Monday, June 29, 2009

Johnny Horton - The Battle Of New Orleans

(Columbia, 1959)

Song’s called “The Battle of New Orleans,” and that’s exactly what the thing’s all about, as Johnny Horton hickishly rasps forth the story of a certain 1815 military dust-up with the British. Novelty song? Pretty much, yeah! There’s a good-natured levity present, but military drums, banjo, and an oom-pah bass give the song an appropriately martial feel, and those deep-voiced dudes who march up to the mic in the chorus truly seal the deal: this is a novelty of the MANLY sort. Patriotic, too! AND educational! Hear it today, but know that there’s still MORE on this dynamite single! Mindful of the ladies in the house, Horton offers a syrupy ballad in the mold of early Elvis on the B (“All For the Love of a Girl”) that’s still fragile enough – in spite of overbaked heavenly-choir backing vocals – to maintain some effectiveness, and the singing saw that opens and closes the track is a very fine touch. The Bible tells us that God rewards such spiffy work, and, times being different back then – what with the record-buying masses frothing for patriotic, educational manliness – “The Battle of New Orleans” was indeed a gigantic hit. And Johnny Horton? He died.

1 comment:

Donald Brown said...

Yeah he died but not before burning himself forever into my consciousness with "Johnny Horton Makes History," an album me and my sibs played into unplayableness, with tracks like "New Orleans," "Sink the Bismarck," "Johnny Reb," "Young Abe Lincoln," "Johnny Freedom," "Comanche" (about the horse that was the sole U.S. survivor of Little Big Horn), and perhaps my favorite "The Battle of Bull Run": "We said we'd run 'em through Atlanta and to Galveston Bay; but they beat us back to Washington and Philadel-fi-ay." Not to be missed for real hickish Americana.