Cluck Old Hen Lays Again

Cluck Old Hen–Beginner and Groove

Cluck Old Hen is one of my favorite warm up tunes. It has a good groove. Then, you come to the left hand plucking part. “We like to pluck when we cluck.”

Those who sing of the Hen, say:ppart of being a cluck old hen

My old hen’s a good old hen
She lays eggs for the railroad men
Sometimes 8 and sometimes ten
Good enough for the railroad men

Cluck old hen cluck and sing
Ain’t laid an egg since way last spring
Cluck old hen cluck and squall
Ain’t laid an egg since late last fall

Cluck old hen cluck when I tell you
Cluck old hen or I’m gonna sell you
Last time she cackled cackled in the lot
Next time she cackles cackle in the pot

My old hen she’s a good old hen
She lays eggs for the railroad men
Sometimes 1 sometimes two
Sometimes enough for the whole damn crew

For me, A minor is an awkward key to sing this in. I like D minor for singing this melody, just like the Free Range Roosters, a local band. Then, I wrote new lyrics as an exercise in speaking truth to power. Or, singing truth to power, even better.

My old hen’s a good old hen
She lays eggs for the Congressmen
Sometimes silver, sometimes gold
Lays more eggs than they can hold

Cluck old hen, cluck and squall
Elections coming up this fall
They need eggs to keep their job
And throw down to the anger mob

My old hen’s a lobby hen
Write a check and she’s your friend.
Faster than a duck can quack
She lays eggs for the superpac

Cluck old hen, cluck and sing
Pick a hat that’s in the ring
Keep your congressmen in place
No one else can win the race

Cluck Old Hen fiddle tab in two familiar versions
Cluck Old Hen in two familiar versions

The fiddle tab is in A minor, or A Dorian mode. If you wish to transpose to D minor, (D Dorian), it’s very simple. Just think of everything being down one string.

Here is  a chord chart for Cluck Old Hen. I had a guitar player express dismay at the D chord in the A part. But, I like it. Notice the parallel structure in the progression. First it’s a D that comes in, then, in the B part, it’s a G. I like stuff like that!

Cluck Old Hen chord chart
Cluck Old Hen chord chart

Finally, I have the pdf file with both the tab chart and chord chart.

The top rendition of the tab chart is the easiest. The hard part of the second version is in the B part. The plucking with the left hand is tricky. It’s a skill to be learned. And the bow work to keep the bow well organized is a learning curve. And worth it.

As I get ready to post this tab chart, I recall that I played this tune on an album I recorded with friends back in the 80’s. Here’s the cover art.

Art for the original cassette album, Don't Bet Your Money on the Shanghai

When I reissued the album on CD I got an artist to help me prepare it for DiscMaker. In the process I lost track of what I wanted and missed an important element for digital distribution.But I must say, the CD is what I had in mind for this album. The whole is reproduced fractally in the intro and the first tune. I was midway through getting my Master’s degree in music composition and I used a number of musical tricks in the production.

If you would like a copy, leave a comment.

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