The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #61809 Message #4140269
Posted By: cnd
26-Apr-22 - 12:07 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Cluck Old Hen
Subject: RE: Origins: Cluck Old Hen
Stringsinger, you have a good ear! Tony Russell in "Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942" (2004) reports both a banjo (Jack Reedy) and a uke (John Hopkins). Unfortunately I don't think I could help you much beyond that, other than to say that banjos in particular were tied to African American performers or blackface/minstrel musicians (who often learned them from Africans) more than most other traditional American instruments.
Lighter, Mike Yates of MusTrad found a version dated 1886 (link). I can't access any online editions of his text but can work towards using one at my local library in the coming days to transcribe and/or verify.
I've found just a stanza in the March 6th, 1907 Morristown (TN) Gazette (link, as follows:
I don't know if this is poetry or not, but it's truth:
Cluck, old hen, and lay me an egg--
Come, lay me an egg each day;
I'll never starve, I'll never beg,
But I'll keep that wolf away.