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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 the 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." Haden had also quoted from the song in his earlier solo in Ornette Coleman's "Ramblin'" (from 1960's Change of the Century), and the same unmistakable riff shows up as well in Haden's solo bass performance "Taney County" (on Haden's 1987 Quartet West album). Haden's preoccupation with the song is evident, too, on Rambling Boy (a reference to the 1960 Coleman song...?), the 2008 album credited to "Charlie Haden Family & Friends"; on this great collection of collaborative interpretations of standards, it's none other than Jack Black who takes the lead singing "Old Joe Clark." 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.

348 news items

The HawkEye
Tue, 19 Apr 2016 08:11:43 -0700

The band performed songs such as “Black Horse Troop,” “Old Joe Clark,” “This is My Country,” “American Journey” and “Proud to Serve: A Patriotic Tribute.” The Singing Sergeants performed “Southern Harmony.” The song honored country, blue grass and ...

iPolitics.ca (subscription)

iPolitics.ca (subscription)
Thu, 07 Apr 2016 18:08:42 -0700

The heretical influence of progressive ideas from the old Joe Clark Brigade. “These guys (the Harperites) are ideologues,” one knowledgeable source told me. “They hate Red Tories. Harper courted Peter (MacKay) for the merger. As soon as they had him, ...

Tryon Daily Bulletin

Tryon Daily Bulletin
Thu, 07 Apr 2016 19:01:45 -0700

Carley, Autumn, and brother Ethan, a PacJAM guitar student, performed a very special trio number honoring the Easter holiday, called “By The Mark.” Alex and fellow student Alainna McCall on fiddle gave a fantastic rendition of “Old Joe Clark” and all ...

Roanoke Times

Roanoke Times
Fri, 08 Apr 2016 09:09:02 -0700

The New River Valley Community Chorus, under the direction of Ms. Lynn Loftus, will present their spring concert this weekend — plus an encore! The first performance will be Sunday, April 10, at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 408 N. Jefferson ...

Gazette Live

Gazette Live
Thu, 08 Oct 2015 02:31:20 -0700

Billingham youngster Joe Clark has been named in the England youth squad for the second season in succession. The 15-year-old player, a pupil at Northfield School, is in the development group, consisting of 17 players. The squad is completed by a ...

Augsburger Allgemeine

Augsburger Allgemeine
Mon, 18 Apr 2016 13:26:15 -0700

Für einen gelungenen Abschluss des ersten Teils sorgten dann noch die „Greenhorns“, die wie schon im Vorjahr mit ihren irischen Volkssongs begeistern konnten und die Zuschauer mit „Butterfly“ und „Old Joe Clark“ zu Standing Ovations und Zugaberufen ...

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Fri, 29 Jan 2016 06:48:45 -0800

“To save my disappointment” while waiting to get a smaller fiddle, Hull was shown a few basics on the mandolin from him and soon learned “Boil Cabbage Down” and “Old Joe Clark.” She was hooked, and listened to players such as Adam Steffey, Sam Bush, ...

TriValley Central

TriValley Central
Thu, 31 Mar 2016 09:22:37 -0700

The first song she learned was “Old Joe Clark.” It became the first of many Caywood taught herself to play. Caywood is a self-taught musician, but she said throughout the years, plenty of seasoned fiddlers were sources of advice, encouragement and an ...

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