Dewey Jackson

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There is a Dewey Jackson who was a famous New Orleans horn player and he could make a lot of noise. The Dewey Jackson from North Carolina, who made his mark on the world from the little town of Spivey's…
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There is a Dewey Jackson who was a famous New Orleans horn player and he could make a lot of noise. The Dewey Jackson from North Carolina, who made his mark on the world from the little town of Spivey's Corner, doesn't make that New Orleans kind of music. The music he makes is unlike any other in the world; in fact, it is an entirely different concept of music. That New Orleans musician, he might be good, but can he call hogs? Can he inform a neighbor two miles away that the wife has put supper on? Can he summon emergency assistance as part of his performance, or provide an interesting musical background for workers processing turpentine? Didn't think so. In 1969, the North Carolina Jackson became the first winner of an event that would eventually become world-famous. This was the so-called "hollerin' contest," the centerpiece of a county fair sponsored by the Spivey's Corner Volunteer Fire Department. The June weekend also includes an antique auto show, contests such as pole climbing, bingo, and the sacrifice of 1,000 watermelons, but nothing attracts the attention of the hollerin'. It would be a mistake to remove artists such as Dewey Jackson from the world of music. A man who can holler a spiritual such as "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," as well as deliver a heartfelt "Turpentine Woods Holler" that will strip the paint out of the listener's head, could easily find himself classified as a kind of "outsider" of the music world whose vocal solos are enjoyed on an aesthetic level by hipsters, but is not regarded even as a performer amongst his peers. Nothing could be further from the truth, since the atmosphere of the Spivey's Corner event is reminiscent most of all of events such as the Kiwanis Music Festival, with performers presenting hollerin' performances as if it was a string of "Moonlight Sonatas," and judges scribbling notes accordingly. Another connection with the world of "real" music is also the relation between the old-time Spivey's Corner contest-winning crowd such as this Jackson; his brother O.B. Jackson; Floyd Lee, who has boasted of "Stopping a Rabbit With a Holler"; and the newer generations of hollerers. The latter folk, sometimes well-intentioned, just don't seem to have it, if one takes the opinions of locals seriously. Of course, much of this is related to the art of handing down such traditions, or the absence of role models. If one regularly hears forms of hollering during the day -- and in many parts of the United States this can be possible in urban as well as rural environments -- then it will become a part of a performer's soul, just the way the New Orleans style that was so thick in the presentation of the original generation of players gets thinner and thinner with each new revival effort. Does your neighbor get creative in the evening calling his dog home? Be encouraging, this could be the next Dewey Jackson.

In the Jackson family, there was never a shortage of reasons to holler. When younger brother O.B. Jackson gets up each morning at 5 a.m., he begins hollering immediately. First he calls the cows in with a lyric suite the bovines particularly like, then it is time to holler over to Dewey Jackson's place to establish that he's up and hollerin'. This holler most likely has to be pretty good; after all, when one hollers at the 1969 champion hollerer, it would be bad form to hold anything back. Dewey Jackson has appeared on the Tonight Show and is also quite a good yodeler.