The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #50640   Message #769290
Posted By: John Minear
21-Aug-02 - 05:11 PM
Thread Name: Wild Boar: History, Lyrics & Discussion-Child #18
Subject: RE: Wild Boar: History, Lyrics & Discussion
MMario, thanks for the three tunes. I'd seen the SING OUT! references but didn't know how to transcribe them. I confess that I don't know how to read these tunes that you've posted, but I know that other folks do. There is a great interview with Nimrod Workman by Rich Kirby in SING OUT! that includes the music for "Quil O'Quay", but I don't have the volume or date. You can hear him sing this song with Phyllis Boyens on PASSING THRU THE GARDEN (June Appal 001), which I think is still available on cassette. You can also see and hear Phyllis sing part of the song on Alan Lomax's video, "Appalachian Journey"(?)

I found the music for Buna Hicks' version in a little book by Thomas G. Burton, called SOME BALLAD FOLKS, published, I think, by East Tennessee State University Press. I copied the title page, but it doesn't have the publisher or date on it. The words are on page 22(same as Sandy's version), and the music is on page 65. There was a cassette that came with the book that has a recording of this song almost identical to that on the Folk-Legacy album.

There is another piece of information in Burton's book that clears up what had become something of a mystery. What is the meaning of the refrain "Blow your horn Center"? More specifically, what is the meaning of "Center"? If you compare Buna Hicks version and Sam Harmon's version with that of Child C, then "Center" has been substituted for "good hunter",

SIR ROBERT BOLTON had three sons,
[Wind well thy horn, good hunter]
And one of them was called Sir Ryalas.
[For he was a jovial hunter]

In his book, after giving Buna Hicks' "Jobal Hunter", Burton says, "She has added an initial verse from Mrs. Rena(Hicks)...

Abram Bailey had three sons,
And the youngest one was Center.
All to the wildwoods he went
Just like a jobal hunter.

This is compared to Sam Harmon's first verse:

Abram Bailey he'd three sons
Blow your horn center
And he is through the wildwood gone
Just like a jovial hunter.

This would indicate that "Center" is the name of Abram Bailey's youngest son, and that somehow this fell out of Sam Harmon's version. Burton goes on to give a "composite of Rena Hicks' written and recited version" as follows (p. 62).

Abe and Bailey had three sons;
The youngest was called Center.
He's gone to the Green's woods hunting
Just like a jobal hunter.

As he walked up the Green Brier Ridge,
Blow your horn, Center,
There he met a Gaily-Dee,
Just like a jobal hunter.

She says, "There is a wild boar in these woods;
Blow your horn, Center,
For he has killed my lord and forty men,
As you are the jobal hunter.

He says, "Oh, how am I to know?"
Blow your horn, Center,
Blow your horn north, east, west and south,
As you are the jobal hunter."

He blowed his horn nothr, east, west, and south,
Blow your horn, Center.
The wild boar hear him unto his den,
Just like a jobal hunter.

And as they crossed the White Oak Mountain,
Blow your horn, Center,
On their way they went again,
Just like a jobal hunter.

As he slayed the wild boar,
Blow your horn, Center,
The oak and ash they did bend,
As he was a jobal hunter.

They met the old witch wife on a bridge,
Blow your horn, Center,
"Begone, you rogue; you've killed my pig,
As you are the jobal hunter.

She says, "These three things I crave of yourn,
Blow your horn, Center,
'S your 'hawk, your hound, and your Gaily-Dee,
As you are the jobal hunter."

He says, "These three things you can't have of mine."
Blow your horn, Center.
"Is my 'hawk, my hound, and my Gaily-Dee,"
Just like a jobal hunter.

He split the old witch wife through the chin,
Blow your horn, Center.
And on their way they went again,
As you are the jobal hunter.

Burton did not record Rena Hicks singing this song, since she could no longer sing, and does not give any music for it. If you compare the lyrics of this version with those of Sam Harmon, you will see that they are directly related, and I think, come from a common source, the Hicks/Harmon family tradition.

I especially like the "Gaily-Dee".