Luke Jordan

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Luke Jordan
The only known photograph of Luke Jordan. Lynchburg, 1940's[1]
The only known photograph of Luke Jordan. Lynchburg, 1940's[1]
Background information
BornJanuary 28, 1892[2] or November 1893[3]
Lynchburg, Virginia or
Bluefield, West Virginia or
Appomattox County, Virginia, United States
DiedJune 25, 1952 (aged 58 or 60)
Lynchburg, Virginia, United States
Years active1920s - 1939 or 1940s[4]
LabelsVictor Records

Luke Jordan (January 28, 1892 or November 1893 – June 25, 1952) was an American blues guitarist and vocalist of some renown, particularly in the area of his home, in Lynchburg, Virginia.


Sources conflict on Jordan's birthplace. Some sources list his birthplace as Appomattox County, Virginia, or Bluefield, West Virginia.[5] According to his World War I draft registration card, Jordan was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. At the time of his registration on June 5, 1917, he was living in Bluefield and worked as a delivery boy and janitor.[6] Jordan's gravestone mentions that he served in the "7th Development Battalion" during the war.[7]

His professional career started at age 35, when he was noticed by Victor Records. He went to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1927 and made several records. The records sold moderately well, and Victor decided to take Jordan to New York in 1929 for two more sessions. He recorded few known tracks in his career. In comparison with the harsh voices of many contemporary Delta blues musicians, Jordan sang in a smooth and relaxed tenor. During the Great Depression, Jordan stayed in Lynchburg, and was often found playing by the local shoe factory. By the 1940s, Jordan had lost his voice, and had stopped singing.[1]

According to a second draft registration card filled out on April 27, 1942 for World War II, Jordan was living in Lynchburg, and was unemployed.[8][9] Jordan was known in his early years to be a cocaine addict, and in later life as a heavy alcoholic who was unable to hold down steady employment.[1][5][10]

He died in Lynchburg in June 1952.[11] His gravestone lies at Forest Hill Burial Park, in Lynchburg, Virginia.[7]

His song "Church Bells Blues" was later recorded by Ralph Willis.[12] It was also recorded by David Bromberg as a medley with Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues".

Known recordings[edit]

Recorded August 16, 1927, Charlotte, North Carolina[edit]

  • 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 November 18, 1929, New York City[edit]

  • 57703-1. "My Gal's Done Quit Me." Vi V38564
  • 57704-3. "Won't You Be Kind?" Vi V38564

Recorded November 19, 1929, New York City[edit]

  • 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[13]


  1. ^ a b c Kent, Don (1992). 78 Quarterly (Issue 7 ed.). p. 72.
  2. ^ "Luke Jordan: Photos". Find a Grave. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  3. ^ Eagle, Bob L.; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues: A Regional Experience. ABC-CLIO. p. 473. ISBN 9780313344244.
  4. ^ "Luke Jordan, Blues Pioneer". Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Kip Lornell (2015-01-13). Virginia's Blues, Country & Gospel Records 1902-1943: An Annotated Discography. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 9780813161549. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  6. ^ "Luke Jordan Draft Registration Card". 1917-05-06. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  7. ^ a b "Luke Jordan Gravestone". Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  8. ^ "Luke Jordan WW2 Draft Registration Card, Page 1". 1942-04-27. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  9. ^ "Luke Jordan WW2 Draft Registration Card, Page 2". 1942-04-27. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  10. ^ Bruce Bastin (1995). Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast. University of Illinois Press. p. 296. Retrieved 2016-10-05. luke jordan virginia.
  11. ^ Doc Rock. "The 50s and Earlier". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  12. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. p. 190. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
  13. ^ Stefan Wirz. "Illustrated Luke Jordan discography". Retrieved 2015-09-07.