The (true) legend of Stagolee


23 Responses to “The (true) legend of Stagolee”

  1. Paul Renault says: way of Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, with a little country blues:

    His honorary doctorate was long overdue.

  2. RadioSilence says:

    Cool but… did it have to be in comic sans? Oof! ;)

  3. John B. Seals says:

    Maggie: Great stuff! 

  4. tomservojr says:

    I’m a lifelong Grateful Dead fan, but I’ve gotta give Nick Cave the edge on this one. Wonderfully NSFW.

  5. Keith Soltys says:

    The legend of Stagger Lee gets another treatment in this wonderful graphic novel by
    Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix.

  6. TombKing says:

    Yes, and I never knew the full story till after I left my hometown of St. Louis. In checking on other murder ballads I found that Franky and Johnny is also based on a St. Louis murder.

  7. John Napsterista says:

    Pacific Gas & Electric did a great version of “Staggolee” in 1970, which was introduced to a new audience by its inclusion on the Deathproof soundtrack:

  8. legsmalone says:

    I prefer Nick Cave’s version for its unapologetic delivery. And the fact that the violinist/multiinstrumentalist is Warren Ellis. And years later I learned there was an author named Warren Ellis. And they know each other and each is often mistaken for the other.

    • C W says:

      Perfect timing for this, now that Cave is doing a pretty big US tour.

      I was very sad that the Ellises were not the same. They even look vaguely similar!

  9. Ito Kagehisa says:

    I like the Rayna Gellert / Uncle Earl version.

  10. Nylund says:

    My favorites would also include those mentioned, Nick Cave and Pacific Gas and Electric.  Others that I like:
    The Clash:

    Mississippi John Hurt: Stackolee

  11. Boundegar says:

    Funny you should mention him, because there’s a liquor store near me called Staggerlee’s, and I got curious and had to look him up, just a couple of weeks ago.  I was left with the feeling that he was more or less a nobody, who stumbled into a blues song.

  12. L_Mariachi says:

    A little OT, but

    In gangsta rap, the performers are acting out the lives of the criminals in an effort to dispel the criminal from their midst, as a way to get rid of the negative energy.

    seems like the result of impressive forensic contortions. I get the thread of the Stagolee icon from blues ballad to rock to rap, but gangsta rap as magical warding ritual is a huge leap.

    • rastronomicals says:

      Agreed. Seems like people will write any old shit.  

      Beyond the foolishness of trying to rehabilitate Gangsta Rap, basically, “similar” does not mean “the same as.”

      Stagger Lee was a bad motherfucker with criminal connections, and the Stetson was his bling, but I think the author’s contention that every bad man song sine 1895 is formally indebted to Stagger Lee to be a bit much.

      The explicit connections are plentiful and interesting enough, you don’t need to go inventing connections for things that were merely formed by the same timeless desires

  13. My extended family has a reunion each year and many of them are great singers. One uncle always sings “Stagger Lee” and the whole family shouts out “Go Stagger Lee” at the end of each verse.  I first heard the song in a family bar when I was a kid in New Orleans and have loved it every since.  I’m 62 now and can’t wait for the next family reunion.

  14. Jonathan Roberts says:

    “The final act of brutality, where the great Stagger Lee blows the head off Billy . . . while he is committing fellatio [was] especially attractive,” said Cave.
    Anyone else think of the Shawshank Redemption when they read that?

  15. TheMudshark says:

    Count on comic sans as the font of choice to tell a happy story.

  16. B E Pratt says:

    Surprised that no one mentioned the Dr John version on Gumbo, still a  fave album of mine. The spelling for that one was Stagger Lee. It was the first time I had ever heard the song so I am rather sentimental about it.

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