BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Iko Iko”

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

No, I didn’t forget BotB… This is another suggestion from Kip for a Battle, and I think it’s a pretty good one.

Wikipedia says “Iko Iko” “is a much-covered New Orleans song that tells of a parade collision between two “tribes” of Mardi Gras Indians and the traditional confrontation.” The songwriting credit for this one is an interesting story: It was originally written by “Sugar Boy” James Crawford as “Jock-A-Mo” and released as a single on Chicago’s Checker label (a subsidiary of Chess) in 1953, but it went nowhere.

In 1965, The Dixie Cups (Barbara Hawkins, Rosa Hawkins, and Joan Johnson) were messing around in the studio and sang the song, which they learned from the Hawkins sisters’ grandmother. Since they weren’t aware of Crawford’s original, they took the credit as composers. Crawford sued them, arguing that “Iko Iko” was the same song as “Jock-A-Mo,” and got a songwriting credit along with the Dixie Cups. Anyway, their version peaked at #20 on the Hot 100 and #23 on the British Singles chart. Here’s their version, which is not a contestant this week.

Here are your contestants:

CONTESTANT #1: Dr. John Dr. John recorded the song for his 1972 album Dr. John’s Gumbo. In the liner notes, he says that he does the song more in the style of Sugar Boy Crawford. His version rose to #71 on the Hot 100 in 1972.

CONTESTANT #2: Natasha England Ten years after Dr. John’s version, Scottish singer Natasha England (as Natasha) released “Iko Iko” as a single. It reached #10 on the UK Singles chart in 1982.

Now, it’s time to vote…

You know what to do: After listening to both the Dr. John and the Natasha England versions, leave me a comment telling me which version you prefer, and if you like, a little bit about why you like it better. They’re both excellent, and I like both just about the same. So, the choice is yours.

Then, how about visiting the other BotB participants and seeing what they’ve got going on?

Tossing It Out
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands *
Your Daily Dose
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy
DC Relief – Battle of the Bands
ReInVintaged
Book Lover
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Shady Dell Music & Memories
Debbie D. at The Doglady’s Den
Angels Bark
Jingle Jangle Jungle
Janie Junebug Righting and Editing
Cherdo on the Flipside
Holli’s Hoots ‘n’ Hollers
J. A. Scott
Quiet Laughter
NovelBrews

* Check Stephen’s blog for further updates to this list!

The results of this Battle of the Bands will be announced next Saturday, July 9 (I’m giving an extra day because of the holidays). The lines are open now. Best of luck to Dr. John and Natasha!

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

19 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Iko Iko””

  1. Geez, can I cast a vote for both?? When I read that Dr. John was going to be featured, I figured right away that I’d be voting for his version — it did make me feel like I was in New Orleans — but I am really enjoying Natasha England’s version so I’m going to cast my vote for her.

    Great battle. This was a tough call!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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  2. Surprised you didn’t use the Grateful Dead version, but when the grateful dad is involved all the deadheads vote for them even if it is not the best ! I will echo another respondent: Dr John because…Dr John! Thanks for taking the suggestion and for not using the Kids Bop version.

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  3. Upon listening to Dr. John’s version I figured that would be my favorite. Then Natasha’s version started in and I really liked the opening groove to it, but as the song wore on I began to tire a bit of this version even though it was shorter. So it was back to Dr. John–that’s my favorite of the two. Not a song I’d pick as a favorite listening experience, but Dr. John I’d prefer to listen to the most.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  4. Dr. John definitely captured the spirit of New Orleans, but Natasha’s version was more to my liking, possibly because it was more like the Dixie Cups version, which is the only one I knew, until now.

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  5. In this group, I like Dr John better. Well I love him always, so that’s probably not fair judgement. BUT, I prefer the Belle Starrs version, as it is from my youth 🙂

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  6. Good Battle, JOHN, as usual.

    I was familiar with the song but had never heard the Natasha version before.

    I love Dr. John, and he’s going to be tough to beat any time. When Natasha’s version started, I thought: Oooh! We have a contest!

    But as soon as the lead vocals began, I thought: Nah. No way. This belongs to Dr. John.

    But as the singing went on and I got used to it — directly opposite of Lee’s impression — I actually came to like it much, much more. The song improved, to my ears — I did NOT tire of it.

    Nevertheless though, my vote still goes to DR. JOHN. That cat’s hard to beat!

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

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  7. Pimples surprised at myself because I’m voting for Natasha England’s version. I like her style better…more catchy and she has a good voice. I like Dr. John but it just didn’t grab me and it seemed to go on for a long time…..that could be just me though:)

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  8. Great song! On the voting for either or…I vote for the Natasha version. I’d not heard of either of these artists before. Actually I like the Dixie Cups version the best! Here’s a little story…my daughter once did a baton twirling act for a talent show at her school, to Iko Iko! 🙂 She didn’t win, but her performance was good (of course I’d think so) 🙂 … An a capella version was sung in the 1988 movie, “Satisfaction”, starring Justine Bateman, Liam Neeson, and Julia Roberts. I liked that movie a lot, and the song they did.

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    1. Oh, the reason I voted for Natasha’s version, is because I liked the lyrics better, and I could sing along. The other one, Dr. John, the words were hard to understand, at least for me. 🙂

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  9. John, I liked both. Even though I’m not a Dr. John fan, he has a nice pace here. As for Natasha England, I couldn’t resist the saxophone accompaniment. When it’s all said and done, my vote goes to Natasha! Happy 4th 🙂

    I posted a battle this time. Hope you can vote there!

    Like

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