The Longest Song Wiki

This traditional capstan chanty is believed to have originated in the southern United States during the 19th century. The song made its way into wider verse but is believed to be tied to shipping vessels on Missouri and Mississippi rivers directly in support of the railroad industry.

Many of the song's lyrics are shared with Johnny Come Down to Hilo and, in fact, the two songs share a tune.

About the song, many famous collectors of folk songs have claimed that the vast majority of the song's verses cannot be published for reasons of decency. It is one of the more bawdy chanties in existence.

Though Andy leads the song, verses are alternated with Anna during performances.

Factoids

A "Hogeye" was a type of barge used to ship cargo in support of the railway industry particular to the southern United States in the 19th century. They were reputed to have been a design pioneered in Missouri (fitting, given how many Hogeyes there are in Missouri), though records suggest usage as far west as California and as far east as Florida.

Hogeye is believed to have become a derisive term that ocean-faring sailors used for in-land riverboat sailors.

Lyrics

These lyrics are based on the version performed by the Longest Johns in their livestreams.

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

Chorus:
With a hog-eye!
Railroad navvy with his hog-eye,
Steady on a jig with a hog-eye, oh,
She wants the hog-eyed man!

Oh, the hog-eye man is the man for me,
Sailin' down from across the sea!

{Chorus}

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

{Chorus}

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

{Chorus}

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

{Chorus}

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

{Chorus}

Oh, Sally's in the garden, shelling peas,
The hog-eye man sitting on her knees!

{Chorus}

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

{Chorus}
Oh, a hog-eye ship and a hog-eye crew,
A hog-eyed mate and a skipper too.

{Chorus til finish}