Eighth Of January reel

Also known as 8th Of January, The 8th Of January, The Battle For New Orleans, The Battle Of New Orleans, The Eighth Of January, Gulf Of Mexico, The Gulf Of Mexico, Jackson’s Victory.

There are 9 recordings of a tune by this name.

Eighth Of January has been added to 93 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Eighth Of January
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:de|fefa fedf|efed B2 cd|edef edBc|dBAF D2:||
DE|F2A2 A3F|ABAG FEDE|FDAD BDAB|AFE2 D||
de|f2a2 a3f|abaf edde|fa2fa2 ab|afecd2||

Thirteen comments

My book of tunes says that this is an American reel. Like most reels, this should be played fast.

Does “The Eighth of January” have an earlier title?

Speaking of the popular American fiddle tune commemorating the battle for New Orleans in 1812, is their an earlier related tune(s) from the gaelic speaking lands?

Jim

Re: Does “The Eighth of January” have an earlier title?

Here’s a cut-n-paste from Andrew Kuntz’s Fiddler’s Companion:

http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/EIB_EMY.htm

"The melody was originally named "Jackson’s Victory" after Andrew Jackson’s famous rout of the British at New Orleans on January, 8th, 1815. This victory, by a small, poorly equiped American army against eight thousand front-line British troops (some veterans of the Napoleonic Wars on the Continent), came after the peace treaty was signed and the War of 1812 ended, unbeknownst to the combatants. The victory made Jackson a national hero, and the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans was widely celebrated with parties and dances during the nineteenth century, especially in the South. Around the time of the Civil War, some time after Jackson’s Presidency, his popular reputation suffered and “Jackson’s Victory” was renamed to delete mention of him by name, thus commemorating the battle and not the man. Despite its wide dissemination, Tom Carter (1975) says that some regard it as a relatively modern piece refashioned from an older tune named "Jake Gilly" (sometimes “Old Jake Gilly”). Not all agree—Tom Rankin (1985) suggests the fiddle tune may be older than the battle it commemorates, and that it seems American in origin, not having an obvious British antecedent, as do several older popular fiddle tunes in the United States."

Lyrics

"(G) in 1814 we (C) took a little trip
A-(D7)long with Col. Jackson down the (G) mightly mississip
We took a little bacon and we (C) took a little beans
And we (D7) caught the bloody british in a (G)town in NewOrleans

we fired our guns and the british kept a coming
there wasn’t quite as many as there (D7) was a while a-go
we fired once more and they began to runnin’
on down the missisippi to the (D7) gulf of mexi (G)co

(G) we looked down the river and (C)we see’d the british come
there(D7) musta been a hundred of ‘em (G) beatin’ on the drum
they stepped so high and (C) they made their bugles ring
we stood (D7) beside our cotton bales and didn’t (G) say a thing

we fired our guns and the british kept a coming
there wasn’t quite as many as there (D7) was a while a-go
we fired once more and they began to runnin’
on down the missisippi to the (D7) gulf of mexi (G)co

(G) old hickry said we (C) could take ‘em by surprise
if (D7) we didn’t fire our muskets til we (G) looked ‘em in the eyes
so we held our fire til we (C) see’d their faces well
then we (D7) opened up with squirrel guns and (G) really gave ‘em…well

we fired our guns and the british kept a coming
there wasn’t quite as many as there (D7) was a while a-go
we fired once more and they began to runnin’
on down the missisippi to the (D7) gulf of mexi (G)co

Ya! they ran thru the briars and they ran thru the brambles
and they ran thru the bushes were a (D7) rabbit couldn’t (G) go
they ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ‘em
on the down the mississippi to the (D7) gulf of mexi (G)co.

(G) we fired our cannon (C) til the barrel melted down
then (D7) we grabbed an alligator and we (G) fought another round
we filled his head with cannonballs and (C) powdered his behind
when we (d&) touched the powder off the gator lost his mind

we fired our guns and the british kept a coming
there wasn’t quite as many as there (D7) was a while a-go
we fired once more and they began to runnin’
on down the missisippi to the (D7) gulf of mexi (G)co

Ya! they ran thru the briars and they ran thru the brambles
and they ran thru the bushes were a (D7) rabbit couldn’t (G) go
they ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ‘em
on the down the mississippi to the (D7) gulf of mexi (G)co."


I’ve left the guitar chords in as I found them on this blog (obviously in G, which is where it’s normally sung, I think, rather than in D):

http://kimlogue2.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!531FDDE19D839924!421.entry?_c=BlogPart

According to the above blog, this was written by Jimmy Driftwood. However, it was included on his album "Newly Discovered Early American folk Songs" … so, I’m confused …

I do this with my guitarist, and we always thought it was Lonnie Donegan!

Posted by .

Re: Does “The Eighth of January” have an earlier title?

[Does "The Eighth of January" have an earlier title?]


That would be "The Seventh of January."

As I understand it, Jimmy Driftwood wrote the lyrics and used the melody from the traditional tune.

Eighth of January lyrics

Yes, Jimmy Driftwood wrote the lyrics in order to get his students interested in history. He was a high school teacher in Arkansas. Jimmy recorded the tune along with others in 1958. Johnny Horton recorded it the next year, using the lyrics posted above - his is the most well-known recording of the song. Jimmy’s version included the words h**l and d**n and was deemed unfit for radio play at the time.

the actual date

Why are the lyrics "…in 1814 we took a little trip…" when it was actually 1815. It seems trivial, but historically will we commemorate the bicentennial next year or was it this year?

"Why are the lyrics "…in 1814 we took a little trip…"

Because there was activity in 1814 leading up to the decisive battle on the "8th of January" 1815.
Ask yourself where Andrew Jackson spent the Christmas of 1814.

Thanks Weejie, that makes sense. I was thinking in terms of a much shorter period of time forgetting that back then it took weeks to travel a thousand miles. Yes, the war officially ended with the Treaty of Ghent 24Dec1814 but the news, like troops, didn’t travel fast.

Since we’re coming up to the bicentennial I hope to hear the song more often.

Think I’ll play that one tonight with Three Legged Dog.

" forgetting that back then it took weeks to travel a thousand miles"

Yep. I think the "little trip" could be regarded as understatement.

Re: Eighth Of January

Maori here in New Zealand made their own version referencing the NZ land wars of the 19th century:

ln 1840 we all had to go
Along with old Te Kooti
To the mighty Waikato
We took a little puha
And we took a little pork
And we caught some blooming horses
So we didn’t have to walk
Chorus:

So we threw our spears
And the British kept a’coming
There wasn’t quite as many
As there was a time ago
So we threw some more
They all began a’running
Down to Te Kawata ("TEE ker WOT ter")
On the mighty Waika-to

http://www.folksong.org.nz/battle_waikato/index.html