“Roll the Boat Ashore (Hog-eye I)”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1927 (Sandburg)
Keywords: nonballad shanty
Found in: US(SE)

Description

Tales of sailing or mountain life, held together with a chorus such as "With a hog-eye! Roll the boat ashore and a hog-eye (x2). All she wants is a hog-eye man." Typical verse: "Who's been here since I been gone? (Someone) with his sea-boots on."

Supplemental text

Roll the Boat Ashore (Hog-eye I)
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

The Hog-Eye Man

From Joanna C. Colcord, Songs of American Sailormen (1938 edition),
p. 104. Colcord simply describes it as being a "Negro shanty."

Oh, the hog-eye man is the man for me,
He was raised way down in Tennisee, (sic.)

  Chorus
With a hog-eye!
Row boat ashore with a hog-eye,
Row boat ashore with a hog-eye,
All she wants is a hog-eye man!

Oh, the hog-eye man is all the go
When he comes down to San Fran-cis-co.

Oh, fetch me down my riding cane,
For I'm going to see my darling Jane.

(2 additional stanzas)

Notes

Paul Stamler points out a connection between this and "Sally in the Garden," which often mentions Sally being involved with a hog-eye man. Given that both songs are rather amorphous, it can be difficult in the case of short or excerpted texts to tell which is which (and, indeed, Roud appears to lump them).

Nonetheless I would maintain that they are separate songs, based on form. This one is a shanty. Colcord's version is perhaps typical; it has a long (three and a half line) chorus, and the verses have more syllables than "Sally in the Garden." For an example, see the Supplemental Tradition.

Whall suggests that "hog-eye" in this case has nothing to do with the usual sexual meaning; a "hog-eye" reportedly was a California coastal barge, and the reference to the Gold Rush. - RBW

Cross references

References

  1. BrownIII 186, "Row the Boat Ashore" (1 text, with all the verses changed to land pursuits)
  2. Botkin-AmFolklr, p. 836, "The Hog-Eye Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Sandburg, p. 380, "Hog-Eye" (1 fragment, seemingly a ruined version of the chorus, 1 tune)
  4. ST San380 (Partial)
  5. Roud #331
  6. BI, San380