June 28

Sung by Homer & Jethro, What Happened in “The Battle of Kookamonga”?

Sung by Homer & Jethro, What Happened in "The Battle of Kookamonga"? 1
Homer and Jethro |Photo Credits: mandolincafe.com

“The Battle of Kookamonga”: A Parody

Taking back its roots in the 1930s, “The Battle of Kookamonga”  is a parody of “The Battle of New Orleans” (1959) by singer-songwriter Johnny Horton. It was composed by American songwriter and musician Jimmie Driftwood. In addition, J.J. Reynolds crafted the lyrics of the parody song while Homer and Jethro performed it. The parody song was then released in 1959, and it earned a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album the following year.

Sung by Homer & Jethro, What Happened in "The Battle of Kookamonga"? 2
Jimmie Driftwood |Photo Credits: movieandmusicgreats.com

Known for their parody acts and performances, country music duo and parodists Homer and Jethro made it to the charts and radio stations with their parody song, “The Battle of Kookamonga“. To note, it featured the production work by record producer Chet Akins. In the production, the scene shifts from a battleground to a campground. The combat was changed to the Boy Scouts chasing after the Girl Scouts.

Here’s the first stanza and the chorus of the parody song:

In 1959, we took a little hike,
With our scoutmaster down to Lake Anigganike.
We took a little pizza and we took some sauerkrauts,
And we marched along together ’til we heard the girl scouts.

We’re the boys from Camp Kookamonga,
Our mothers sent us here for to study nature’s ways.
We learn to make sparks by rubbing sticks together,
But if we catch the girls, then we’ll set the woods ablaze!

Well, we crept up to the water and we seed the girls a-swimmin’,
There must have been a hundred of them pretty young women.
They looked so fine, even birds forgot to sing,
We laid down in the poison oak, an’ didn’t say a thing.

WATCH: Homer and Jethro perform the narration of the classic “The Battle of Kookamonga”.

About Homer and Jethro

Sung by Homer & Jethro, What Happened in "The Battle of Kookamonga"? 3
Homer and Jethro |Photo Credits: allmusic.com

Popularly known by their stage names Homer and Jethro, this American country music duo was actually born  Henry D. “Homer” Haynes (1920–1971) and Kenneth C. “Jethro” Burns (1920–1989). Both became well-known in the 1940s through the 1960s on radio and television appearances performing satirical versions of popular songs. They were known as the Thinking Man’s Hillbillies and has since been awarded several accolades. Most noteworthy, Homer and Jethro earned a Grammy in 1959, and eventually became members of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

Recollecting their first meeting as a duo, Haynes and Burns first found themselves together in 1936 during a WNOX-AM audition in Knoxville, Tennessee. They were both 16 years old back then. They first took the name Junior and Dude, which was pronounced “dood’-ee“, but was later renamed to Homer and Jethro when WNOX Program Director Lowell Blanchard forgot their nicknames in a broadcast in 1936.

Homer and Jethro also appeared several times on  The Johnny Cash Show during the 1970-1971 season. In one of their appearances, they reprised their hit “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with June Carter Cash.

In their later years, they became established jazz musicians. They continued making hits as well as playing instrumental jazz efforts. However, Haynes died from a heart attack in 1971. On the other hand, Burns continued to record and performed until his death in 1989 from prostate cancer.

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Homer & Jethro, Jimmie Driftwood, The Battle of Kookamonga

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