Hen Cackled

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HEN CACKLE(D). AKA and see "Old Hen Cackled (1)," "Cacklin' Hen (1)," "Cluck Old Hen (1)." Old-Time, Breakdown. USA; Alabama, north Georgia. The tune appeared on one side of the very first string band recording, by Gid Tanner and Riley Puckett, for Columbia in 1924. It was in the repertoire of Phil Reeve of Georgia Yellow Hammers (a contemporary band of Tanner's Skillet Licker's) fame as "Hen Cackled." It was noted by the Clarke County Democrat of May 9th, 1929, as one of the "popular old-time tunes" that assuredly would "be rendered in the most approved fashion" at a fiddlers' contest in Grove Hill, southwest Alabama. The title also appears listed in a 1925 University of Alabama master's thesis entitled "A Preliminary Survey of Folk-Lore in Alabama," and in A.B. Moore's History of Alabama (1934) {where it appears in a list of standard tunes in the square dance fiddler's repertoire} [Cauthen, 1990]. Art Rosenbaum (1989) relates a story of how Carroll County, Georgia, banjoist Uncle John Patterson learned to play from his mother, champion banjo player Bessie Patterson. When she died in 1924 she made him promise never to let anyone beat him in a contest, and one month laer he found himself competing at the Fiddler's Convention in Atlanta's city auditorium. His primary competition was Fiddlin' John Carson's daughter Rosa Lee ("Moonshine Kate"), who had already played Patterson's best piece, "Spanish Fandango." "So the sixty-seven-pound boy, wearing a shirt made out of a flour sack, and a pair of his 'granddaddy's pistol pants' picked 'Hen Cackle' so spiritedly that 'old Gid Tanner, and even John Carson...got to cackling and got to crowing.'" Under the title "Chicken Cackle" it was a tune in the repertoire of fiddler and Confederate veteran Arnold A. Parrish (Willow Springs, Wake County, N.C.), as recorded by the old Raleigh News and Observer. Parrish was a contestant at fiddler's conventions held in Raleigh prior to World War I.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources:

Recorded sources: Columbia 110-D (78 RPM), Tanner and Puckett (N. Ga.). County 543, Earl Johnson and His Clodhoppers (North Ga.) - "Red Hot Breakdown" (as "Hen Cackle"). Voyager VRLP 328-S, "Kenny Hall and the Long Haul String Band" (learned from Ron Huey).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]

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