Johnny Gordon – Blacksmith Blues (1998)

FrontCover1This is not only the story of the New Orleans piano player Johnny Gordon, but also the story of the legendary Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, Bourbon Street, New Orleans:

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop — built between 1722 and 1732 by Nicolas Touze, is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States. In 1722, further building is recorded by a realty transfer set down by one Don Andres Almonester. The structure and fence are in the old French Provincial Louis XV or Briquette-Entre-Poteauxe style used in French Louisiana. The building escaped two great fires at the turn of the 19th Century, due to slate roofing. Such slates are presently used by artists as canvases. Between 1772 and 1791, the property is believed to have been used by the Lafitte Brothers, Jean and Pierre as a New Orleans base for their Barataria smuggling operation.

BlackmsithShop01The legend is based on the fact that the property was owned by the family of Simon Duroche a.k.a. Castillon and the wily privateer Captain Rene Beluche. Castillon was a rather record-shy adventurer and entrepreneur. Captain Beluche commanded his ship “Spy” in Lafitte’s Baratarian fleet. Although the owners of the property, Jean Baptiste Dominica Joly LaPorte probably lived on the premises, it is within reason that the Lafittes could have used the place as city base for negotiations with potential buyers of their goods. It is unlikely that a wealthy Creole would agree to meet at home on Royal Street. Bourbon and St. Phillip was probably regarded as a safe and convenient neutral ground. Like most New Orleans legends, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is a gumbo of truth and French, Spanish, African, Cajun and American embellishments.

Booklet03AAnd Johnny Gordon played for many, many years in this legendary club:

Immersed in the New Orleans music culture of Blues, Jazz and Rock & Roll Johnny Gordon played piano by ear at the age of six. Growing up in the famous 9th Ward Of New Orleansm an area rich in Irish, French, African, Spanish and German culture, Johnny pursued formal piano training whil still in school.

After as brief stint in the shipping business he begann playing piano professionally performing at famous locations in New York, Chicago and New Orleans. Johnny has performed with many of the better known legends of music in New Orleans. The essence of his performance is original keyboards technique, a rich, genuine voice and a lively and engaging presence.

Recorded live at Lafitte´s Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon Street, these renditions of traditional and nostalgic music entertain and delight audiences the world over.

JohnnyGordon2Lesley Vance´s vocal career started in the local Memphis club scene with performances on the legendary Beale Street.
She has fallen in love with New Orleans. When she begann working as a waitress at Lafitte´s Blackmsith Shop, the first nicht on the job found her singing with Johnny Gordon. Now a popular fixture at Lafitte´s, Lesley is known as the “Singing Waitress”. (maybe you would like to visit her facebook-site)

You will find some clips with Johnny Gordon on youtube and some comments of his 2nd wife Deanna Reeder:

“Haven’t been here in a long time but wanted everyone to know that Johnny died March 3, 2008 of complications from Alzheimer’s. He was 70 years old. I brought him back to New Orleans and his funeral mass was at Our Lady of Guadalupe on Rampart St. Afterward, there was a second line and jazz band to Lafitte’s for a time of remembering Johnny. He remained lovable and loving up to the end when he died in my arms. God bless you Johnny. I will always love you. Deanna”

Listen to the magic sound if New Orleans ! I guess, this is the first and last album by Johnny Gordon.

Recorded live at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Johnny Gordon( vocals, piano)
Lesley Vance (vocals)

01. Bourbon Street Parade (Barbarin) 1.58
02. I’m A Woman (Leiber/Stoller) 2.58
03. St. James Infirmary (Mills) 2.49
04. That’s Life (Gordon/Thompson) 2.44
05. Just A Gigolo (Brammer/Casucci/Caesar) 2.29
06. After Hours Blues (Bruce/Parrish/Feyne) 3.37
07. Personality (Price/Logan) 1.32
08. Fever (Davenport/Cooley) 3.34
09. What A Wonderful World (Weiss/Thiele) 2.09
10. Come To The Mardi Gras (Toussaint) 2.16
11. Big Spender (Fields/Coleman) 1.58
12. House Of The Rising Sun (Traditional/Price)) 2.53
13. Just A Closer Walk With Thee (Traditional) 3.59
14. (You’ve Lost That) Lovin Feeling (Weill/Mann/Spector) 4.19
15. Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans (Alter/DeLange) 2.58