Various Artists

Cluck Old Hen: A Barnyard Serenade, 1926-1940

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The first golden age of recorded music in America came in the 1920s when the newly emerged record labels began putting out 78s, signing and releasing all comers, from back-porch fiddle players to street-corner jug bands, in an attempt to find out what the consumers of America really wanted from this startling new media. The labels usually worked regionally, and since most of the population of the country was still rural, it really isn't that big a surprise that there are countless old songs about chickens, roosters, and other barnyard fowl. Old Hat Records, an old-time music specialist label, has assembled some of these "chicken songs," recorded between 1926 and 1940, and it's a fun collection, featuring fiddler G.B. Grayson's classic take on the title tune, "Cluck Old Hen"; the hilarious "Chicken Sermon" from Honeyboy & Sassafras; and the surreal "Under the Chicken Tree" by Earl McDonald's Original Louisville Jug Band, among others.

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