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Which version of Stagger Lee is the best?


jaxson50

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I had not heard the Taj Mahal version before. Thanks.

 

I suppose I like Mississippi John Hurts best of all. It’s one of the first fingerpicked tunes I learned.

It’s also more than one song. This early version is the same as ‘Frankie & Johnny’, which was a re-write I think. It carries the alternative title ‘Stack O’ Lee Blues’.

 

I just came across this history piece:

http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2011/04/stack-o-lee-stagolee-blues-murder-ballads

 

The song was re-imagined and re-written by & for the Grateful Dead. These are Bob Hunter’s lyrics

 

1948, Xmas eve, with a full moon over town

Stagger Lee shot Billy DeLions

And he blew that poor boy down.

Do you know what he shot him for?

What do you make of that?

Cause Billy DeLions threw the lucky dice

Won Stagger Lee's Stetson hat.

 

Bayo, Bayo, tell me how can this be?

You arrest the girls for turning tricks

But you're scared of Stagger Lee.

Stagger Lee is a madman and he shot my Billy D.

Bayo go get him or give the job to me.

 

Delia DeLions, dear sweet Delia-D

How the hell can I arrest him? He's twice as big as me.

Well don't ask me to go downtown, I won't come back alive (no more)

Not only is that mother big but he packs a .45 (four)

 

Bayo, Delia said, just give me a gun

He shot my Billy dead now I'm gonna see him hung.

She went into the DeLion's club through Billy DeLions blood

Stepped up to Stagger Lee at the bar,

Said, "Buy me a gin fizz, love."

 

As Stagger Lee lit a cigarette she shot him in the balls

Blew the smoke off her revolver, had him dragged to city hall

 

Bayo, Bayo, see you hang him high

He shot my Billy dead and now he's got to die.

Delia went a walking down on Singapore Street

A three-piece band on the corner played "Near My God to Thee"

But Delia whistled a different tune, what tune could it be?

The song that woman sung was "Look Out Stagger Lee".

The song that Delia sung was "Look Out Stagger Lee".

 

Written by Jerome J. Garcia, Robert C. Hunter • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The song was re-imagined and re-written by & for the Grateful Dead. These are Bob Hunter’s lyrics

 

 

 

Written by Jerome J. Garcia, Robert C. Hunter • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

You beat me to it. This is the one that is probably my favorite. Just something about the way that Jerry sings that makes it enjoyable to me. :)

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