Old Joe Clark, Old Joe Clark Medley Part One

As played by Clayton McMichen from the Georgia region

Reel or Breakdown in A mixolydian

From the Clayton McMichen Collection

5 files for this tune:

Melody-Only Transcription (PDF)
Full Transcription (PDF)
Melody-Only Transcription of Entire Medley (PDF)
Full Transcription of Entire Medley (PDF)


78rpm Record


This transcription is sponsored by Dr. Fiddle contributor Patrick Towell.

The great Georgia fiddler Clayton McMichen recorded a medley of Old Joe Clark, Pretty Little Widder, and Shortenin’ Bread in 1939. His rendering of each one of these tunes is magnificent, especially Shortenin’ Bread, which clearly demonstrates his jazz influence and quite honestly sounds like something a modern Texas contest-style fiddler would play, complete with a passage of hokum bowing! Old Joe Clark and Pretty Little Widder, the first two tunes of the medley, are in A mixolydian (G#s as accidentals only) while Shortenin’ Bread, the third tune, is in A major (all Gs sharp unless otherwise marked). I strongly suspect that McMichen played the medley cross-tuned to AEAE, which would certainly simplify the fingering in several places.

This is a nice rendition of the old chestnut Old Joe Clark. McMichen played two distinct variants of the B part, one more rhythmic and the other melodic. Look out for unisons, sixteenth notes, and ties. (McMichen used ties liberally to achieve syncopation.)

Cross-tune to AEAE.


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Old Joe Clark

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