WINNER OF 3 GRAMMY AWARDS . .
"The Battle of New Orleans"
Ranked by Billboard as #1 Song of 1959
James Corbitt Morris (June 20, 1907 – July 12, 1998), known professionally as Jimmy Driftwood or Jimmie Driftwood, was a prolific American folk music songwriter and musician, most famous for his songs "The Battle of New Orleans" and "Tennessee Stud". Driftwood wrote more than 6,000 folk songs, of which more than 300 were recorded by various musicians.
Jimmy Driftwood was born June 20, 1907 in Richwoods Valley seven miles from Mountain View, Arkansas. He grew up working on his father's and mother's farm. As a small boy he wanted to be a school teacher. When he was sixteen he finished the eighth grade and took the county teacher's examination and got a three month's summer teaching contract at $40.00 a month.
They say Jimmy wrote his first poem when he was eight and his first song when he was 12. There were no libraries in the hill schools, so Jimmy wrote poems, tales, songs and plays for his own students, In 1936 Jimmy wrote a song for his students, The Battle of New Orleans, in an attempt to get his students interested in learning history. In 1957 he recorded the song for RCA in an album. When recorded by Johnny Horton, the song was #1 of the Billboard Top 100 for the entire year of 1959. That song and others took Jimmy Driftwood out of the public schools and into concert halls over much of the world, including Carnegie Hall, the Ozarks Jubilee, the Louisiana Hayride, and he was a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Jimmy was an environmentalist, and led a successful fight to block the United States Army Corps of Engineers when they planned to dam the Buffalo River near his home in the beautiful Ozarks. He had a major role in preserving Blanchard Springs Caverns which later came under management of the Unites States Forest Service.
After leaving the Grand Ole Opry in 1962, Jimmy returned to his home in Timbo, Arkansas, and was instrumental in establishing Mountain View Arkansas as the Folk Music Capital of the World. He built the Jimmy Driftwood Barn where folk and mountain music is played by local and visiting musicians every Friday and Sunday nights.
Read more about this fascinating American Folk icon in The Jimmy Driftwood Story
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|Last Updated 02/11/2024 NC