Luke Jordan
b. c.1890, possibly either Appomattox or Campbell county, Virginia, USA, d. c.1945, Lynchburg, Virginia, USA. The blues scene in pre-war Virginia was poorly documented at the time and few of its members managed to record. Post-war research by Bruce Bastin reveals that Luke Jordan was a prime-mover in the blues enclave centred around Lynchburg. It seems that he did not work outside music but relied on his talent and local fame to see him through. Victor Records discovered him in 1927 and he recorded for them in Charlotte, North Carolina, in August of that year. Jordan's records sold well enough to justify transporting him to New York for a further two sessions in November 1929. Of the total of 10 tracks that he recorded, eight saw release, although only six have been located. The extant sides present a high pitched singer given to a fast delivery backed by a niftily picked Gibson guitar. From the evidence of his records it would seem that a large part of his repertoire was made up from vaudeville songs, though the gambling song Pick Poor Robin Clean may have its roots in the folk tradition. His masterpiece was Church Bell Blues, a bravura performance forever associated with him in local tradition, while Cocaine Blues became an early ‘crossover’ when it was recorded by white bluesman Dick Justice in 1929.

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