In a little country school house where the little darkies go
There is a little pickanninny by the name of Ragtime Joe.
Now, when it comes to spelling, his ragtime brain works fast;
He’s de only well trained scholar dat holds down his own class.
One day de teacher called his class to spell one sort of bird,
Dat kind of bird was chicken and they could not spell de word.
So de teacher called in Ragtime Joe to spell dat word to them.
He didn’t hesitate a bit; this is how began:
C, dat’s de way to begin it; H dat’s de nex letter in it.
I dat am de third; C, dat’s to season the word.
K, dat’s the filling in E. I’m near de end.
C-H-I-C-K-E-N- dat’s de way to spell chicken.
Parson Johnson gave a concert in de old church house one night,
He hired himself a lot of talent dat could sing and could recite;
And when dey pulled de curtain everything went wrong, you know,
Till one darky loudly yelled, “Let’s hear from Ragtime Joe!”
He sang a ragtime new coon song, but it did not take so well.
He said, “I’ve went a-frost on dat, I guess I’ll have to spell.”
Then he told de audience dat he had composed a chicken song,
And when he spelled the words to them, he took de house by storm.