had a heart for people who were homeless or downtrodden. He would employ them to do work for them around the house.

“Everybody who knew Kip loved him. We are all sad. But we know he’s in heaven, he’s with the Father.”

Funeral arrangements are being planned through the Marcus D. Brown Funeral Home.
Please also visit this tribute to Kip.
Kip Anderson RIP

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