The Best of Jimmy Driftwood

Jimmie Driftwood

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The Best of Jimmy Driftwood Review

by Greg Adams

Jimmie Driftwood (listed as "Jimmy" on this album) is a well-kept secret in country music -- he wasn't much of a hitmaker in his own right but he wrote several well-known songs, including the trend-setting historical smash hit "The Battle of New Orleans." Driftwood was a serious historian and song collector with an utterly unique style who recorded several excellent albums for Columbia in the 1950s. He moved to Monument Records in the '60s and made a couple more original albums as well as The Best of Jimmy Driftwood, a collection of 12 re-recordings of songs from his Columbia years. "The Battle of New Orleans," Driftwood's third recording of the song, leads the collection. "Tennessee Stud," which was a big hit for Eddy Arnold, is another well-known Driftwood composition in the track list. In addition to Driftwood's own songs, there are a couple of arrangements of traditional tunes such as "Rattlesnake Song" and "Old Joe Clark," the latter of which features Driftwood demonstrating the lost art of picking a longbow. The arrangements and performances are very close to Driftwood's original Columbia recordings on this agreeable but redundant platter.

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