Pig in a Pen

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PIG IN A PEN. AKA - "Pig in the Pen," "Pig at Home in a Pen." Old-Time, Bluegrass; Breakdown & Song. A popular piece in bluegrass tradition, although it started as an old-time piece. It was recorded (as "Pig at Home in the Pen") in February, 1937, in Charlotte, North Carolina, by Tennessee’s Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith accompanied by Alton & Rabon Delmore (recording as "The Arthur Smith Trio"). Smith claimed to have composed it and did play it frequently on the radio, but Mike Yates (2002) believes some of the verses predate Smith. Verses are mutable and sometimes spontaneous, but usually are similar to:

Wish I had a pig in a pen, corn to feed him on;
Pretty little girl to stay at home, feed him when I’m gone.

Yates recorded Augusta County, Virginia, fiddler “Pug” Allen singing the same verse in his version of the tune “Nigger Trader Boatman,” and Yates also finds Charlie Woods’ “Pretty Girl Down the Road” to be a related piece.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources:

Recorded sources: Bluebird B-7043, The Arthur Smith Trio (1937). Musical Traditions MTCD 321-2, Sam Connor & Dent Wimmer (et al) – “Far in the Mountains, vols. 1 & 2” (2002).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear fiddler Joe Birchfield and the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers play the tune at the Digital Library of Appalachia [2]




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