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 10 recordings of this tune.

Eighth Of January has been added to 112 tunebooks.

Download ABC

One setting

1
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||

Fourteen 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!

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

Re: Eighth Of January

Jimmy Driftwood’s real name was James C. Morris. He was born into a family of musicians in Stone County, Arkansas in 1907. He learned to sing and play the guitar at an early age. I don’t know when he began writing songs. He earned an education degree from the Arkansas State Teachers College in Conway and then he returned to the small town of Timbo in Stone County to teach history at the junior high and the high school there. Some of the hundreds of songs he wrote were historical songs and he would perform them for the hormonally ravaged teenagers in his history classes.
In the 1950’s, he traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to try to either sell and/or record his songs and he was successful. For his biggest hit, “Battle of New Orleans”, Driftwood borrowed a fiddle tune called “The Eighth of January” which he had learned growing up in Stone County. His other big hit was “Tennessee Stud” which has been recorded by many different people.
After living in Nashville, Tennessee for a few years, Driftwood returned to Stone County and he started trying to preserve the old time folk music which he had been listening to and playing all of his life. He started a group called the Rackensack Folklore Society and he pestered the members of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation to appropriate the money to build an Ozark Folk Center just north of the county seat of Mountain View. After the Folk Center was built, Driftwood was the first director for a year or two until he disagreed with Governor Winthrop Rockefeller and got fired by the governor. So Driftwood and some of his friends built their own performance venue called the Jimmy Driftwood Barn on the highway a few miles north of Mountain View.
The Rackensack Folklore Society and the Ozark Folk Center and the Driftwood Barn are all still active and going strong. I have been playing bass with Rackensack for twenty years now. Occasionally, myself and some of my friends from Rackensack travel to Mountain View on a weekend to play music in an informal jam session with the local people there and perform at the Driftwood Barn as well.
I never did get to meet Driftwood before he died at age ninety-one in 1998 but I have heard a lot of stories about him from the other members of Rackensack. Apparently, Driftwood was quite a character and a most colorful character.
Rackensack meets once a month on the first Monday of every month at the local Arts Center and we play music for three hours. In January every year, we always play “The Eighth of January” and sometimes we sing the words to “The Battle of New Orleans”.

Laurence