Thursday, June 06, 2013

Presidential Campaign Songs: Andrew Jackson - "The Hunters of Kentucky"

By Richard K. Barry

President Andrew Jackson used the song in both his 1824 and 1828 campaigns. This version is sung by Tom Roush. It is also known as "The Battle of New Orleans" and "Half Horse or Half Alligator." It was written in 1821 to commemorate Jackson's victory over the redcoats at the Battle of New Orleans. I guess Jackson liked it enough to use in his campaigns for the White House, or someone did. 

It was written by Samuel Woodworth. The reference to this song says that it was sung the "way Irish singers sing old stories in narrative form," and performed to the tune of "Alley Croker" and "The Unfortunate Miss Bailey." I don't know if that means it was sung without accompaniment, as older Irish music can be. 

Oddly enough, Jackson's biggest political rival, Henry Clay, was actually from Kentucky though Jackson was from Tennessee. The fact is that so many men under Jackson's command in New Orleans were from Kentucky, hence the song. 

This version below, though very nice, seems a bit modern. 

(Cross-posted at Phantom Public.)

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