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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. ^
  6. ^ 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.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

150 news items

Lexington Herald Leader

Lexington Herald Leader
Thu, 02 Jul 2015 06:30:00 -0700

Bluegrass returns to Renfro Valley Entertainment Center this weekend by way of the Old Joe Clark Bluegrass Festival. Friday features The Cleverlys, Little Roy and Lizzy, The Moron Brothers, Southland Drive and Wilderness Trail. Saturday adds in Junior ...

Mexico Ledger

Mexico Ledger
Fri, 12 Jun 2015 10:48:45 -0700

Other Miss Missouri contestants in the talent competition were: Miss Midland Empire Carolyn Koepping who performed a baton twirling routine to “Any Way You Want It,” Miss Joplin Rebecca Helton who played the fiddle to “Old Joe Clark,” Miss Crowder ...

Mail Tribune

Mail Tribune
Tue, 26 May 2015 11:41:14 -0700

Old Joe Clark, the inspiration for a fiddle tune from the 1800s, is described on a historical marker in Kentucky as "a shiftless and rough mountaineer." "His enemies were legion; he was murdered in 1885," the state marker reads. "It mischaracterizes ...
Peoria Journal Star
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:33:45 -0700

The Peoria Area Civic Chorale youth choir will also perform the folk and jazz selections “Old Joe Clark” and “Handful of Keys.” Tickets are $20 for adults, $8 for students, and $18 each for groups of 10 or more. For tickets or more information call 693 ...


Wed, 03 Jun 2015 07:11:45 -0700

The group performs high-energy, old-time Appalachian-inspired music that includes instrumental dance tunes such as “June Apple” and “Frosty Morning” and songs with vocals like “Old Joe Clark,” “Roustabout” and “Western Country.” All band members take ...

Log Cabin Democrat

Log Cabin Democrat
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 15:05:28 -0700

Porch songs, a group of funny folk songs, will be next, followed by fiddlin' tunes, such as “Arkansas Traveler,” “Old Joe Clark” and “Sourwood Mountain.” The last group of music will be camp songs, a more reflective set of songs that soldiers sang at ...

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News
Tue, 12 May 2015 21:30:00 -0700

Jamie Harper - Old Pal Willis, VA -- Mountain Fever Records is proud to announce the release of a stellar new album from fiddler, Jamie Harper. Old Pal is available to radio and consumers today with his first single, "To Fly," already receiving airplay ...


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 ...

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