“Crow, Black Chicken”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1928 (recording, Leake County Revelers)
Keywords: dancing humorous nonballad floatingverses chickens
Found in: US(SE)


Dance tune with floating verses: "Chicken crowed for midnight, chicken crowed for day/Along came an owl, and toted that chicken away." Chorus: "Crow black chicken, crow for day/Crow black chicken, fly away/I love chicken pie."


The authorship on this one is up in the air. The headnotes in Cohen/Seeger/Wood read: "Words - NLCR [New Lost City Ramblers], Vol. 4, tune and source text from the Leake County Revelers, Col. 15318." This may mean that the NLCR rewrote the original words, but without hearing the Leake County Revelers' version it's hard to tell. - PJS

I haven't heard the Leake County Revelers version, either, but I have heard Bob Bovee and Gail Heil sing that form, and it is shorter and more "chickenish" than the NLCR text. It would appear that the NLCR reshuffled the verses, then added a couple of floaters (e.g. "Went up on a mountain, Give my horn a blow...") to make a short piece longer. - RBW

Cross references



  1. Cohen/Seeger/Wood, p. 207, "Crow, Black Chicken" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, CSW207