Talkin’ ’bout: Hey now! Hey now! Jockamo fee nané

Hey Now! Hey Now!

What does Mardi Gras mean to you? I’m going to start blogging about my Contemplations about Home, which for me is New Orleans, LA.

If Mardi Gras is a reference to debauchery that includes public drunkenness, bead throwing and women flashing body parts, then you only know about Mardi Gras based upon the bad publicity from Bourbon Street. That part of Mari Gras or “Carnival” is the dark underbelly that mars the true beauty and tradition.

I want to introduce you to the energizing sounds, sights and tastes of Louisiana and Mardi Gras between now and Mardi Gras. The countdown has begun. It’s 115 days away. Come share with me the celebration that’s coming.

Have you ever heard Iko Iko performed?

If it doesn’t get your feet moving, hips swaying and blood flowing, then take two aspirin and don’t call me.

Iko Iko was first titled Jock-A-Mo by James Crawford. Keith Spera of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans wrote on September 15, 2012 of the passing of the great James “Sugar Boy” Crawford who wrote and recorded “Jock-A-Mo.” Read Spera’s article and interview about the courageous Crawford. (Please read the story. It’s important to know about this man and his contribution and the history.)

Last Sunday, Mr. Crawford appeared on Treme (my favorite TV show) and performed before his passing. Mr. Spera’s article speaks to the reason Sugar Boy gave up singing anything but gospel.

Over the years, many artists have recorded Mr. Crawford’s song, which speaks to the masking Indian tradition at Mardi Gras. Check out the Mardi Gras New Orleans website for more detailed information.

You need to understand about Mardi Gras Indians and their ranks: Spy Boy, Flag Boy, & Big Chiefs

“The Spy Boy is first in the front: he is the baddest of all the Indians…he is ahead looking for trouble. Only a chosen few can be Spy Boy. It’s his job to send a signal to First Flag when he sees other Indians. First Flag signals back down the line to Big Chief. Big Chief has a stick that controls the Indians. When he hits the ground with the stick, they better get down and bow to the Chief.” – Larry Bannock

Read about Larry Bannock in the New York Times article by Rick Bragg. (Please read this article, too. You get to see the world through the eyes of a Mardi Gras Chief.)

Before you slip away to check out the musical links, here are the lyrics to Mr. Crawford’s song:


My grandma and your grandma,
were sittin’ by the fire,
My grandma told your grandma:
“I’m gonna set your flag on fire

Talkin’ ’bout: Hey now! Hey now!
Iko, Iko, unday,
Jockamo feeno ai nané,
Jockamo fee nané

Look at my king all dressed in red,
Iko, Iko, unday,
I betcha five dollars he’ll kill you dead,
Jockamo fee nané

My flag boy and your flag boy,
were sittin’ by the fire.
My flag boy told your flag boy:
“I’m gonna set your flag on fire.”

See that guy all dressed in green,
Iko, Iko, unday,
He’s not a man, he’s a lovin’ machine
Jockamo fee nané

Now click to listen to some of the greats perform Iko Iko

Dr. John from Saturday Night Live

Dr. John introduced by Ringo Starr

Grateful Dead

Dixie Cups

Cyndi Lauper

Rhiana (a remix)

Hope the music got you moving. Which version did you love most?

Southern Smiles,

Linda Joyce

P.S. Additional notes: The photo of the clay piece is one in my collection. It’s from Clay Cottages in the French Quarter. The colorful photo of the Mardi Gras Indian is from by Mark Gstohl. It says his website is Howie Luvzus. I don’t know if all of the connections are correct or not, however, I’m posting credits based upon what I found.


About Linda Joyce

Writing is a curious journey. You don't pick it, it picks you. See my website at to learn more about me.
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11 Responses to Talkin’ ’bout: Hey now! Hey now! Jockamo fee nané

  1. pamelavmason says:

    Okay… posts like this are a huge reason why I need to turn off the internet to write LOL! … OMyGoodness! I NEVER knew the words to that song, or even the title. I just always knew the chorus.
    I can’t wait for more of your Mardi Gras posts. My father was King of Pegasus before I was born, and since MG usually falls around my b’day, it’s my most fav holiday — even over Christmas (sacrilege, I know!)
    And yes… THANK YOU for finally talking about the better part of MG that 90% of New Orleans families enjoy. It’s not all booze and boobs!

  2. writermaggiemontgomery says:

    Yay! I adore this concept and this post. I grew up with the Dixie Cups version, so I think I’m sticking with it as my fave, though there isn’t a bad one in the bunch. So excited to read more!

    • Linda Joyce says:


      I love the Dixie Cups version, too. It is a favorite because it is the most traditional. I’m starting my list of topics and will probably blog on Fridays about Louisiana. Hope you’ll join me for the ride.


      Linda Joyce

  3. I like the Cyndi Lauper version. But my Louisiana roots are weak. I was born in Monroe but moved away when I was eight years old.

  4. K. S. Bowers says:

    Loved this post and look forward to more. Iko Iko is one of my favorite songs. I prefer The Belle Stars’ version. Awesome post. 😀

    • Linda Joyce says:


      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a note. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post- Mardi Gras- Louisiana Holiday. I think Iko Ido is THE Quintessential Mardi Gras song.


      Linda Joyce

  5. avwalters says:

    Loved your post on this song–one that always echoes in my brain–for no reason related to roots.

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