3/18/2005 06:06:00 AM|||Geoffrey Balasoglou|||I'm going to begin this post with the a version of Stagger Lee by the great "Godfather of Soul" James Brown. It was recorded in 1967 for the album "Cold Sweat" and was released on King Records. It showcases James Brown in peak form and its an amazingly entertaining cover. In fact it's probably one of my favourite non-blues Stagger Lee influenced song, the highlight being Brown's screams of "Don't, Don't, Nooo, Aww, Come on, Come on, Come on, Hey, Come on, Get it" towards the end of the track.

James Brown - Stagger Lee

Alright, now I'm going to get back to the "Jazz" side of Stagger Lee.

The next track by Waring's Pennsylvanians is one of the oldest versions of Stack O'Lee posted this week. The Pennsylvanians recorded "Stack O'Lee Blues" in 1923 for Victor. The Pennsylvanians were founded by the Waring brothers, Fred & Tom and their friends Buck and Poley McClintock, with Fred eventually taking up the band leadership. Its interesting to note that one of the Pennsylvanian's best hits "Sleep" was recorded in the same recording session as Stack O'Lee Blues. Indeed the band was in top form that day, and its a delightful recording with some very nice hand/hat muted solos by the horn players.

Waring's Pennsylvanians - Stack O'Lee Blues

Mention Cliff Edwards to any person on a street, and chances are that they won't know who he was. However it is likely that they would have heard him sometime in their life. Cliff Edwards was the voice of Jiminy Cricket in the Disney production of Pinocchio, he also sung "When You Wish Upon A Star" for the same film production. Cliff Edwards was also a very talented Ukelele player, so much so that it earned him the nickname "Ukelele Ike". Cliff Edwards recorded Stack O'Lee Part 1 & 2 in 1928 for Columbia Records. Cliff Edwards tells of the story of "Stack O'Lee" over two sides of 78rpm record. Instead of dealing directly with the murder of Billy Lyons, Edwards concentrates on the story of both Stagger Lee and his Wife after the murder. It's an intriging variation from the normal form. Edwards also adds a little humour to this version of Stack O'Lee when at the end of part one he sings "this song is just about half through, to get it all on here I've tried. You better stop your machine, turn your record over and play the other side. And you'll hear more of the song called Stagger Lee". The setting of the music is largely based in jazz and features a clarinetist backing Edward's own unique Ukelele playing. Towards the end of part two, Edwards can be heard playing the Kazoo and humming/singing in a style unique to him. At Cliff Edwards death he had been completely forgotten, I'd like to pay respect to him, and ensure that his music lives on in the memory of the living.

Cliff Edwards - Stack O'Lee Part One


Cliff Edwards - Stack O'Lee Part Two

Yesterday I posted Sidney Bechet version of Stack O'Lee Blues, the pianist on that recording was Art Hodes, this is Art's version recording 40 years! after his recording with Bechet. It's surprising to hear the very strong similarities between the original, and the newer version. I prefer Bechet's original recording, the clarinetist on this newer recording isn't too original, almost copying Bechet note for note (especially at the beginning). There is a relatively nice guitar solo in the middle and Art Hodes gets more solo time on the piano which somewhat redeems this rendition recorded in 1987.

Art Hodes - Stack O'Lee Blues

I have to admit I'm not very clued up on contemporary Appalachian Musicians, however I've always thought Banjo player Bert Garvin's version of Stackolee as to be one of the best modern attempts to maintain the unique traditional Appalachian sound. Bert Garvin even reminds me a bit of Dock Boggs in the way he plays the Banjo and sings (edit: I talked to Peter and he says that Bert is more closer to Roscoe Holcomb than Dock Boggs) is heard here with fiddle player J.P. Fraley. It's a pleasant recording, and its nice to see that the spirit of the Old Stack O'Lee is still alive, (it hasn't been entirely destroyed by Rock & Roll (as Joe Bussard would say)).

Bert Garvin (with J.P. Fraley) - Stackolee

I've been planning to post Sol Hoopii for the whole week. But its getting very late for me.

Hopefully I'll get time to post it tomorrow.

Until then, I hope you enjoy the versions of Stagger Lee that I posted today.
I've had lots of fun writing about Stagger Lee, I'm sure Peter has too.
Thanks again to everyone who has contributed and/or listened to the tracks this week!
|||111115084302694092|||That Bad Man Stagger Lee