I really cannot tell you what made this song pop into my head recently, but once it got there it was hard to make it leave.
Here, Mississippi John Hurt teaches us how to spell "Chicken" and not the state for which he is named, bane of grade school spelling tests from coast to American coast.
Hurt, whose real name was John Smith Hurt and who definitely is from Mississippi (in fact, he lived and died in Mississippi), was a sharecropper by occupation, in addition to a blues singer. Despite his obvious brilliance, his music was a commercial failure for much of his life. Of course, as is so often the case, his posthumous influence has spanned several music genres including blues, country, bluegrass, folk and contemporary rock and roll.
Here is a short, simple ode to a bird we all know and love:
Oh, chicken, chicken, you can't roost too high for me.
Oh, chicken, chicken, come on out of that tree.
Oh, chicken, chicken, chicken, you can't roost too high for me.
C is the way it begins.
H, the next letter then,
I am the third.
C, what a seasonly bird.
K is to fill him in.
E, I'm near the end.
That's the way you spell chicken.