My Arkansas, Then And Now

My Arkansas, Then And Now

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jimmie Driftwood
…Arkansas Native

On this Thanksgiving Day as many of us sit down to enjoy the celebrations of the holiday we may also remember November 26, 1936 as the day a young Arkansas folk-singer/songwriter James Corbett Morris—AKA—Jimmy Driftwood was born over in Stone County, Arkansas. Driftwood gained national fame in 1959 when Johnny Horton recorded Driftwood's song "The Battle of New Orleans," but he continued to live in Stone County and promote the music and heritage of the Ozarks. After his marriage to one of his former students, Cleda Johnson, Driftwood continued to teach at area schools as well as write songs and play folk music. In 1947, the couple purchased the 150-acre farm where they would live the rest of their lives.

Among his other accomplishments, Driftwood formed the Rackensack Folklore Society, helped create the Arkansas Folk Festival in Mountain View, and was a leading force in the establishment of the Ozark Folk Center.

I’d love to have a dollar for every time I or any other Cotner played Driftwood’s ‘The Battle of New Orleans”. Ah, sweet memories.

Rackensack Folklore Society.
Arkansas Folk Festival In Mountain View.
Ozark Folk Center.
Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

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