"I would not go to Old Joe's house,
Tell you the reason why:
I can't get around his garden spot,
he's tearing down his rye."
Long before Joe Clark the Canadian politician was born, there was a soldier in the War of 1812 with that name. He asked that in payment for fighting, he receive land rather than money. The United States government, not yet a superpower, but having much empty land, was happy to oblige. They give him a large amount of land in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Joe Clark probably would be forgotten by now if it weren't for the song written about him, "Old Joe Clark".
"Old Joe Clark, he had a bull,
Name was Morgan Brown.
Took a jaybird eighteen years
to fly from horn to horn."
In the song, Old Joe is depicted as an eccentric old coot who lives a strange life. The narrator never wants to visit Joe, and will "tell you the reason why" in nearly every verse. In newer versions, verses have been added about other things the narrator would never do, as well as some verses that seem to simply be random tidbits about life in general. There is also a chorus to the song, often about going "round and around," or "leaving this town."
"Round and around Old Joe Clark,
Round and around I say,
Round and around Old Joe Clark,
I'm going to leave some day."