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Apr 16, 2021 - 5:36:29 AM
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167 posts since 4/10/2010

TOTW 4/16/21 - Hawk’s Got a Chicken and Gone

I’ve chosen Hawk’s Got a Chicken and Gone for this installment of TOTW. There are several hawk and chicken fiddle tunes from Missouri, Texas, and even Kentucky itself, but this particular song comes from Estill County, Kentucky and seems to bear no relation to the others.

Here’s the track from the 1999 Kentucky Old-Time Banjo CD featuring Vernon and Zora Judd, with Asa Martin on vocals that brought the tune to a wider audience.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI4Uz5jWGVI

Lily May Ledford, of the Coon Creek Girls, plays a solo banjo version here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004H7YGYS/ref=dm_ws_tlw_trk4

Here’s a rollicking string band version by Rich and the Po’ Folk with the incomparable John Haywood on banjo:
http://www.idigbluegrass.com/hawks-got-a-chicken-rich-and-the-poor-folk-morehead-old-time-festival-2011/

Here’s a recent example from Deborah Payne and Sam Gleaves:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hawks-Got-Chicken-Gone/dp/B082SCFMRN

I couldn’t find a tab but the tune is pretty easy and most folks should be able to work it out with no problem. The following videos can be used as tutorials. Some play the tune out of double D tuning and others play it out of open G. I found examples of each.

Here’s a banjo solo out of D tuning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ipm91snqnB0

Here’s a banjo solo out of G tuning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQa6aLash9I

And here is a TFTL version of the tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UD1SOrVmXM

Chicken hawks are common in Kentucky where I come from and most folks consider them pests. You can look out a neighbor’s kitchen window and say “Aunt Della you’ve got some nice hens in the yard there” and she’ll say “I’ve got a few but a chicken hawk got my best layer.” Or you’ll see a shotgun leaning up against the wall on the front porch and say ”Uncle Joe that’s a fine looking shotgun” and he’ll say “Yeah I missed a chicken hawk this morning but I’ll get him when he comes back this afternoon.”

Chicken hawks are a big topic of conversation in Kentucky. Everybody talks about them. But you know, since I moved to Miami, I haven’t heard one person say the first word about chicken hawks. I don’t think they even got ‘em down here.

Readers are encouraged to post observations, opinions, performances, and tabs contributing to this thread.

Edited by - Mtngoat on 04/16/2021 06:19:19

Apr 16, 2021 - 11:10:20 PM
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Hay-on-Wye

Wales

237 posts since 6/29/2015

In the U.K. small holders who keep chickens etc always have several black chicken amongst their flock as it’s believed buzzards and kites in the U.K. mistake them for crows who can put up a bit of a fight.

Apr 17, 2021 - 9:52:43 AM
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6639 posts since 6/27/2009

Thanks, Mtngoat, for coming up with another tune new in my repertoire. I learned of the Coon Creek Girls, the all-female band of the 1930's, through Tune of the Week years ago and any opportunity to study their music again is welcome. Here is what Lily May Ledford played, a wonderful exercise in basic clawhammer techniques -- bum ditty, hammer-on, and drop thumb. The tune is familiar, but I haven't placed another title on it yet. Maybe somebody will think of it for me.


Apr 17, 2021 - 12:37:17 PM
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Hay-on-Wye

Wales

237 posts since 6/29/2015

Very nice Janet

Apr 17, 2021 - 3:50:31 PM
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2126 posts since 1/21/2003

Good pick Mtngoat. Like your version Janet. That hard frailing version by Jon Haywood is hard to beat.

Apr 17, 2021 - 7:14:58 PM
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167 posts since 4/10/2010

Janet, thanks for the fine performance and tab. I sometimes go to the A on the first string, fifth fret in measure 10 but otherwise play it pretty much as you have tabbed out.

Rick, I really like John's style too. He does amazing things with the banjo and it always meshes well with his band mates.

Neill, Wales must have some aggressive buzzards. In Kentucky they generally just eat road killed possums.

Apr 17, 2021 - 11:03:28 PM

Hay-on-Wye

Wales

237 posts since 6/29/2015

Red kites were nearly extinct in Powys, Wales 50 years ago but now they are thriving and are known to take free range chickens. Easy pickings

Apr 18, 2021 - 1:33:18 AM

Hay-on-Wye

Wales

237 posts since 6/29/2015

I wasn’t sure which version of the tune you did my goat, I thought one of the last three clips you linked but they all have different people playing.
They were all good versions

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