'Lone Gone' Miles (May 8, 1925 – November 23, 1987) was an American
Texas blues and electric blues singer and songwriter. He was a protégé of
Lightnin' Hopkins, and variously
recorded or performed with Lightnin'
Hopkins, Sonny Terry,
Brownie McGhee and Willie Chambers. Miles
is best known for his 1964 album, Country Born, issued on World Pacific
Life and career
Luke Miles was born in Lachute, Louisiana, United States. Interspersed by a
period serving in the United States Navy in 1943 and 1944, Miles worked on a
cotton plantation until the early 1950s, and listened to blues music on the
radio. Suitably inspired, Miles moved to Houston, Texas, in 1952, with the
single aim of meeting Lightnin' Hopkins. Miles stated, 'I went to Houston
for one reason. I went to see Lightnin’ Hopkins. That's what I went for and
that's what I did. Lightnin' Hopkins taught me just about everything about
blues singing. The first time I ever sang in front of an audience was in
1952 with Lightnin'. The first day I met Lightnin' he named me 'Long Gone' …
and I've been Long Gone Miles ever since'.
According to Ed Pearl, 'Miles appeared on Lightnin's doorstep in Houston a
long while back, and Lightnin' wanted to close the door. And Luke proceeded
to just go to sleep on his doorstep.... he was a real country guy. So
Lightnin' took a fancy to him and let him hang around and he was a good
singer, and Lightnin' sometimes let him perform with him on stage'.
Nervous at his first concert, Miles dropped the microphone. However, he
persevered and played at local clubs, and subsequently appeared on several
of Hopkins recordings, which included Hopkins' 'live album', Country Blues
(1960). In 1961, Miles relocated to Los Angeles but, with Hopkins' career
starting to be 'rediscovered' and booming, the two parted ways.
In 1962, Miles recorded two singles for Smash Records, accompanied by
Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry. The b-side to both singles was the anti-war
song 'War Time Blues', where Miles expoused, 'Well, when I get my
examination card, I want the doctor tell me I too doggone old'. Also in
1962, Miles teamed up with the guitarist, Willie Chambers, and they
performed together regularly for two years. In 1964, Miles released his
Country Born album on World Pacific. In addition, Miles recorded singles for
Two Kings Records in 1965, and four years later a further one, 'Hello
Josephine', for Kent. A live recording of Miles was made at the Ash Grove,
Los Angeles in 1966, where Miles was accompanied on acoustic guitar by
Bernie Pearl, the brother of the Ash Grove proprietor, Ed Pearl.
However, in 1970, Miles lived up to his stage name, and disappeared for a
long time from performing and recording. He never spoke to, or heard from,
Hopkins again. The later album releases were Country Boy (1984), which
included mainly previously unreleased tracks recorded in 1962; and Riding
Around in My V8 Ford (2008) composed of tracks recorded live in Venice,
California, in 1985.
Miles died on November 23, 1987, in Los Angeles, aged 62.