Roll the Boat Ashore (Hog-eye I)
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."
EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (Sandburg)
KEYWORDS: nonballad shanty
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
BrownIII 186, "Row the Boat Ashore" (1 text, with all the verses changed to land pursuits)
Botkin-AmFolklr, p. 836, "The Hog-Eye Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sandburg, p. 380, "Hog-Eye" (1 fragment, seemingly a ruined version of the chorus, 1 tune)
ST San380 (Partial)
cf. "Sally in the Garden" (many floating verses)
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
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The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.