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Lyr Add: Stagalee (from J & A Lomax)


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Metchosin 08 Nov 99 - 05:50 PM
GUEST,Tony of Hertford 10 May 04 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,Jim Dixon 10 May 04 - 02:47 PM
dick greenhaus 11 May 04 - 12:26 AM
Earfirst 10 Mar 18 - 06:43 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: STAGALEE (from J & A Lomax)
From: Metchosin
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 05:50 PM

This variation of Stagalee was collected February 9, 1910 from a Miss Ella Scott Fisher, San Angelo Texas and appears in a Compilation of American Ballads and Folk Songs (1934) by John and Allan Lomax. It was sung as a work song on the levees while loading and unloading the river freighters.

Stagalee (Variation)

"Twas a Christmas morning,
The hour was about ten,
When Stagalee shot Billy Lyons
And landed in the Jefferson pen.
O Lordy, po' Stagalee!

Billy Lyons' old woman
She was a terrible sinner
She was home that Christmas mornin'
A-preparin' Billy's dinner.
O Lordy, po' Stagalee!

Messenger boy came to the winder,
Then he knocked on the door
An' he said "Yer old man's a lyin' there
Dead on the barroom floor."
O Lordy, po' Stagalee!

(Billy's Old Woman:)
"Stagalee, O Stagalee,
What have you gone and done?
You've gon and shot my husband
With a forty-four gatlin' gun?"
O Lordy, po' Stagalee!

(Stagalee's Friend:)
"Stagalee, O Stagalee
Why don't you cut and run
For here comes the policeman
And I think he's got a gun."
O Lordy, po' Stagalee!

(Policeman, a little scared of Stagalee:)
"Stagalee, O Stagalee
I'm 'restin' you just for fun
The officer jest wants you
To identify your gun."
O Lordy, po' Stagalee!

(Stagalee in jail:)
"Jailer, O Jailer
I jest can't sleep
For the ghost of Billy Lyons
Round my bed does mourn and weep."
O Lordy, po' Stagalee!

(Council for the Defense:)
"Gentlemen of this jury
You must let poor Stagalee go
His poor and aged mammy
Is lyin' very low."
O Lordy, po' Stagalee!

(Counsel for the Prosecution:)
"Gentlemen of this jury
Wipe away your tears.
For Stagalee's aged mammy
Has been dead these 'leven years."
O Lordy, po' Stagalee!

Stagalee's old woman
She hung around the jail
And in three days she had him out
On a ten-thousand-dollar bail
O Lordy, po' Stagalee!

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Subject: Lyr Add: STAGOLEE
From: GUEST,Tony of Hertford
Date: 10 May 04 - 05:35 AM

Here's a version we used to sing in the funny farm:

Stagolee was a bad man, as everybody knows
Stole a hundred dollars, to poke something up his nose
He was a bad man, that mean old Stagolee

Stagolee shot Billy Lyons, cos Billy stole his favourite hat
he wore it to church on Sunday. Whatcha think about that?
He was a bad man, that mean old Stagolee

Billy said I got two little children and a tender loving wife
and a mother-in-law of eight four, so please spare my life.
He was a bad man, that mean old Stagolee

Now what do I care about your brats, or your mean-faced sharp-tongued wife
Or your mother in law and her slack jaw, You never had a life!
He was a bad man, that mean old Stagolee

The judge said Stagolee, remove your hat, you know that crime don't pay
So off to the electric chair and have a real nice day!
He was a bad man, that mean old Stagolee

At twelve o'clock they pulled the switch and in that chair he died
Last thing he said was "Take my hat, I don't want to see it fried.'
He was a bad man, that mean old Stagolee
He was a bad man, that mean old Stagolee

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Stagalee
From: GUEST,Jim Dixon
Date: 10 May 04 - 02:47 PM

"mother-in-law of eight four" -- what does that mean? eight stone, four pounds?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Stagalee
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 May 04 - 12:26 AM

Make that eighty four.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Stagalee; adapt from Miss. John Hurt
From: Earfirst
Date: 10 Mar 18 - 06:43 PM

Stagolee adaptation

Researching shorter ballad-like repertoire, I hit upon Stagolee
as done by Mississippi John Hurt. He presents the early action
in spoken prose. Our usual audience isn't used to that, so I
versified MJH's preface, setting up the excuse for the murder
in an un-historical way.

I cut the action off at the murder itself; the trial and Stag's
defiant words are outside the audience expectations.

Here's my version (copyleft); use it as you like and maybe credit "Dog-Dare Dave".


Tell y'bout a bad man, mean as a man can be.
Made himself a name, a name to fear and the name was Stagolee.
    That bad man, that cruel Stagolee!

Po- licin' Officer: how can it be
you can 'rest ever'body but mean Stagolee?
    That bad man, ...

Down in the coal mine we done robbed, gamblin' goin' on,
money all flyin' and lyin' around and coldly lookin' on:
    That bad man, ...

Billy Bildad, he thinks he's bad, got a 45 lyin' by.
He's ridin' high, and by and by Stagolee gives him the eye,
    That bad man, ...

"Boys, look at all that money just a-lyin' there on the floor.
How'd we be if old _ Stagolee come walkin' thu that door?
    That bad man, ...

Stop our playin', hear Billy sayin' "Wouldn' make no never-mind.
Stag's gun don't shoot, no rooty-toot-toot, one skeeterfart harder than mine."
    That bad man, ...

Stag knocks his own hat off, lands smack in Billy's lap.
It's plain to see, old Stagolee is spoilin' fer a scrap.
    That bad man, ...

Billy looks at that Stetson hat, then he looks 'roun' at the rest.
He's startin' to think he's on the brink of somethin' not fer the best.
    That bad man, ...

"Stagolee, Stagolee, please don't take my life."
Says "I've _ got _ two little babies and a darlin' lovin' wife."
    That bad man, ...

"Why I care 'bout yer two little babies, darlin' lovin' wife?
You done stole my Stetson hat, I'm bound to take your life.
    It's a magic hat!" (that cruel Stagolee!)

Boom-boom, boom-boom, with a forty-four.
Next thing we see it's poor Bil-lee, he's lyin' dead on the floor.
    That bad man, ...

Po- licin' Officer: how can it be
you can 'rest ever'body but mean Stagolee?
    That bad man, ...

    That bad man, that cruel,
    Don't care about no rule,
    That lowdown showdown fool

DZ, 2018\3\10

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