Doug Koempel © 2016
SONG #57

"IKO IKO (Jock-A-Mo)"
writers: James Crawford / Dixie Cups / traditional
album: Feelin' Alright (BOF-94) 2013
artists: the Memory Brothers
  • lead vocal: Doug
  • background vocals: Christopher Jon and Doug
  • rhythm guitar: Christopher Jon
  • keys, acoustic guitar and bass: Doug
  • backing tracks programmed by Doug
             sequenced on Sonar 3.1 Producer Edition
             VSampler 3; Papelmedia GM 2006; EZdrummer; RealBand
             VI.One; Casio WK3800; Alesis QS7.1; Yamaha NP-V80
  • recorded at: Bird-On-Fire Recording Studio / West Union, Iowa

play "Iko Iko"
For the fascinating history of this song, read the entire Wikipedia article here.

I first started doing this song live when I was working with Mike Williams in the early '90s. Its catchy rhythmic hook was always well-received by the dancers. After Mike left the group in the mid-'90s, I quit doing the song. However a couple years ago I worked it up again and introduced "Iko Iko" to our current dance crowd - they not only love to dance to it but they do kind of a call-and-response to the "Hey now (hey now)" chant.
Interviewer: How did you construct 'Jock-A-Mo?'

Crawford: It came from two Indian chants that I put music to. "Iko Iko" was like a victory chant that the Indians would shout. "Jock-A-Mo" was a chant that was called when the Indians went into battle. I just put them together and made a song out of them. Really it was just like "Lawdy Miss Clawdy". That was a phrase everybody in New Orleans used. Lloyd Price just added music to it and it became a hit. I was just trying to write a catchy song....
Doug's notes:

The most-popular version of "Iko Iko" was recorded by the Dixie Cups (click on picture below) in 1965 even though the song was originally released in 1953 as "Jock-A-Mo" by Sugar Boy and his Cane Cutters.

Sugar Boy's actual name was James Crawford, and here's an excerpt from a 2002 interview with him in Offbeat magazine (taken from Wikipedia article):