Iko Iko

Dr. John was far from the first artist to record Iko Iko but it was the first version I ever heard. It inspired me to buy the Gumbo album before having eaten the dish. I’m a transplant, y’all.

Iko Iko was written by James Sugar Boy Crawford in 1954. It has an original/alternate title: Jock-A-Mo. It was inspired by Carnival in the Black community. The lyrics only make sense if you know something about Carnival, but not that much sense. Jock-a-mo fee na nay.

We begin with the songwriter:

The Dixie Cups had the first radio hit with this venerable song.

The Doctor is in the house:

My main man Warren Zevon covered the Carnival classic before Dr. John but he’s from away so he goes after Our Mac:

Another oddball cover by the great Cyndi Lauper:

Zachary Richard. Say no more:

Finally, my 13th Ward homies the Neville Brothers who performed today’s tune in a medley with Brother John and Jambalaya:

What would the Friday Cocktail Hour be without instrumental versions of the week’s song? This time, Bernard Purdie followed by Donald Harrison:

That’s it for this week. If you’re in New Orleans, come see me march with the Krewe of Spank and the rest of the crazy cutups in Krewe du Vieux tomorrow. It’s what Danny Barker, Dr. John, and Pete Fountain would want. Never argue with them.

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