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Les (Carrot Top) Anderson
Born:  February 20, 1921
Died:  October 4, 2001
NorthWest Western Swing Music Society (1991)
Western Swing Society Hall of Fame (1990)
Town Hall Party

About The Artist

"Carrot Top" was one of the featured acts on the Town Hall Party that originated in Compton, California. He was also a star performer with many top name bands in the Western field for many years and was on many radio and television shows.

Les was set to make an appearance on KFVD in Los Angeles, California back in 1948 or so on the "Spade Cooley Time" show. A magazine took a different approach to writing an article about him. They chose to instead show up on the date Les was to appear on the show, introduced himself to the emcee of Spade's show, George Sanders and told him all he wanted to do was observer Les Anderson at work - but Les wasn't to know he was being observed.

At the time, the Spade Cooley Time show aired from 10:00pm to 2:00am. Les was due to perform at 12:00midnight. The author of the article mentioned that he had seen many artists that like to 'arrange an entrance' and considered it 'their sacred duty to hold up the show for several minutes', even if all they were doing was sitting outside the studio in a car and just wait until they were due on the air. Les on the other hand got his guitar and was in the studio well over an hour before his scheduled time.

Now the author of the article mentions that he got holed up in Studio "B" with Les, and Ernie Howard and they proceeded to have a bit of a picking session among themselves with that guitar Les had. They were having almost too good of a time as the show's emcee, George Sanders started giving them frantic gestures and Les hurriedly picked up his guitar and made it to the microphone with about a couple seconds to spare.

Les' interview with Spade Cooley lasted about 20 minutes, during which Les did four solo numbers. Since most late radio shows were usually short of help, the article author (probably the publisher of the magazine, Wm. T. Allen) got assigned to handle the switchboard during Les' appearance. Well, he said he must have answered about 75 phone calls during that appearance. Les had related how he had to live in a housing project in Wilmington, CA as he hadn't been able to find a house for his family. Well, within five minutes, the author said he had taken several offers for Les for housing.

After the interview, Les, the writer and Ernie went back to their jam session until the show ended at 2:00am. Afterwards, Les, George Sanders, Mr. & Mrs. Ernie Howard and the writer went across the street to an all-night coffee shop and stayed until 3:30am drinking loads of coffee and enjoying themselves.

It sounds like Les had a charm as such they couldn't get him to talk about himself much, but they managed to tell him about them instead. But they did learn that Les' real name was "Clelland", which was his grandfather's name. He was also called "Red" Anderson throughout his career up to when he joined Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. It seems that Bob Wills had a pet peeve of sorts that no one knew why about anyone using the name 'Red' and so "Red" Anderson became known as "Les" Anderson on the steel guitar. But when "Les" left Bob Wills' group in 1946, the name stuck with him.

Back around that time, Stuart Hamblen had a horse named "El Lobo". The author of the article we found discovered that Les was the one that had broken the colt for Stuart.

Many times you'll hear the "show must go on" in the entertainment business. Les seemed to follow that credo too. The story we found related an incident where his two year old son, David, had been run over by a car just a couple hours before his appearance on KFVD on Spade Cooley Time. The child was uninjured thankfully. And even more, Les got pulled over in a police blockade on the way to the show and was nearly booked because he was a 'suspicious character'.

In late 1948, early 1949, Les was appearing as a featured soloist and steel guitarist in Spade Cooley's Western Varieties Show. He was also signed by EXCLUSIVE records at the time who purchased sevearl masters made by Les a few years earlier and released a couple of them - "And I Shook" with "This Is Southland". They said an upcomning release would be "Together Forever" with "What A Wreck".

Credits & Sources

  • Jenks "Tex" Carman's All Star Western Song Collection"; M.M. Cole Publishing Co.; Chicago, IL; 1955.
  • Jamboree Magazine; January 1949; Ventura, CA.

Appearance History This Month

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Ace Hi Hits
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  5005 A Our Honeymoon (w/The Ranch Boys)
  5005 B Don't Let The Stars (Get In Your Eyes) (w/The Ranch Boys)
  5006 A Older And Bolder (w/The Ranch Boys)
  5006 B Midnight (w/The Ranch Boys)
  5007 A I'm An Old, Old Man (w/The Ranch Boys)
  5007 B I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive (w/The Ranch Boys)
  5009 A I'll Go On Alone (w/The Ranch Boys
  5009 B All That I'm Asking Is Sympathy (w/The Ranch Boys)
  5010 A No Help Wanted (w/The Ranch Boys)
  5010 B Kaw-Liga (w/The Ranch Boys)
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  CRS 1107 A Sueen Of The Saddle (w/Johnny Reeves and his Homesteaders)
  CRS 1107 B Storeroom Of My Mind (w/Johnny Reeves and his Homesteaders)
  CRS 1108 A My Baby Buckaroo
  CRS 1108 B He's Just A Hobo
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1-A-45 A Johnny Sorrow
  1-B-45 B Brenda Lee
Crossfire Records
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  46250 A New Panhandle Rag
  46250 B Teardrops On The Roses
  46259 A Trouble Then Satisfaction
  46259 B Blue Light Boogie
  46303 A Just Like Two Drops Of Water (w/Noel Boggs and the Dudes)
  46303 B I Was Sorta Wonderin' (w/Noel Boggs and the Dudes)
  46326 A T-U-Tucky-Y (w/Noel Boggs and the Dudes)
  46326 B Las Vegas,Nevada (w/Noel Boggs and the Dudes)
  46352 A Dimples Or Dumplin's
  46352 B My Baby Buckaroo
  46370 A Tennessee Moon
  46370 B She's Dynamite In Blue Dungarees
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  57x A And I Shook
  57x B This Is Southland
LaMarr's Star Records
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1003 A Song Of The Lonesome Prairie
  1003 B Other Side By Ole Rasmussen
  1004 A Sun Sets Gold
  1004 B Sad But True
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  119 A Johnny Sorrow
  119 B Brenda Lee
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  L-100-3 A Beautiful Arkansas (w/Tex Atchison and his Orchestra)
  L-101-1 B Now I Know (w/Tex Atchison and his Orchestra)
  L-102 A I Love Susie (w/Tex Atchison and his Orchestra)
  L-103-4 B Thirty Two Riverside Drive (w/Tex Atchison and his Orchestra)

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