Breedloves's Folk Songs


“Old Joe Clark” is a folk song, a mountain ballad that was “sung during World War I and
later by soldiers from eastern Kentucky”. An early version was printed in 1918, as sung
in Virginia at that time. Joe Clark was born in 1839, a mountaineer who was murdered in
1885. There are about 90 stanzas in various versions of the song.
Wished I had a dime
Wished I had a pretty girl
To kiss and call her mine
Fare thee well old joe clark
Fare thee well I say
Fare the well old joe clark
I’m a goin’ away
I will not marry an old maid
I’ll tell you the reason why
Her neck is so long and stringy
I’m afraid she’ll never die
I asked my girl to marry me
And what do you think she said
Time enough to marry you
When all the rest are dead
Old joe clark did take sick
And what do you think ailed him
He drank a churn of buttermilk
And then his stomach failed him
Old joe clark did get drunk
And not a word could he utter
He fell down on the supper table
And stove his nose in the butter

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