Friday Five: Jimmy Driftwood
On this day in 1998, Jimmy Driftwood passed away at the age of 101. He reportedly wrote 6,000 songs over the course of his life–Johnny Horton, Eddy Arnold, Johnny Cash, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Homer and Jethro, and Doc Watson were just a few of the artists who recorded his work. During one week during 1959, Driftwood had six of his songs on the music charts at the same time. He was a Grand Ole Opry member, a musicologist for the National Geographic Society, and toured with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Few songwriters have left their mark on the music landscape quite like he did. What are your favorite Driftwood songs?
5. “Tennessee Stud”
This classic tune has been covered dozens of times over by everyone from Johnny Cash to Doc Watson to Hank Williams, Jr.
4. “On Top of Shiloh’s Hill”
Painting a story based on historical events was one of Driftwood’s greatest talents. Here, he sings about a bloody Civil War battle.
3. “What is the Color of the Soul of a Man?”“Tell me, tell me if you can What is the color of the soul of a man? Black or yellow, white or tan What is the color of the soul of a man?”
2. “The Marshal of Silver City”
The Old West was a frequent topic of many Driftwood tales and this tale of thievery and redemption is a personal favorite.
1. “The Battle of New Orleans”
Johnny Horton’s chart-topping single might be more well-known, but Driftwood owns this version of his most popular song, which set lyrics to the fiddle tune “Eighth of January.”
- Paul W Dennis: I finally picked up a copy of Jack Clement's last album and while I enjoyed it, it felt as if …
- dottie: It was great & you all look wonderful. oxoxox Grandma
- Stuart Munro: I think this just moves the location of the discussion, Jack. If I named a bunch of rock artists who …
- Leeann Ward: Um, that's too much geekery for me to follow, Sam! My husband would understand you though.:)
- Jack Williams: Alabama Shakes won the AMA Emerging artist award couple of years ago. Also, classic soul influenced artists like Bettye Lavette, …
- Applejack: It certainly seems to me like the inclusion of St. Paul and the Broken Bones stretches the limits of how …
- Stuart Munro: Yes, that's the issue: is the tent so big as to have no boundaries? What *isn't* Americana? Is jazz? Is …
- Jack Williams: Um, roots music, that is.
- Jack Williams: Well, Americana is a pretty big tent. Classic southern soul falls under my personal definition of root music.
- Stuart Munro: Is it just me...or does the idea of St. Paul and the Broken Bones being an Americana act really strain …