Red Rocking Chair [Sugar Babe]

24 Jan

(click here for tab)

[eEABD tuning]

It can hardly get more “traditional” than this one folks, and trying to ascribe authorship to any one person is a lost cause. The earliest known mention of anything related to the song is found in volume 28 (April-June, 1915) of the Journal of American Folklore in an article entitled Songs From the South written by University of Louisville professor E.C. Perrow.  Perrow includes lyrics for a certain song he calls Done All I Can Do (p.189) which he collected “From negroes; Mississippi; Ms. of W.G. Pitts; 1909.”  Outside of that reference, folklorists seems to agree that the song has a close lyrical connection with an old Child ballad known as The Lass of Roch-Royal [#76] (youtube example). As for recorded examples, Dock Boggs recorded a variation of the tune under the title “Sugar Baby” [Brunswick 118] back in 1927 and numerous others have recorded it under names like Red Apple Juice, Honey Baby, and I Ain’t Got No Honey Baby Now over the years.

Here’r a couple pages to check out if you’d like more info: Bluegrass Messengers &

I’ve arranged this in a pretty odd tuning, but I think it does the trick. Hope you enjoy playing it as much as I do.


3 Responses to “Red Rocking Chair [Sugar Babe]”

  1. John Hayes 01/25/2011 at 4:27 pm #

    Love your blog–great discussions, great tab. FWIW, your link to Mudcat leads to an access denied message (for me at least). I know that site seems to go through spells of this, & that seems to have been the case recently–can’t access them through Google searches (except cached pages) or even from their own Facebook page.

    • 2ftlbanjer 01/27/2011 at 1:22 pm #

      Thanks for the heads-up, John. Mudcat CAN be kind of finicky. The link works on my end, but I reposted the link anyway in hopes that it might make a difference. Also, thanks for the kind words. I’m having a good time and it’s good know others are too. Take care. – Sean

  2. John Hayes 01/27/2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Thanks for the follow-up, Sean. I still can’t access Mudcat, but so it goes. But I love Thumb-Lead Banjar!

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