Old Joe Clark

As played by Clark Kessinger from the West Virginia region

Reel or Breakdown in A

From the Clark Kessinger Collection

3 files for this tune:

Melody-Only Transcription (PDF)
Full Transcription (PDF)


1968 concert recording released on the album Clark Kessinger Live at Union Grove


This is an odd version of Old Joe Clark from Kessinger’s later period. Recorded in 1968, it is much more bluegrass than anything he recorded in the 1920s. In the recording, Kessinger basically plays the tune through two times, followed by a bluegrass banjo break. Then Kessinger plays part of a third time through, beginning a low A part but stopping after four measures to let the banjo play a break and end the tune. Although there wasn’t a whole lot of fiddling, Kessinger still managed to pack a lot of variation in here. Of special note are passages of hokum bowing and a high A part that goes up to a high C (you will probably want to play it in third position). There are also some vibrato notes, denoted by squiggly lines to the left of notes to be played vibrato.

As with many of Kessinger’s later, more grassy recordings, the other instruments sometimes obscured the fiddle in the recording. This was especially the case in the hokum bowing passages, so I’m not one hundred percent confident of the transcription of those passages.

This tune is a member of the following groups:


Old Joe Clark

This tune has no comments.