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In a little country school house where the children used to go,
There went a little red-haired boy by the name of Ragtime Joe.
One day the teacher called on the class to spell a certain kind of bird,
The kind of bird it was a chicken, and they could not spell that word.

So the teacher called on Ragtime Joe to spell that word for them,
He did not hesitate a bit, this is the way he began:

     C - that's the way to begin
     H - that's the next letter in
     I - that is the third
     C - time to season up the bird
     K - I'm fitting in
     E - getting near the end
     That is the way to spell chicken.

Parson Johnson gave a concert in the old school house one night,
He hired a lot of fellers that could sing and could recite;
When they pulled the curtain, everything went wrong
Until - the children loudly called, "Let's hear from Ragtime Joe."

He sang a ragtime jukin' tune, but it did not go so well,
He said, "I went 'cross on that, so I guess I'll have to spell,"
Then he told the audience he had composed this chicken song
And when he sang these words to them, he took the house by storm.
Jeff Davis heard the song from his brother Hardin, who learned it from the "earl
y 20th-century"
country music performer "Uncle Dave" Macon. Kathy Kallick combined versions lear
ned from the
McGee Brothers, Red Clay Ramblers, and Jody Stecher.

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