3/18/2005 09:25:00 AM|||peter patnaik|||Today is last real day of Stagolee, there will be a few tracks (Geoff's belated Sol Hoppii post :D) and some other Hawaiian guitar players as well as a swell Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Slim and Sonny Boy Williamson version that will be posted on the permanent Stagolee page (permanent until the man tells me to take it down, I guess) and on the front page over the weekend. It has been a lot of fun to hear all these versions as well as getting to talk to more of the readers about blues and other forms of music. If you are reading Honey for the first time, I hope you stick around for next week and the launch of a Pre-War Blues Video Torrent Collection as well as the best in Pre-War Blues and Gospel the internet can hold. A few people have emailed me saying that the comments aren't working, I'm guessing this is a blogger issues as they seem to work for me, but I don't know. I do know it took me a good hour to post my posting yesterday cause I could not connect to the blogger server, then it posted the posting four times, so I'm guessing the server is just screwy. Thanks Again.

I'm going to start off today with my two favorite versions of Stagolee. The first is by the patron saint of Honey, Where You Been So Long, Ma Rainey. Ma Rainey is the only female version of the song I've heard(I know that Ike and Tina Turner did a version, but I haven't hear that yet) and she frames the song in the Frankie and Johnny style ballad in which Stack O Lee was her man and a bad man, but does not mention Billy Lyons or any specific murder. Furry Lewis on the other hand details the killing of Billy in great detail and from several different points of view. It also features Lewis' wonderful guitar work and I just love the refrain "When You Lose Yer Money, Learn To Lose."

Ma Rainey - Stack O' Lee
Furry Lewis - Billy Lyons and Stack O' Lee

Alex Abramovich sends in the most abstract interpretation of the Stagolee legend with Sly and the Family Stone's Thank You For Talkin' To Me Africa the alternative version of Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) that includes a loose interpretation of the legend in the beginning part of this space-funk track. It's a bigger file (8.5) megs for ya'll on dial up.

Sly and The Family Stone - Thank You For Talkin' To Me Africa

Twua from Tuwa's Shanty, sent in a handful of tracks the other day. The first one is Beck doing a version of Mississippi John Hurt's version of Stagolee and mostly succeeding. Next and a really strong version by the great Dave Van Ronk who sings the ballad with the intensity of a political chant. Van Ronk's version is based on the same version as the Furry Lewis which is my personal favorite. The last track is a live version by Taj Mahal, I'm not sure what's up with his guitar sound on this track, but it's pretty off putting to me, but I like the phrasing of the song better on this one than the other one.

Beck - Stagolee
Dave Van Ronk - Stagger Lee
Taj Mahal - Stagger Lee (Live)

Thomas Howard sends in this version by a Yugoslavian blues performer Ben Andrews. The track is pretty strong and features some really fun foot stompin' and good guitar playing.

Ben Andrews - Stagolee

Steven Hanna sends in one of my favorite new takes on the song by the blues-rock band the Black Keys. Steven writes this about the track:

Fat Possum has pretty much run out of crusty old blues men, and is evidently looking to sign young, hip, blues-influenced pop acts, like Black Keys. I've been playing Rubber Factory a lot, and if you aren't irritated by the recent popularity of bass-less duos, its really worth picking up. It was recorded in an empty tire factory in Akron, so in spite of the crunchy guitars, it has that under-produced quality that yer typical pre-war blues fan craves.

Black Keys - Stack Shot Billy

Zap Blackhawk from the french blog So The Wind Won't Blow It All Away sends this wonderful version by Dave Bartholomew (who played on the Archibald track from yesterday). It starts off a bit smooth-jazzy but it's fresh interpretation of the track that sympathizes with Stagolee rather than making him a villain.

Dave Bartholomew - Son Of Stagger Lee

Laura Koenig sends in a classic finger-picked version of the ballad by North Carolina's own Doc Watson. The track is really wonderful and features Doc Watson signature guitar playing style and that wonderful voice. The track is encoded as a .m4a file which I could play fine, and I'm sure winamp will also play.

Doc Watson - Stackolee

Jahquarius, Chris Nelson of the really fun blog Lemon-Red (anyone who loves Arrested Development that much can't be bad.) and Mateo Manta Verde of One Perfect Green Blanket the blog who shouldn't go on vacation next week, all sent in the powerful Nick Cave version which features the highest body count out of all Stagger Lee versions, combined really. Also the only version to borrow lines from that Snatch and the Poontangs song that Mark Coleslaw posted so very long ago. It's a big file, but I have two different versions and qualities for those you on dial up.

Nick Cave - Stagger Lee (big)
Nick Cave - Stagger Lee (small)

Paul Pritchard and Patrick Bal send in Professor Longhair's take on the track here is what Paul had to say about the track:

Dr. Longhair's "Stag-O-Lee"[was] taken from the 1974 record "Rock'n'Roll Gumbo" - which was recorded in just two days in Longhair's hometown Bogalusa, Lousiana. The fierce guitar solos are by "Gatemouth" Brown.

Professor Longhair - Stag-O-Lee

The last song this week is a rambling version by Bert Jansch sent in by Philip Smoker. The track recorded live in the early 60s features some fancy guitar work by Jansch that just rambles and rambles all over the vocals (in a good way).

Bert Jansch - Stagolee|||111116321468240251|||Carried Him To The Cemetery, But They Did Not Bring Him Back3/19/2005 03:31:29 PM|||Anonymous|||You know Snatch and The Poontangs also have a version of Stack A Lee called "the great stack a lee". I took the liberty of making a yousendit file an adding a link to it here.


Everyone should go out and buy this album now!!3/19/2005 05:12:21 PM|||dog latin|||hey, any way you could post the Lloyd Price version? I'd love to hear it. this stuff is great.3/19/2005 05:29:16 PM|||peter patnaik|||hey thanks for the snatch stack a lee song.

the Lloyd Price version was posted on wed. i know it's hard to manage the site right now, but it will better to find all the stag songs when i have a seperate page for them.3/20/2005 01:59:24 AM|||Andy|||I am downloading the last version of "Stagolee" as I write this. Boy, that Beach Boys version was atrocious? It's definitely no Pet Sounds or "Good Vibrations" (or even "Help Me, Rhonda") is it?

"Stagolee Week," in my mind, has been a really great accomplishment, not only for you and all of the people who were involved (both as givers and takers), but also as a historical event. So far as I know, no other music blog has hosted an event anything like this - in a single week, people from all over the world came together and contributed to a cause in which so many different views on a single subject were gathered together for the benefit of many. I know this might sound a little melodramatic, but when you think about it, something like this would have been so much more difficult, if not impossible, even ten years ago. We've gone from scratchy albums that barely survived a century in the hands of a few collectors to immortal digital copies of music that have been shared, all coming together for "Stagolee Week." In my opinion, "Stagolee Week," given a little more historical background information, is on the same level as a museum exhibit, or an art exhibition on a single theme. Think about it.

"Billy Lyons will be killed a few more times today." - possibly the most poetic line ever written in an mp3 blog

Congratulations! This was really something special. I am happy that I was able to at least witness it, even if I did not personally contribute.3/20/2005 02:24:31 PM|||Anonymous|||Congratulations and thanks to Peter and Geoff for Stackoweek. It has been a huge success, and a real eye-opener for me.
~Steve Hanna