Prior to the release of his solo album, Almost Home, Ellington “Fugi” Jordan was already a critically acclaimed songwriter. Mojo Magazine’s Dave Tomkins, had written in 2002, “Ellington Jordan is a soul enigma.” Now, the unraveling of this mysterious and complex personality comes forth again, as he delivers his solo epic, Almost Home. Known by his friends, peers and contemporaries, who have included Eddie Kendricks, Donny Hathaway and Jimi Hendrix, Jordan is most known for co-writing the song “I’d Rather Go Blind,” which was recorded and turned into gold by Rod Stewart and the Faces, Christine McVie with both Chicken Shack and Fleetwood Mac, Koko Taylor, Clarence Carter, B.B. King, and the Noel Redding Band, which was formed after Redding had recorded with Jimi Hendrix’s Experience. The song continues to be an enduring classic. When director Martin Scorsese produced his Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: Best Of series, he included Etta James’ version of the song, and rock critic Dave Marsh included Etta James’ version in his book, Heart And Soul Of Rock And Roll: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. In 2004, when former Faces guitarist Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones appeared on stage at the Hollywood Bowl, reunited for the evening with Rod Stewart, it was one of the numbers they performed together.
His back-up musicians on Almost Home include Charles and Anthony Hawkins, and V.C. Veasey, members of the group, Black Merda. In 2004, when writing about the psychedelic funk rock group, Black Merda, Fred Mills of the Metro Times wrote, “The international kudos are piling high.” In December of 2005, rock critic David Fricke praised the reissue of the Merda’s The Folks From Mother’s Mixer in Rolling Stone. Rapper Ja Rule threw down as well, and sampled the Merda’s track, “Lying” from their Exodus CD.
On Almost Home, Jordan delivers twelve captivating tracks on the album, yeilding a combination of musical styles, including funk, hiphop, soul, alternative gospel, jazz and rhythm and blues.
Among the most striking elements on Almost Home is the song “Soldier,” a thank you to those who serve their country. Not available on any of his other recording, within its lyrics, he notes, “If we don’t love another, we’ll never be free.” Jordan says, “ There are people who volunteer, not because they feel a certain way about a particular war, but because they feel the need to volunteer to protect, and they have that fighting spirit. One person who quickly comes to mind is Pat Tillman, the football player from the Arizona Cardinals who died in Afghanistan. These people are not pro-war, but are serving our country, and they want to activate freedom and justice. They have a protective nature.” There are also other soldiers among us, he says. Jordan notes that each one of us has our own battles in this life that we have to fight. He points out, “In this same way, we all have someone who is protecting us, someone who is that soldier in our own life. People will be touched by this song.”
The song “Dirty Water,” he explains, “It’s an analogy to tasting bitterness that we brothers have collectively experienced as a people. We have been drinking dirty water, fruit from a bitter tree. The lyrics are symbolic.”
The album’s title track, like most of Almost Home, is comprised of what Jordan calls “message music.” He explains, “The mayor of Fresno asked me to write a song for a movie he wanted to do called “Almost Home” about homeless people; one was a veteran, who was trying to adjust to civilian life, and he was on edge all the time. He could not fit into society. That is why it says in the song, “He almost came home.” Jordan elaborates, “He did not come home all the way.” An upstart artist named A-One rapped on the track, and is heard on all the other raps on the album, except for the rap on the track “Dirty Water,” which features Double F.
Black Merda’s VC Veasey states, “Ellington, also known as Fugi, is a musical friend of ours. We created all of the music for Fugi’s classic recordings, and of course, Fugi contributed his own unique vocal and lyrical stylings to the musical mix, making Fugi’s music a hybrid of Black Merda and Fugi.”
Ellington grew up in Watts, California, and later moved to Detroit. He now lives in Fresno, California.
With Almost Home, Ellington Jordan has already arrived.