'Cotton Eye Joe' was conceived by Swedish producer Pat Reniz... Rednex hail from Brunkeflo City, Idaho (USA) and their deadly combination took this hillbilly hoedown to No. 1 in the UK in January '95.It's not entirely clear how straight-facedly this note was written, but needless to say none of Rednex actually were American. The public lineup at this point were all Swedes (as were the producers and presumably the session musicians actually playing on the tracks) and the 23 people who have apparently passed through the stage lineup in the last 20 years have included Dutch, German and even British performers, to say nothing of the entirely separate franchise operating in Australia and New Zealand.
Knowing that this is an outsider's view of American stereotypes (there was also a spin-off CD-ROM game called Inbred With Rednex), it does seem a bit ethically dubious although it must be said that enough Americans saw the funny side for it to be a Top 30 hit over there, though that success was unsurprisingly a one-off; just in case you ever need to know this in a pub quiz, they did have a second UK hit with the near-identical 'Old Pop In An Oak'. You probably don't need me to tell you that this is an awful record, combining all the worst elements of Eurodance and country as well as adding a terrible attempt at an accent. One imagines that a lot of the appreciation of this track here might have been ironic - it's big with darts fans apparently - but I can't even bring myself to like it on that basis. It's about as appealing as the album cover, which shows the "band members" heads floating in a chamber pot that's being urinated into.
The song itself is naturally a lot older, a North American folk song that predates the (US) Civil War and is more commonly known as 'Cotton-Eyed Joe'. It became a popular dance number in the South though the plasticity of folk songs is shown by the fact that Terry Callier recorded a version which is not really recognisable as the same piece as the Rednex version and thus they haven't killed the song. Still, I do sometimes wonder whether the producers feel they've spawned a monster: they put the band up on eBay in 2007, though it failed to sell.
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