Saturday, January 8, 2011

The 8th of January




On this date in 1814, Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans. It was the final battle of the War of 1812; the damnable British had hoped to come up the Mississippi and take the Louisiana Purchase, which included what would later be our state, away from the United States. If they'd been successful, we hillbillies would be talking with funny accents.

Someone named Traditional wrote a fiddle tune called "The Eighth of January," apparently to commemorate Jackson's victory, said to be America's greatest victory on land in that war.

An Arkansas Ozarker named Jimmy Driftwood (well, that was the name he used in his songwriting career, but he was born with a different name) wrote the words to the song in 1936. The story I always heard was that he wrote it to for his students as a way to get them interested in the history. That song was a huge hit for Johnny Horton in 1959, and it won a Grammy Award for Song of the Year.

Jimmy Driftwood later established what grew into the Arkansas Folk Center and he helped direct the formation and growth of the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Ark.

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