Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bad-Man Stagolee

Bad-Man Stagolee
By Margaret Walker
From For My People (1942)

That Stagolee was an all-right lad
Till he killed a cop and turned out bad
Though some do say to this very day
He killed more’n one ‘fore he killed that ‘fay.
But anyhow the tale ain’t new
How Stagolee just up and slew
A big policeman on ’leventh street
And all he knowed was tweet-tweet-tweet
Oh I ‘speck he’d done some too-bad dirt
Wid dat blade he wore unnerneaf his shirt
And it ain’t been said, but he coulda had
A dirk in his pocket ‘cause he sho was bad
But one thing’s certain and two things’s sho
His bullets made holes no doc could cyo.
And that there cop was good and done
When he met Stagolee and that blue boy’s gun.
But the funniest thing about the job
Was he never got caught by no mob
And he missed the lynching meant for his hide
‘Cause nobody knows how Stagolee died.
Bad-Man Stagolee ain’t no more
But his ghost still walks up and down the shore
Of Old Man River round New Orleans
With her gumbo, rice, and good red beans!

Mississippi John Hurt - Stagolee : Vanguard Visionaries - Mississippi John Hurt

Lloyd Price - Stagger Lee : Stagger Lee 7" (get it on The Best of Lloyd Price: Millennium Collection)

Wilson Pickett - Stag-O-Lee : I'm In Love 7" B-side (get it on The Definitive Collection)

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Stagger Lee : Murder Ballads

Read about the background of the story of Stagger Lee.


Anonymous said...

Stagolee is a great tune. Thanks for all these versions! You should check out the version by PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric), if you aren't already familiar. Same goes for Nobody's Dirty Business, by Mississippi John Hurt.

Random Passerby

Sean said...

Hey RP (Random Passerby)

I do have the PG&E version - good stuff as well!

I have not listened to Nobody's Dirty Business though. I'll be sure to find it and check it out. Thanks!

Craig Rosen said...

Cool, but what about "Wrong 'Em Boyo" by the Clash?