Jambalaya (On The Bayou)

Album: Now & Then (1973)
Charted: 12

Songfacts®:

  • Hank Williams wrote this song and originally recorded it in 1952. Williams adopts a cajun drawl and sings from the perspective of a guy headed to the bayou for some fun. There will be drinking, good company, and food. Lots of food. Jambalaya, crawfish pie and fillet gumbo.

    Richard Carpenter loved the song and recorded the instrumental track in 1972 with various session players. The next year, under pressure to complete the Now & Then album, he had Karen Carpenter add vocal to the track because they didn't have time to write another original song. Karen made no effort to sound Louisianan, singing it with her trademark perfect diction.
  • Williams' original was a #1 Country hit and also went to #20 on the US pop charts. Although the Carpenters didn't release it as a single in the US, their version did go on to become a huge hit in Japan, England, Mexico, Holland, Germany and many other countries around the world.
  • Other artists to record this include Jo Stafford, Fats Domino, and The Blue Ridge Rangers. Brenda Lee also performed the song, making her US television debut on Ozark Jamboree in 1955 when she performed this song at age 11. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Instrumentation on the track is:

    Guitar: Tony Peluso
    Pedal Steel Guitar: Buddy Emmons
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Hal Blaine
    Flute: Bob Messenger
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter

Comments: 17

  • George from Vancouver, CanadaGood food, good song, excellent singer. . .
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 23, 1960, Bobby Comstock & The Counts performed "Jambalaya" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV weekday-afternoon program, 'American Bandstand'...
    Twelve days later on March 7th the song entered Billboard's Top 100 chart at position #99, three weeks later on it's fourth and final week on the chart it peaked at #90...
    "Jambalaya" was composed by Hank Williams and his original recording peaked at #1 {for 14 weeks} on Sept. 6th, 1952 on Billboard's Country chart...
    Besides "Jambalaya", Bobby Comstock had three other Top 100 records, a covered version of "Tennessee Waltz" {#52 in 1959}, Let's Stomp" {#57 in 1963}, and "Your Boyfriend's Back"* {#98 in 1963, which was an 'answer' record to the Angels' "My Boyfriend's Back"}...
    Bobby Comstock celebrated his 76th birthday two months ago on December 29th {2017}...
    * And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, "Your Boyfriend's Back" entered the Top 100 on September 8th, 1963 at position #100, and way at the other end of the Top 100 at #1 was "My Boyfriend's Back" by the Angels, it was in it's third and final week in the top spot.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 31st 1955, Ten -year-old Brenda Lee performed "Jambalaya" on the ABC-TV program 'Ozark Jamboree'; it marked her debut on national television...
    Twenty-three months later on February 14th, 1957 she would entered Billboard's Top 100 chart for the first time at position #73* with "One Step At a Time"; eventually it peaked at #43...
    It reached #15 on Billboard's Country & Western Music chart...
    * Actually it was tied at #73 with "Almost Paradise" by the Norman Petty Trio.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 26th 1972, "Jambalaya (on the Bayou)" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #87; the following week it was at #85, then on its third week on the chart it peaked at #84 and that would also be its last week on the Top 100...
    Between 1967 and 1981 the California-formed quintet had eleven* Top 100 records; their biggest hit and only Top 10 record was "Mr. Bojangles", it peaked at #9 in 1971...
    * Their last four Top 100 records were released under the name 'The Dirt Band'.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 13th 1952, Hank Williams recorded the original version of "Jambalaya" at the Castle Studios, the studio was located in the Tulane Hotel in Nashville, TN...
    (See next post below)...
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 4th 1962, Fats Domino performed "Jambalaya" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Four months earlier on December 11th, 1961 his covered version entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #63; and on January 7th, 1962 it peaked at #30 (for 1 week) and spent 7 weeks on the Top 100...
    Three other covered versions have charted on the Top 100; Bobby Comstock (#90 in 1960), Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (#84 in 1972), and Blue Ridge Rangers (#16 in 1973)...
    Hank Williams' original version peaked at #1 (for 13 non-consecutive weeks) on September 28th, 1952 on Billboard's C&W Best Sellers chart (Webb Pierce's "Back Street Affair" became #1 after "Jambalaya" was #1 for nine weeks, then Mr. Williams regained the top spot for four more weeks)...
    Mr. Antoine 'Fats' Domino Jr. celebrated his 86th birthday six days ago on February 26th (2014).
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaI only knew the John Fogerty cover.
  • Matthew from Columbia, MoWhat, NOBODY mentioned by far one of the longest standing popular versions... Professor Longhair's!!
  • Klasko from Glasgow, United KingdomI loved The Residents version of it. But the original is still wonderful.
  • John from Dundee, United KingdomTony Peluso's guitar solo is IMMENSE
  • Alexandre Medina from São Paulo, BrazilThe best is the Fats Domino´s version
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrI agree Howard,St. Louis Park,MN. The best is the original.
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoWhen I first heard this song as a kid (it was played by some solo musician on a talk show on TV), I was confused because I thought "Bayou music" was supposed to sound spooky like Creedence Clearwater Revival, not upbeat and bouncy like this! Obviously I had a lot to learn...
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnHank Williams' version is definitely a country classic.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThe "Blue Ridge Rangers" mentioned above was one person - John Fogerty. He played all instruments and sang all vocals . He called himself "The Blue Ridge Rangers" because of a contract dispute with CCR's lable.

  • Robert from Prague, Czech RepublicI find out this song very good. But I must admit that I prefer the version by Brenda Lee. It's absolutely great. And what is more: She made it in 1956 when she was only 12!!!
  • Dave from Oak Park, MiHardly the "most definitive version" of this song, but Karen (and Richard) bounce this "Cute Tune" very merrily over an Electric Piano, and of course, that STEEL GUITAR!!!
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