Luke 'Lone Gone' Miles

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Luke 'Lone Gone' MilesLuke '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 Records.

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.

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