Listen to Chaka Khan and Rufus Wainwright Cover "Cotton-Eyed Joe"

Why not

BY Kaelen BellPublished Jun 2, 2023

Where did you come from? And more importantly, where exactly did you go? These are the questions we ask of Cotton-Eyed Joe, and we've been asking them for more than a century — at this point, it's unlikely we'll ever get an answer. 

Still, people continue to carry the torch, and the latest to do so are Chaka Khan and Rufus Wainwright (pause for slight confusion), who just released a cover of "Cotton-Eyed Joe" as the latest single from Wainwright's collaborative folk covers album Folkocracy.

Before you get too excited, the duo aren't covering the Rednex version of "Cotton-Eyed Joe" — the song that has played at every junior high dance, parking lot carnival and local fundraiser since the mid-'90s — instead sticking closer to the song's mysterious 19th century folk-traditional roots with sombre piano and some beautiful vocals from Chaka. 

It's ultimately a lovely cover, if less hilarious than it could've been. C'est la vie. The rest of Folkocracy features guest appearances from David Byrne, ANOHNI, Sheryl Crow, and John Legend, plus the already released covers of "Down in the Willow Tree" with Brandi Carlile and Neil Young's "Harvest" with Andrew Bird and Chris Stills. 

You can listen to the whole thing today, and check out Chaka and Wainwright's take on "Cotton-Eyed Joe" below. 

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