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I don't see how anyone could live that long inhaling all that rust - Rev. Gary Davis concerned about Sonny Terry's health, Oh, What a Beautiful City

Author Topic: Luke Jordan  (Read 5955 times)

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Offline Stefan Wirz

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Luke Jordan
« on: December 30, 2004, 11:55:54 AM »
just added a Luke Jordan discography to my site at http://www.wirz.de/music/jordanl.htm
Any additions to the list of covers of 'Church Bell(s) Blues', 'Pick Poor Robin Clean', 'Won't You Be Kind' and 'Cocaine Blues' (I just noticed that I forgot Geeshie Wiley & Elvie Thomas, but that makes me think LJ might not be the inventor of 'Poor Robin...' ?!?) ???
Any thoughts welcome ...
Stefan

Offline Slack

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2004, 01:27:37 PM »
Hi Stefan, you do a fabulous job - just blows me away.

In your list of covers don't forget Dick Justice, Pick Poor Robin Clean, Cocaine Blues and others (or is it LJ doing covers of DJ's songs? ;) )

cheers,
slack

Offline Stefan Wirz

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2005, 12:07:47 PM »
Slack - thanks for the reminder - there's always something to learn here and that's a pleasure !
Meanwhile I added Dick Justice info (and a few other things) to the discography.
Happy New Year !!!
Stefan

Offline Stefan Wirz

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2005, 10:42:53 AM »
latest addition to my Luke Jordan discography: A scan of the only known photo of the man (and a few label shots):

from Don Kent article in 78 Quarterly 5 (1992) (photo by Henry Smith)

Offline Johnm

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2005, 12:18:26 PM »
Thanks so much, Stefan, for posting the photo of Luke Jordan.  It is great to be able to match up the voice that sang "Church Bell Blues" with a physical appearance.
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2005, 01:53:54 PM »
That's great! I didn't know a photo existed.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2006, 02:42:40 PM »
Hi all,
One of the real high points of the new Yazoo set, "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of", for me, is Luke Jordan's performance of "If I Call You Mama" (which should probably be titled, "If I Call You, Mama").  At the time Document put out "The Songster Tradition", which had all the Luke Jordan titles which had been found at that point, they included a note in the discography, "2 titles by Luke Jordan remain undiscovered (If I Call You Mama, Tom Brown Sits In His Prison Cell).".  Some time in the years following that release the titles were found, because they were re-issued on "Too Late, Too Late, Vol. 8".  I have "The Songster Tradition" but not the "Too Late, Too Late" set, so I had never heard "If I Call You Mama" before.
It is a terrific piece, both instrumentally and vocally, and a very clean copy, by the way.  The guitar is played in E, standard tuning, and is working a good bit of the same territory as "Church Bell Blues", but if anything, is more varied, and groovier.  Luke makes ample use of the E9sus4 chord, which can also be expressed as D/E (which in fact is how Luke fingered it) and which creates a sort of super-suspended sound before resolving to the IV chord A.  The use of that chord makes for a pretty exotic sounding intro, until the tonality of the song is clearly established.  The playing on this one is really masterful, with beautiful slippery timing and hyper-controlled bends.  It is so great the way that Luke Jordan's sneaky way with a vocal carried on over into his guitar-playing.
Luke's singing on this one is just a treat.  Of course, it never hurts to have a vocal instrument like his--wonderfully personal and instantly identifiable tone and phrasing.  Luke Jordan could do no wrong musically, as far as I'm concerned.  Check this one out, if you've not had a chance to hear it before.  It's really worth the price of admission.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: April 17, 2006, 12:13:35 PM by Johnm »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2006, 01:39:47 PM »
Some time in the years following that release the titles were found, because they were re-issued on "Too Late, Too Late, Vol. 8".  I have "The Songster Tradition" but not the "Too Late, Too Late" set, so I had never heard "If I Call You Mama" before
Just on a point of historical information, a vinyl acetate containing If I Call You Mama & Tom Brown Sits In His Prison Cell was discovered in the early 1990s at the RCA/EMI warehouse in Hayes, Middlesex, UK. It had probably been there since the mid 60s from a time when RCA in the UK were madly issuing EP & LPs of pre-war Victor blues material. Permission was gained to make them available on a CD accompanying the fortnightly magazine The Blues Collection (East Coast Blues, issue 84, 1996). Details of this CD can be found on Stefan's Luke Jordan page. Document promptly "helped themselves" to the two songs from that. I've yet to buy this Yazoo CD, do they give the source of their copy?
« Last Edit: April 16, 2006, 11:05:30 PM by Bunker Hill »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2006, 11:54:42 AM »
Hi Bunker Hill,
Thanks very much for the additional information on how "If I Call You Mama" and "Tom Brown Sits In His Prison Cell" (which I have still not heard yet) were discovered.  One of the minor frustrations I have with "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of" is that while Richard Nevins' notes talk about collecting and collectors in some detail, focusing especially on the "collector personality", the notes are silent as the tomb with regard to where the records included on the set were discovered and who has them now. 
I am not so concerned with who owns the records now, and in the case of something like the two Son House titles, I can see why the owner would not want the fact that he had the record publicized, but it would be nice to know the circumstances in which the records were found.  My favorite piece of this type is the one Gayle Dean Wardlow wrote as an appendix to the Charlie Patton Revenant set, in which he described the circumstances and locations of the discovery of very many of the surviving Patton records.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2006, 12:20:33 PM »
Thanks very much for the additional information on how "If I Call You Mama" and "Tom Brown Sits In His Prison Cell" (which I have still not heard yet) were discovered.  One of the minor frustrations I have with "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of" is that while Richard Nevins' notes talk about collecting and collectors in some detail, focusing especially on the "collector personality", the notes are silent as the tomb with regard to where the records included on the set were discovered and who has them now. 
Hey, hold the front page. I've just unearthed the issue of Blues Collection magazine and Tony Russell states "The original 78 is exceedingly rare and this first-ever resissue is from the only known copy". So the tale that was circulating at the time of the discovery (but definitely at Hayes) perhaps got garbled in the retelling or, for whatever reason, a smoke screen.

Offline MTJ3

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2006, 12:48:31 PM »
"Victor's sales figures for their black artists are also revealing. Here, writers and dealers often go to the opposite extreme, claiming great rarity for all such issues. In fact, many race issues sold fairly well, especially for artists with some crossover appeal to white buyers. On average, Victor's most popular race releases sold in the 20,000-30,000 range, a respectable showing for the period. Jelly Roll Morton's 'Black Bottom Stomp' (Victor 20221) sold 22,627 copies; the Memphis Jug Band's 'Stingy Woman Blues' (Victor 20552) and 'Newport News Blues' (Victor 20576) sold 26,454 and 19,943 copies, respectively.

Lesser-known blues singers with small regional followings fared poorly, however, and their records are truly rare. Luke Jordan's 'Pick Poor Robin Clean' (Victor 20957) sold only 5,973 copies...By the time the Depression was in full swing, many Victor race releases were selling only a few hundred copies, while surving (sic) Gennett sales figures show some late Champion releases selling in the two-digit range."  (Emphasis added.)

Allan Sutton, "The 'Million Seller' Fallacy: A Reappraisal of 1920s Record Sales."
http://www.mainspringpress.com/millions.html
« Last Edit: April 17, 2006, 12:54:15 PM by MTJ3 »

Offline btasoundsradio

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2006, 11:06:10 AM »
It's a strange thought to think that Geeshie Wiley might've owned a copy of that record.
Charlie is the Father, Son is the Son, Willie is the Holy Ghost

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2006, 11:56:35 AM »
It's a strange thought to think that Geeshie Wiley might've owned a copy of that record.
Paul Oliver in his 1970 notes to a Blues Classics Ralph Willis LP (see Stefan's Jordan page) speculates that Willis's 1950 recording of Church Bells may have been as a result of either having owned the 78 or learning it from Jordan.

mississippijohnhurt1928

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Luke Jordan
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2007, 07:26:13 PM »
Now, I've heard a few Luke Jordan recordings but I haven't found any albums of his.


Can anyone tell me if they know of any compilations of Luke Jordan? Or did he not make many records.

mississippijohnhurt1928

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2007, 07:27:25 PM »
I've found a discography on the generally unreliable Wikipedia, can anyone verify it?

Recorded Tuesday, August 16, 1927, Charlotte, NC

39819-1. "Church Bells Blues." Victor unissued

39819-2. "Church Bells Blues." Vi 21076

39820-1. "Pick Poor Robin Clean." Victor unissued

39820-2. "Pick Poor Robin Clean." Vi 20957

39821-2. "Cocaine Blues." Vi 21076

39822-1. "Traveling Coon." Vi 20957

Recorded Monday, November 18, 1929, New York City

57703-1. "My Gal's Done Quit Me." Vi V38564

57704-3. "Won't You Be Kind?" Vi V38564

Recorded Tuesday, November 19, 1929, New York City

57705- . "If I Call You Mama." Vi 23400

57706-2. "Look Up, Look Down." Victor unissued

57707- . "Tom Brown Sits in His Prison Cell." Vi 23400

57708-2. "That's A Plenty." Victor unissued

mississippijohnhurt1928

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2007, 07:31:12 PM »
And this website supplies a good modern album discography.


Well, I suppose I've answered my own question haven't I?

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2007, 11:48:26 PM »
Well done. It's always a wise plan to check the TAGS first under either the artist name or what's listed in discographies. That's what it's been designed for. :)


eddie

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2007, 02:21:16 AM »
Lukes recordings appear, amongst other places I'm sure, on a Document 3 cd set -
"Never let the Same Bee Sting You Twice"

LoneWolf

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2007, 08:32:36 AM »
I have his complete recordings, absolutley one of my favorites. A great, unique songwriter, and I love that relaxed singing. There is a discography on Stefan Wirz's site.

mississippijohnhurt1928

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2007, 09:41:27 AM »
Lukes recordings appear, amongst other places I'm sure, on a Document 3 cd set -
"Never let the Same Bee Sting You Twice"

Wonderful, I'm definitely using the money I have on that set!

mississippijohnhurt1928

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2007, 09:42:39 AM »
Shoot! I'm about 7 bucks under what I need to purchase it, I'll find some way to earn that money!

Offline Richard

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2007, 09:46:13 AM »
You'll have to get a couple of paid gigs ;)
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Johnm

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2007, 01:20:58 PM »
Hi all,
I just thought it made sense to merge Calvin's new Luke Jordan thread with the earlier one that Stefan started.  Good detective work, by the way, Calvin.  It is really great to have that one picture of Luke Jordan.
all best,
Johnm

Offline Rivers

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2007, 06:04:47 PM »
Calvin, I can confirm that discography you posted is correct according to the bible, Dixon Godrich & Rye.

mississippijohnhurt1928

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2007, 08:22:35 PM »
God dang it I want that book!!!!!!

Offline Richard

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2007, 06:45:53 AM »
Few more gigs yet then  ;D
(That's enough of that. Ed)

tommersl

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Re: Luke Jordan
« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2007, 02:28:18 PM »
One of my best purchases ever is the Document 3cd set. If I had to compile a list of essentials it's there.

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