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Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood

DigiTrad:
BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS
BRENDAN'S FAIRE ISLE
LONG CHAIN ON
RAZORBACK STEAK
SAINT BRENDAN'S VOYAGE


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Peace 28 Aug 07 - 01:19 AM
kendall 28 Aug 07 - 06:32 AM
Fred McCormick 28 Aug 07 - 07:01 AM
GUEST 28 Aug 07 - 07:39 AM
Arkie 28 Aug 07 - 11:14 AM
Bill D 28 Aug 07 - 11:17 AM
bankley 28 Aug 07 - 02:07 PM
Peace 28 Aug 07 - 04:37 PM
frogprince 28 Aug 07 - 05:04 PM
Cool Beans 28 Aug 07 - 06:08 PM
Arkie 28 Aug 07 - 07:03 PM
dick greenhaus 29 Aug 07 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,Black Hawk unlogged 29 Aug 07 - 08:29 AM
Flash Company 29 Aug 07 - 11:08 AM
Big Jim from Jackson 29 Aug 07 - 11:28 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood.
From: Peace
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 01:19 AM

Due to the course of another thread started by Gern, I went looking for lyrics to a song and chanced to read the Wikipedia article about him. (Also found this along the way.) Six thousand songs he wrote, and 300 were recorded by other people. And for the past forty or so years I have thought that "The Battle of New Orleans" was not only sung but also written by Johnny Horton.

Anyway, who knows what about the man? Six THOUSAND songs.

If this thread shouldn't be under 'Folklore', please excuse me and move it to where you deem it appropriate.
    For our purposes, we use "folklore" for non-music stuff that is related to music. This thread would fall in the "general music" category because Jimmie Driftwood was quite a musician.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: kendall
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 06:32 AM

Some years ago a friend of mine in Missouri told me he walked into Jimmy Driftwood's place, and he was telling stories right off my album! I was honored.

He's the only one I have ever heard play the bow. Somehow he put the tip of a wooden bow against his cheek and struck it like a Jew's Harp. Odd sound.


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 07:01 AM

Actually the mouth bow. Probably African in origin. Charles Everidge, who used to perform with Neil Morris, Driftwood's father, also played it. According to Alan Lomax, who recorded Morris and Everidge in 1959, it had never been reported in North America before.


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 07:39 AM

I heard a description of the picking bow on the old BBC Light Programme many years ago, and if I remember rightly, it was Jimmy Driftwood who was being interviewed. It was obviously such a simple device that I made one, and used it in a recording made by Feet First (Foot Notes was - I think - the name of the cassette). I remember it was very difficult to get any worthwhile volume out of it, except by electric amplification, and even that was very difficult if feedback was to be avoided. Jimmy Driftwood said he used a beer can to amplify his, but it wasn't clear how it was mounted.
It was the simplest instrument possible, consisting of only a lath of wood about 25mm x 5mm, about a metre long, and with a panel pin in either end, between which was stretched a light gauge banjo string. I ran a kids workshop at Sidmouth a few years back, and many were produced there. It is held against the cheek while the string is twanged with a plectrum or fingernail.
The picking bow exactly suited Jimmy's songs and singing style. I can't help thinking there'll be a great revival of interest in him before long. His simple accompaniments and wryly obervant, even cheeky songwriting, combined with his wonderful voice made him one of my favourite folk singers ever, along with my other hero, Ron Duke of Newcastle Folk club.

Frank Lee


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: Arkie
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 11:14 AM

Jimmy often mentioned Charley Everidge when he played the mouth bow or picking bow as it is sometimes called here in Stone County, Arkansas. Everidge's picture is on the back of the National Geographic Recording done in Mountain View about 35 years ago.   There have been a few mouth bow players in Stone County over the years, including myself, mostly folk who heard Jimmy. Johnny Smith played on the Saturday gathering on the square and had the largest repertoire of songs on the bow in the area.   Most of us used the bow as a novelty thing and played just a few tunes. Charley was gone when I came to this area but Johnny may have known him as I was told he was a familiar character in town.

John Rice Irwin's Museum of Appalachia in Norris, TN may have the largest collection of American hill country mouth bows. Several are pictured in a book he published. Mudcatters in east Tennessee might be able to add something to the mouth bow discussion.


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: Bill D
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 11:17 AM

Not to detract from Jimmy Driftwood, because he WAS quite the character and musician, but you can hear & see the mouthbow played by Bruce Hutton, a fellow who has lived in the Wash. DC area for many years. (I've known him for 30 years)

If you have broadband, click on the show noted at this page It is an hour long show, but the mouthbow is played at about 3 minutes in.


I have heard stuff by Jimmy Driftwood for many years, and have one LP album by him. He had a real sense of history and an uncanny way of drawing his audience into his stories & songs...like Red River Dave & Woodie Guthrie, many of his songs were forgettable, but the good ones were mini-classics. If you get a chance, pick up something by him and hear a real classic 'folkie'.


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: bankley
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 02:07 PM

I saw Buffy Ste-Marie playing mouth bow last week. She said that "Indians were good at using weapons to make music" it was a nice show.


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: Peace
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 04:37 PM

Good article about the song "TB of NO" .


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: frogprince
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 05:04 PM

Arkie, are you speaking of the courthouse in Mountain View? I heard Jimmy playing and MCing the Saturday night gathering there, I believe in 1969. The whole evening was a delight.


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: Cool Beans
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 06:08 PM

Jimmy Driftwood was one of the artists whose records Wayne Raney would play on the WCKY Jamboree, out of Cincinnati. Listening to late night radio as a kid (in New York), that was how I learned much about folk and country music, which were more or less interchangeable on Wayne's program. I remember hearing Driftwood singing all the verses of "The Batle of New Orleans" and playing the mouth bow and singing "Four Little Girls From the Town of Boston."


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: Arkie
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 07:03 PM

Driftwood played on the Friday night gatherings on the courthouse square in Mountain View through the 1960s and the earliest years of the 70s until the Ozark Folk Center, which he was instrumental in developing was opened in 1973.   He later built his own place and performed there until he was in his 90s. In those later years he could not always remember words to songs but still held audiences spellbound with his stories, the mouth bow and the leaf.

Wayne Raney was back in Arkansas in the 1970s and operating a recording studio in Drasco, a crossroads about 30 miles from Mountain View.


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Aug 07 - 08:26 AM

You can hear Jimmy Driftwoodon a Bear Family set called "Americana" and on a single callrd "Voice of the People". Available from CAMSCO. Of course.


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: GUEST,Black Hawk unlogged
Date: 29 Aug 07 - 08:29 AM

I have been a Jimmy Driftwood fan since I first heard him in the late 1960's. Met him in late 70's & was mesmerised by his folk tales etc.

I always knew him as Jimmy but on L.P.s issued in the UK he is titled as Jimmie. Confusing when Googling his life history, bibliography etc.

Still, 'a rose by any other name ............'


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: Flash Company
Date: 29 Aug 07 - 11:08 AM

Used to sing his version of 'The Unfortunate Man' , also remember once pithing 'Bunker Hill' into a sing around and completely phasing everyone.

FC


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Subject: RE: Jimmie (Jimmy) Driftwood
From: Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 29 Aug 07 - 11:28 AM

In the mid-60's Jimmy brought a group of muscians to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, for a community concert held at the local university. I had the opportunity to talk with him, his wife Cleda, Buckmiller Shannon (banjo Player), et al, at some length before the concert. I bought a number of his albums which he autographed and wrote notes on ("Come down to Timbo and visit"). I had the thrill of being handed his old guitar and strumming it a little!!!

At the concert I was in the front row and was mouthing the words to many of the songs as Jimmy sang. After his opening part of the show, he came down and sat beside me, noting that he had seen me singing along. He did a running commentary as various other performers of his troop continued the program. When he returned to the stage to open the second half of the show, he sang the "Butterbean Song", and when he came back down to sit with me the second half, I asked him to repeat the verses (3 of them) and I memorized them on the spot. Those verses, along with some I've added are contained in a thread somewhere here on the 'cat.

Early in his career he was contracted to Eddie Keys in Kansas City. Eddie's wife, Vi, played fiddle on Jimmy's first record, a 78 rpm. I heard that record at the music store that Vi once owned in Cape Girardeau.

Jimmy and his wife were delightful people. I treasure the memory of that concert and take pride in having learned the song dircetly from Jimmy himself, in person.
Jim Hickam


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