(b Ludlow, Shropshire, 1922). English traditional singer. The youngest of six children, he left school at 14 to become a farm hand. He went on to work with horses, in arable and stock farming, and then to do casual farm work. Although he became well-travelled, he retained the values, lifestyle and outward trappings of the pre-World War II rural worker.
Fred Jordan learnt songs from his father, his mother (who had performed in Birmingham music halls) and from Gypsy families in the locality. He performed his first song, The Gypsy's Warning, in public at the age of seven, and in 1952 was ‘discovered’ by Peter Kennedy, who recorded him for the BBC. He became a unique and popular club and festival performer within the Folk Song Revival. Sporting breeches, gaiters and flat cap, his repertory included traditional ballads as well as sentimental songs of more recent vintage.