John Gordy

John Gordy

Real Name:
John Thomas Gordy
"Poppa" John Gordy (October 20, 1904 – February 5, 1961) was an American big band / dixieland jazz leader.

Born and raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, with some time based in Little Rock, Gordy had a fascination with the piano but did not make it a career for many years. He spent much of his childhood focusing attention on ragtime and New Orleans' style jazz. His brother Chester played trumpet, so there was some additional talent in the family.

In his twenties he literally followed a traditional jazz band around the country, making friends with the piano player, and occasionally sharing the seat. Gordy eventually became a fine rhythm player in both jazz and country bands of the 1930s to mid 1940s, working at hotels and even for high school dances, where there was work. He also played on a few recordings, many of which he did not receive credit so we can only guess about them. When Jim Bulleit founded his progressive Nashville label Bullet Records in 1946, Gordy came along for the ride as a session pianist for future famed artists such as Chet Atkins and Homer and Jethro (possibly including some WSM Grand Ole Opry broadcasts, since that was they studio they used), and was based in Nashville for the rest of his life.

From late 1948 to 1949, John recorded twelve sides for Bullet that would be among the last for that label. He became known as "Poppa" John during this period, and his signature Salty Dog Rag was soon covered by many country artists. Then for a time, Del Wood held the Nashville spotlight. At the urging of Atkins, Gordy, Wood and other artists migrated to RCA Victor in 1954 and 1955, once RCA set up a high tech studio in Nashville to supplant the antiquated and inadequate studios that existed up to that point in the Music City.

A number of his sides with his quintet or sextette (depending on the date) were integrated into a 1955 LP, and he recorded a second LP in 1957. A final compilation was released some time after his death in 1961.

Poppa John's style was an important link between the down home Nashville style and the more sophisticated near-jazz arrangements of Lou Busch, and like other artists such as Marvin Ash or Paul Lingle, he was woefully under-recorded.
In Groups:


John Gordy Discography


LPM-1060 John Gordy Ragtime Piano(LP, Album, Mono) RCA Victor LPM-1060 US 1955 Sell This Version
EPB 1060, EPB-1060 Poppa John Gordy* Bill Bailey(2x7", Album, EP) RCA Victor, RCA Victor EPB 1060, EPB-1060 US 1955 Sell This Version
LPM-1424 John Gordy A Night At Poppa John's(LP, Mono) RCA Victor LPM-1424 US 1957 Sell This Version
Poppa John Gordy* Bailando Charleston Con (A Night At Poppa John's) (Album) RCA Spain 1959 Sell This Version
John Gordy The Father Of Honky Tonk (Album) RCA Records US 1965 Sell This Version
CAL 862 John Gordy The Father Of Honky Tonk(LP, Album, Mono) RCA Camden CAL 862 US 1965 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

47-6035 Poppa John Gordy And His Piano* Poppa John / (Oh Suzanna) Dust Off That Old Pianna(7", Promo) RCA Victor 47-6035 US 1954 Sell This Version
47-5862 John Gordy Muskrat Ramble(7", Single) RCA Victor 47-5862 Canada 1954 Sell This Version
Poppa John Gordy* Loco Hombre (Single) RCA Victor US 1955 Sell This Version
47-6656 Poppa John Gordy And His Piano* There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight / Salty Dog Rag(7", Single) RCA Victor 47-6656 US 1956 Sell This Version
EPB-1424, EPB 1424-1 Poppa John Gordy* A Night At Poppa John's(7", EP) RCA, RCA EPB-1424, EPB 1424-1 Germany 1958 Sell This Version
Poppa John Gordy* How Come You Do Me Like You Do RCA Victor US Unknown Sell This Version
John Gordy Salty Dog Rag / Over The Waves Bullet (2) US Unknown Sell This Version
John Gordy And His Funky Five* Makin' Whoopee / If You Knew Susie Like I Know Susie RCA Victor US Unknown Sell This Version
20-6886 John Gordy And His Dixielanders* Blow Mr. Trombone(Shellac, 10") RCA 20-6886 New Zealand Unknown Sell This Version
3-20100 Poppa John Gordy* Melodias Al Piano(7", EP) RCA 3-20100 Spain Unknown Sell This Version
47-6419 John Gordy Annabelle(7", Promo) RCA Victor 47-6419 Canada Unknown Sell This Version
20-5902 John Gordy Santa Plays The Trombone / Oh Didn't He Ramble(Shellac, 10", Single, Mono) RCA Victor 20-5902 US Unknown Sell This Version
A 75 266 Poppa John Gordy* Ne Tirez Pas Sur Le Pianiste - N°1(7", EP) RCA A 75 266 France Unknown Sell This Version
47-6419 Poppa John Gordy* Annabelle / Moritat(7", Single) RCA Victor 47-6419 US Unknown Sell This Version
47-5750 John Gordy Bye Bye Blues / Isle Of Capri(7") RCA Victor 47-5750 US Unknown Sell This Version