Sugar Hill

14 Apr

(click here for tab)

[gCGCE tuning]

According to Andrew Kuntz’ Fiddler’s Companion website, “this song has African-American roots and the phrase ‘Sugar hill’ is said to signify the ‘wild part of town’, the red-light district.” Tom Paley, one of the founding members of the New Lost City Ramblers, says that getting one’s “eye knocked out” is a euphemism for sex.  Either way this number has a ton of rowdy lyrics which certainly make this a fun one to holler.

The first recorded version was done by Crockett Ward & His Boys (OKeh 45179, 1928) and subsequent versions are too numerous to recount here.  Check out the Bluegrass Messengers pages dedicated to Sugar Hill for tons of excellent information regarding the song’s history and the artists who have recorded it. If you’re into that kind of stuff that is…

Playing tips: The tuning is known as “Open-C” and was a favorite among players like Uncle Dave Macon and Frank Proffitt. There are a couple chord shapes included in the tab which will hopefully help out – especially in the B part. Just remember to keep your finger on the 1st string/3rd fret throughout the 9th-11th measures (until the pull-off) and you’ll be just fine.


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