"Iko Iko" is a much-covered New Orleans song that tells of a parade collision between two "tribes" of Mardi Gras Indians. The lyrics are derived from Indian chants and popular catchphrases. The song, under the original title "Jock-A-Mo", was written in 1954 by James "Sugar Boy" Crawford in New Orleans, but has spread so widely that many people take it to be a much older folk song. The song is closely identified as a Mardi Gras song, but it is equally known as a Top 40 hit. The main melody bears a strong resemblance to the guitar riff in "Son de la Loma" recorded by the Trio Matamoros. "Son de la Loma" was written by Miguel Matamoros sometime before May 8, 1925.
The story tells of a "spy dog" or lookout for one band of Indians encountering the "flag boy" or guidon carrier for another band. He threatens to set the flag on fire.
Willy DeVille - Iko Iko
Mardi Gras New Orleans style, Willy at his best!
James Sugar Boy Crawford - Jock-A-Mo
The original Iko. He is really saying "Chock-a-mo feen-o and-dan-day". When the demo was received by Chess Records in Chicago, they thought he was saying Jock-A-Mo so that's what they put on the label. Some think he's sayin' "Yock-a-mo feen-o and-dan-day"
Dr. John - Iko Iko
The great Doctor playing 'Iko Iko' with its characteristic Bo Diddley rhythm.
The Neville Brothers - Brother John/ Iko Iko
Another nice version by the Neville Bros at Jazz Open, Stuttgart, Germany, July 1995:
"Oh my Brother, Brother John is gone".