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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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Old Joe Clark lyrics

Download from iTunes @ http://www.itunes.com/therosinators See http://www.paulcastlemusic.com/old-joe-clark.html for Old Joe Clark lyrics, biography and song history of this classic bluegrass...

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143 news items

Times Record News

Times Record News
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 05:33:45 -0700

Such was the case Saturday at the J.S. Bridwell Agricultural Center for Cowboy True, where musicians resined up their bows and threw down their best “Old Joe Clark,” “Tennessee Waltz,” “St. Anne's Reel” and the like during the event's fiddling contest, ...

cleveland.com (blog)

cleveland.com (blog)
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:00:00 -0700

Opening with the instrumental "Salt Creek" and bleeding into "Old Joe Clark", the trio led by Strings on lead vocals and backed by Julin tore through a twenty-one song set of Appalachian bluegrass roots music. Covering folks like Doc Watson on "Way ...
Yorkshire Post
Sun, 22 Mar 2015 23:32:28 -0700

LEEDS cyclist Tom Barras sprinted to victory in the prestigious Duncan Sparrow Road Race in Lancashire. The 36-year-old who rides for the NFTO Pro Cycling Team took the win inches ahead of rival Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis) at the end of the ...

Topeka Capital Journal

Topeka Capital Journal
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 11:29:42 -0700

Songs that will performed will range from traditional fare, such as “Old Joe Clark” and “Cowboy's Lament,” the latter also known as “Streets of Laredo,” to classic country songs written or recorded by the likes of Hank William, Loretta Lynn, Merle ...


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 ...


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 ...

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 ...

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