Essays – River of Jordan

Jaybird Coleman

On my most recent album, Sea Of Blues, I wanted to include a track by Georgia-born, Alabama-based harmonica player and singer Jaybird Coleman. Since first hearing his playing, many years ago, I have always been entranced by his performances, and intrigued by his enigmatic though tragically short-lived career.

From the relatively limited number of recordings available, I chose the Gospel/Blues song , I’m Gonna Cross The River Of Jordan – Some of These Days, upon which he is joined by a second harmonica player, Ollis Martin.

Through the use of overdubbing, I was able to record the two harmonica parts, although, unlike the original, where both harmonicas were in the same register, I used both a ‘high’ F and a ‘low’ F harmonica.

Continuing on a similar theme, I combined the Jaybird Coleman song with piece, ‘Better Get Ready’, by Elder Roma Wilson, another Gospel/Blues performance featuring two harmonicas (and vocals).

I discovered the Wilson recording on a compilation album on the French Frémaux label: Harmonica Blues, Vol. 2: 1946-1952

My recordings can be found on all the usual online music platforms, and heard for free on Youtube and Soundcloud.

Elder Roma Wilson

Mat Walklate

Here are the links:

Wikipedia – Jaybird Coleman

Wikipedia – Elder Roma Wilson

© Copyright 2020 Mat Walklate. All Rights Reserved.


Mat Walklate is a professional musician and music teacher.

More details on his website: