Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Old Joe Clark

This tune blew me away the first time I heard it--which was when I heard it played on fiddle by Byron Berline at his fiddle shop in Guthrie, OK.  Somehow this flatpicking equivalent of "Bile 'Em Cabbage Down" got past me until I'd already been flatpicking for several years.  When I mentioned to my jamming buddies about the great tune I'd heard called "Old Joe Clark", they looked at me like I had popcorn shooting out of my nose.  That was when I learned that this was considered a hackneyed beginners' tune.

I like it anyway.  Last year at the national flatpick championsip in Winfield I heard two masterful guitarists play amazing versions of it (Jake Workman and Dan O'Callaghan), so I guess I'm not alone.

Old Joe Clark 150 bpm
Old Joe Clark 160 bpm
Old Joe Clark 170 bpm
Old Joe Clark 180 bpm
Old Joe Clark 185 bpm
Old Joe Clark 190 bpm
Old Joe Clark 195 bpm
Old Joe Clark 200 bpm
Old Joe Clark 205 bpm
Old Joe Clark 210 bpm
Old Joe Clark 215 bpm
Old Joe Clark 220 bpm
Old Joe Clark 225 bpm
Old Joe Clark 230 bpm
Old Joe Clark 235 bpm
Old Joe Clark 240 bpm
And a zip file of all tempos (47.1 MB)

The chords go like this:

| A  | A   | A  | E  | A  | A  | A E | A  | (x2)
| A  | A   | A  | G  | A  | A  | A E | A  | (x2)

or with a capo on the 2nd fret:

| G  | G  | G  | D  | G  | G  | G D | G  | (x2)
| G  | G  | G  | F  | G  | G  | G D | G  | (x2)

 (stage patter stops at 0:38)


  1. It's funny how our perceptions are on some bluegrass tunes. This first time I heard this song was probably 40 years ago and it was a version done by Pete Seeger on clawhammer banjo. At the time I thought it was the best song ever! Hackneyed or not, a good flatpicker can make a super arrangement out of just about any song!

    Max in AZ

  2. Jordan SchupbachJuly 29, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Just stumbled onto this site and think it's incredible! Not sure where I should make this request, but I'd LOVE a practice track for Bury Me Beneath The Willow...

    Great stuff! Thanks for sharing your talents!

  3. Hi, Jordan. Any particular key for that song?

    1. I play it in G. Thanks so much!

      Also, just bought your Hopeful album on iTunes. Looking forward to sharing it with friends and family this Christmas.

  4. That's where I play it, too. Thanks so much for buying the album, hope you like it.