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Old Joe Clark is a folk song, a mountain ballad that was "sung during World War I and later by soldiers from eastern Kentucky."[1] An early version was printed in 1918, as sung in Virginia at that time.[1] Joe Clark was born in 1839,[1][2] a mountaineer who was murdered in 1885.[1] There are about 90 stanzas in various versions of the song.[1] The tune is in mixolydian mode.[3]


\new ChordNames {
   \set chordChanges = ##t
   a4 a4 |%1
   a4 a4 |%2
   a4 a4 |%3
   e4 e4 |%4

   a4 a4 |%5
   a4 a4 |%6
   a4 e4 |%7
   a4 a4 |%8

   a4 a4 |%9
   a4 a4 |%10
   a4 a4 |%11
   g4 g4 |%12
   a4 a4 |%13
   a4 a4 |%14
   a4 g4 |%15
   a4 a4 |%16
\new Staff \relative c''{
\time 2/4
\key a \mixolydian
\repeat volta 2 { %start repeat
   e8 fis8 g8 fis8   |%1
   e8 d cis e16 e    |%2
   e8 fis g fis      |%3
   e4 e4             |%4
   e8 fis8 g fis     |%5
   e8 d8 cis4        |%6
   a8 a16 a b a gis8 |%7
   a4 a              |%8
  } %end repeat


  \repeat volta 2 { %start repeat
   a4 a              |%9
   e'8 d cis4        |%10
   a4 a              |%11
   b4 b              |%12
   a4 a              |%13
   e'8 d cis4        |%14
   a8 cis b g        |%15
   a4 a              |%16



The song has been recorded by many artists, including:

Modern Adaptations[edit]

The melody was adapted by Mojo Nixon, Jello Biafra, and the Toadliquors for "Let's Go Burn Old Nashville Down" for the Prairie Home Invasion album. On guitarist Pat Metheny's "80/81" album, bassist Charlie Haden quotes from the melody of "Old Joe Clark" during his solo on "Two Folk Songs 1st | 2nd." The riff of Ian Dury's 1977 single "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" originates from "Old Joe Clark".


  1. ^ a b c d e "Old Joe Clark Ballad". Historical Marker #1382. Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Highways. 1970. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  2. ^ Clark, Lisa. "Old Joe Clark Biography". The Rosinators. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  3. ^ Anthony, Wendy (February 2007). "Building a Traditional Tune Repertoire: Old Joe Clark". Mandolin Sessions (Mel Bay Publications). Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  4. ^ Brody, David (1983). The Fiddler's Fake Book. New York: Oak Publications. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-8256-0238-2. 
  5. ^ Building a Traditional Tune Repertoire by Wendy Anthony

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Joe_Clark — Please support Wikipedia.
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144 news items


Sat, 28 Feb 2015 18:03:45 -0800

Elementary school students performed six pieces, including “Route 66” and “Ching-A-Ring-Chaw,” while middle schoolers also sang six tunes, including American folk song “Old Joe Clark” and Irving Berlin's “Puttin' On The Ritz.” Guest clinician Brent ...

News & Observer

News & Observer
Sat, 21 Feb 2015 17:58:27 -0800

The “classics” here refer to standard old-time gems, such as “Old Joe Clark,” “Hell Among the Yearlings” and “Turkey in the Straw.” With two exceptions, all selections, recorded in Chapel Hill's Rubber Room studio, are instrumentals. The songs – “When ...

East Oregonian (subscription)

East Oregonian (subscription)
Tue, 17 Feb 2015 21:37:30 -0800

West Hills Elementary fourth-grader Jayce Cecil concentrates on his fingers while learning how to play “Old Joe Clark” during a strings workshop with Portland fiddler Luke Price on Tuesday at Pendleton High School. Price is the 2014 National Old-Time ...
Cumbria Crack
Wed, 25 Feb 2015 05:37:12 -0800

Special credit must go to Westfield FC, who not only had the oldest player of the day with the effervescent 72 year old Derek Stephenson, but also the oldest goalscorer in 63 year old Joe Clark. This recent event is one of three events for Over 40's ...


Sat, 14 Feb 2015 13:45:26 -0800

The best example of this was their rendition of "Laundry Room," a sweet and harmonic tune, that morphed into a blistering jam version of "Old Joe Clark." They earn these transitions by becoming mechanics on stage, able to take what the audience gives ...


Sat, 24 Jan 2015 10:45:56 -0800

Ed Cunningham shone in fiddle tunes, such as "Old Joe Clark." For the finale, they whooped it up with the whole cast in "Camptown Races." The orchestra sounded refined all evening, including a sweeping performance of "Shenandoah," and Russell was an ...

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News
Thu, 04 Sep 2014 22:15:00 -0700

One of the discovered video treasures is a wonderful performance by Old Joe Clark singing the classic “Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss”. In 1967 a movie was produced of the Renfro Valley Barn dance and it contained all the greats on it along with John ...
The Tomahawk
Wed, 14 Jan 2015 07:33:45 -0800

The group, under the direction of Buddy Morefield and Phil Nave, performed two guitar pieces including “Wagon Wheel” and “Old Joe Clark.” Clearly paying homage to local music heritage, the group of talented youngsters gave the board and all those in ...

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