Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

 All Forums
 Playing the Banjo
 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW - 5/29/2020 - The Hog Eyed Man

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

hoodoo - Posted - 05/29/2020:  06:03:16

So, I’ve been enlisted to choose this weeks TOTW. Honestly, I kind of forgot about this until a few days ago, so sorry if its lacking some pizzazz.

The tune will be The Hog-Eyed Man. I looked at the list of past honorees and I haven’t found it, so as far as I know, this is a first, although there is also a tune called Sally in the Garden that was named TOTW back in 2009. It has much in common with The Hog Eyed Man. Some may argue that its the same tune.

So, to begin, a bit of history via University of Google and the Library of Congress.

"Hog-Eyed Man" is a well-known fiddle tune in the older repertory of the Upper South. A nineteenth-century set in Winner's Collection of Music for the Violin, p. 75 "Hog Eye--Jigg" suggests that the song may have had some circulation on the popular stage. "Jigs" of this sort were a mid-nineteenth-century American genre in 2/4 time often associated with the minstrel stage or other popular entertainment. Modern song and fiddle versions suggest, however, that it is widespread in Southern tradition and may have gone from there to the popular stage, not the other way around. For comparison, see Bayard, Hill Country Tunes, #75 "Hog Eye an' a 'Tater"; Sharp, English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, vol. 2, 360 (#250) "The Hog-eyed Man" (Clay County, Kentucky), 361 (#251) "The Jackfish" (Callaway, Virginia); Brown, The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore vol. 5, 133 (#194-D) "Old Bob Ridley" (Watauga County, North Carolina); Sandburg, American Songbag, p. 380 "Hog-Eye" ("A lusty and lustful song developed by negroes of S.C."). A hillbilly recording is by Crockett Mountaineers on "Old-Time Medley." Additional discussion and citations may be found for "The Hog-Eyed Man" in American Fiddle Tunes (Library of Congress, AFS L62).There may be an African-American connection to the song; it is certain that a sailor's shanty, with associated lyrics but a different tune, turns up in older sea shanty collections. The words to the song are typically bawdy. Source :

There are many different versions of this tune and is known under different names. I also know it under the name, Sally’s a-siftin Sand or Sally’s in the Garden Siftin Sand

So here are a couple of fiddle versions :

Dan Gellert :

Luther Strong :

The Crocket Family Mountaineers : (in a medley, tune begins around 3:55)

Clyde Daventport :

And now, enough of the fiddle, here a few banjo versions.

Sarah Wood :

Dwight Diller :

And another version played by The Morris Brothers (also featuring D. Diller), but it sounds much more like Sally Ann :

A unique version played by a fellow named Darin Gentry, with some lyrics in Haitian Creole (I think)

Lukas Pool :

Myself :

Edited by - hoodoo on 05/29/2020 06:11:24

banjukebox - Posted - 05/29/2020:  07:53:51

Great tune choice. I have also heard people refer to "Hog-eyed Man" and "Sally in the Garden" as one in the same. I hear them as two completely different tunes (with some similarities). Here's an example (played by Bela and Abigail) of the tune I learned as "Sally in the Garden"

Here's Alan Jabbour playing Henry Reed's version of "Hog Eyed Man"

By the way, What the heck is a Hog-eyed Man?

Edited by - banjukebox on 05/29/2020 08:02:52

mjt0229 - Posted - 05/29/2020:  08:33:18

Nice write-up. I'm looking forward to digging into this one later today! I've also wondered what was meant by "hog-eyed". It doesn't sound like something you'd call your buddy, but maybe that's just me.

hoodoo - Posted - 05/29/2020:  09:16:33

I think that its some bawdy slang of yore

bjcole - Posted - 05/29/2020:  09:55:57

I don’t know if it’s related or not, but Clifton Chenier sang this:

Jimmy Sutton - Posted - 05/30/2020:  03:23:45

There is a blues song which includes the words "My girl's got something that looks like a boar hog's eye".

I have also heard it explained as a version of "hug-eyed" an eye defect such as that endured by Bill Monroe in childhood.

ndlxs - Posted - 05/30/2020:  05:27:35

There is also fiddler Hiram Stamper's version, here taught by David Braggart as filtered through Rafe Stefanini.  

I've been working this up: the only problem is that to play it on banjo with the A part low and the B part high, you have to move it to the key of C in double C tuning.  A video later today if I can pull it off.

olbap - Posted - 05/30/2020:  12:49:54

I recorded this one 3 years ago.

Based on Polo Burgière fiddle.

Edited by - olbap on 05/30/2020 12:50:08

JanetB - Posted - 05/30/2020:  14:54:17

Great job winging it and cramming in a short time, hoodoo. Your nicely played version seems to be the most accepted one. There are similarities, as you say, to all three tunes, but also differences. Sally in the Garden is furthest from the other two, in my ear. My medley here comes after listening to the 1937 recording of Luther Strong's crooked Hog Eyed Man and Dwight Diller's version of Sally a-Siftin' Sand. It modulates when going to Dwight's version, which I believe is really Hog Eyed Man, but stayed in the G modal tuning of aDGCD. I'm still debating as to whether or not Sally should be in regular sawmill, gDGCD, as in my tab below. The fifth string rings discordantly at times either way. The last crooked measure in Luther's version is a variation with a higher note, which he played only once out of several times times through.

Don Borchelt - Posted - 06/01/2020:  10:27:12

Great TOTW, it's called up some great sounds. I love the deep growly tones of hoodoo and Pablo's picking, on the Sally in the Garden variety of the tune. Janet's picking has such a fine, mystical quality to it, always lovely and evocative.

I play the Hiram Stamper/Bruce Greene version of the tune, which sounds to me to be pretty far from the Henry Reedish Sallyish tune. I'm eager to hear what Andy does with it. I made a video back in April for a Hog Eyed Man Facebook banjo challenge that Banjo Dai over in Devon, England had going for a time.


Jack Baker - Posted - 06/01/2020:  13:51:44

Love it Don...J

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories