Old Joe Clark

Words & Music:

Traditional American


There are a zillion verses for this.  Feel free to send any along!  You can also sub a V chords (E or E7 or Em) for the bVII (G) chord.  Either works. It's a matter of personal preference.  There is a nice arrangement of this by Craig Dobbins in the December 2005 issue of Acoustic Guitar and a different arrangement for solo guitar in the October 2005 issue of Acoustic Guitar.


A                                                   G

Old Joe Clark's a fine old man, tell you the reason why.

A                                               G      A

He keeps good likker 'round his house, good old Rock & Rye.



A                                             G

Fare ye well, Old Joe Clark!  Fare ye well, I say.

[alt: Fare thee well, Old Joe Clark.  Goodbye, Betsy Brown.]


Fare ye well, Old Joe Clark!  I'm a-goin' away.

[alt: Fare thee well, Old Joe Clark.  I'm gonna leave this town.]


Old Joe Clark used to clean the bar. Liquor was his pay.

Never saved a golden eagle. Drank it all away.




Old Joe Clark, the preacher's son, preached all over the plain.

The only text he ever knew was high, low, Jack and the game.




Old Joe Clark had a mule, his name was Morgan Brown.

And every tooth in that mule's head was sixteen inches 'round.




Old Joe Clark had a yellow cat, she would neither sing or pray.

She stuck her head in the buttermilk jar & washed her sins away.




Old Joe Clark, he had a house, fifteen stories high.

And every story in that house was filled with chicken pie.




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