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Hog-Eye Man

[ Roud 331 ; Ballad Index RL401 ; trad.]

Waterson:Carthy sang the capstan shanty Hog-Eye Man in 2006 on the double CD Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys. They were accompanied by Eliza Carthy, violin; Tim van Eyken, accordion; Martyn Barker, percussion; Andy Newark, drums. The album's sleeve notes comment:

A hog-eye was apparently a type of barge used in the canals and rivers of America from the 1850's onward. Thus, “hog-eye man” was used in derogation by the deep water sailors who used this chantey at the capstan. Many of the original verses to this chantey were for too obscene to have ever found their way into print.

On the same album they also sang The Mermaid and Eliza Carthy sang Rolling Sea.

Cyril Tawney sang Hogs Eye Man live at the Holsteins folk club in Chicago on May 31, 1981. This concert was published in 2007 on his CD Live at Holsteins.


Oh, hand me down my riding cane,
I'm off to meet my darlin' Jane.

Chorus (after each verse):
And a hog-eye!
Railroad navvy with his hog-eye,
Steady on a jig with a hog-eye, oh,
She wants the hog-eye man!

Oh, the hog-eye man is the man for me,
Sailin' down from o'er the sea.

Oh, he came to the shack where Sally did dwell,
He knocked on the door, he rung a bell.

Oh, who's been here since I been gone,
Railroad navvy with his sea-boots on.

If I catch him here with Sally once more,
I'll sling me hook, go to sea once more.

Oh, Sally's in the garden sifting sand,
Her hog-eye man sittin' hand in hand.

Oh, Sally's in the garden, punchin' dough,
The cheeks of her arse go chuff, chuff, chuff!

Oh, I won't wear a hog-eye, damned if I do,
Got jiggers in his feet and he can't wear shoes.

Oh, the hog-eye man is the man for me,
He is blind and he cannot see.

Oh, a hog-eye ship and a hog-eye crew,
A hog-eye mate and a skipper too.