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Jimmie Driftwood "I wouldn't have a single gal, the reason is plain to see," "I cannot find a single gal who hankers after me." By Euphrates
Yeah, Jimmie Driftwood wrote The Battle of New Orleans. You know, "In 18 and 14 we took a
little trip..." Johnny Horton recorded the song and scored a big hit with it in 1960. But
you may not have known that Jimmie (James Corbett Morris) wrote nearly 6,000 folk songs, 300
of them were recorded or published by such stars as Eddy Albert and Johnny Cash. The former
school teacher also won several Grammies and helped save the Buffalo River in Arkansas from
Jimmie, also known as Jimmy (done for essentially the same reason as but well before Prince) was born in Mountain View, Arkansas in 1907. He made Arkansas his home for most of his 91 years, spending most of his later years in Timbo.
He originally started setting his poems to music as a way to teach history to his students. His voice and music were very simple and charming. His songs dealt with courtin', life in the Ozarks, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and American folklore. The music was usually a guitar (Chet Atkins played guitar on The Battle of New Orleans album) accompanied by a bass and mouth-bow. The mouth-bow that Jimmie used was actually like a shorter version of the bow from a bow and arrow. Because of the size he was able to get a "fatter" sound out of it.
Jimmie's records are quite hard to find and very popular amongst collectors. If you do come up with one, you will probably have to deal with some scratches and gouges because it's age. If you can't find a mint record, there is a 3 CD set of Driftwood's songs called Americana that you can find on music sales sites.