Stan Jordan is still a (Soul) Survivor
WANT TO GO?
Stan Jordan of The Soul Survivors
WHERE: Haddad Riverfront Park
WHEN: 1:30 p.m. Saturday
TICKETS: $10 INFO: 253-759-9490
NOTE: THIS IS A NEW SHOW TIME AND LOCATION. THE SHOW WILL NOT TAKE PLACE AT THE CHARLESTON MOOSE LODGE AS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED._____
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's been a while, but Stan Jordan is coming back to Charleston, and he's happy about that.
From 1965 to 1969, Jordan was lead singer for The Soul Survivors, a Charleston-area teen R&B band. He performs Saturday night with about half of that band plus the Virginia-based band Delirious at the Charleston Moose Lodge.
Jordan, who now lives in Washington state, said, "We had players from Stonewall Jackson High School, St. Albans, Charleston High School and George Washington High School -- and this was very rare at the time. Most bands came out of just one school."
The Soul Survivors, the 65-year-old Charleston native said, had big music dreams, but they got sidetracked -- at least, his part of them did.
"I got drafted," he said.
The band continued for a few years and toured, but as happens with a lot of young bands, players moved on, were replaced or dropped out. Eventually, Jordan said, the group changed its name to the Great Pacific Express.
"Somebody else picked up the name The Soul Survivors," he added. "But I think we were the first."
It's hard to say for sure, however. Jordan's band was one of several bands with the same or a similar name that performed in the mid-to-late 1960s. The most successful was a Philadelphia-based band also founded in 1965 that scored a couple of modest radio hits and still performs occasionally.
Regardless of who came first, Jordan said the West Virginia version of The Soul Survivors had a great sound, and if things had worked out differently, it's hard to say what might have happened. But the army took him in California.
"I didn't have to go to Vietnam," he said. "I was sent to Fort Lewis and got hooked into booking all the shows for the groups going and returning from Vietnam for the whole West Coast. We entertained a lot of wounded soldiers -- and god, a lot of those guys were just torsos. They didn't have any arms or legs."
Jordan said he was told the general wanted smiles on the faces of those wounded soldiers, and he didn't care what it took.
"So we brought in top entertainers from Hollywood," he said. "We got Red Skelton, George Carlin, Earth, Wind and Fire -- people like that."
He was pretty good at his job, and after he'd served his two years, he stayed on as a civilian before moving on to a variety of jobs.
"I've performed here and there. I've been a clown. I was Daffy The Clown, and now I own a winery," he said.
Business is pretty good.
"I sell wine to China," he said. "We've got a variety we call Rock Star Red. It does pretty well."
Jordan said he and the other members of The Soul Survivors began reaching out to each other over the Internet a few years ago.
"We were stretched all over the country," he said. "We had guys in New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas and me, in Washington state."
They managed to get together, rehearsed and did a few shows for old times sake.
"Things took off," he said. "And then they died out. People got busy. Some of us were still working, but I still wanted to play."
So, he recorded a CD of cover songs called "The Bemiss," and he's out performing some.
"I've got a band I'm working with, and for Charleston, we've got like four or five members from The Soul Survivors coming out."
It's kind of a mini-reunion and maybe the chance to connect with some of the people who came out and listened to The Soul Survivors in Charleston 45 years ago. It's also a way for Jordan to give back. Part of the proceeds from the show will go toward helping children with cancer.
"I survived cancer," he said. "And this is just my way to sort of give back."
Past the show this weekend, Jordan's ambitions are modest. He thought he might bring the band out to do a show on the West Coast next year, and he's been looking into doing a small tour in China.
"The people I sell the wine to say they can arrange that, but we'll see what happens," he said. Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.