Biography:Lon Jordan

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LON JORDAN. Very little information is available about Lon Jordan, a fiddler from Farmington, Arkansas, who was visited on several occasions, in October and November, 1941, and January, 1942, by folklorist Vance Randolph (1892-1980). Randolph recorded over forty different songs and fiddle tunes from Jordan for the Library of Congress, on a borrowed tape machine, having received a commission from the LOC to document aspects of Ozark folklife and culture in the early 1940's. The fiddler was thought to have been around age 65 at the time, and there is a photograph of him (taken by Randolph) in Beisswenger and McCann's Ozarks Fiddle Tunes (2008, p. 85), playing the fiddle in the 'old-time' way, tucked into his chest with his bow hand half-way up the stick. Beisswenger states that "we know he won a number of fiddle contests and played for dances all over Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. He stated at one time that he could play nearly 200 tunes." In addition, he played guitar--Randolph recorded him playing the instrument for the song "Make me a pallet on the floor," and he backed Randolph's recordings of banjo player Booth Campbell on the instrument). Randolph also collected a number of folktales and bits of folklore, some bawdy (see Randolph's Blow the Candle Out, 1992). If he was around age 65 in 1941, then his birthdate would be 1876. There is a record of an Orlando Frances "Uncle Lon" Jordan at a family heritage site, born in Arkansas with a birthdate of around 1874, but no other information is available to verify that it is the same person.