Stagolee Shot Billy

Stagolee Shot Billy

by Cecil Brown
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0674016262

ISBN-13: 9780674016262

Pub. Date: 09/30/2004

Publisher: Harvard

Although his story has been told countless times--by performers from Ma Rainey, Cab Calloway, and the Isley Brothers to Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown, and Taj Mahal--no one seems to know who Stagolee really is. Stack Lee? Stagger Lee? He has gone by all these names in the ballad that has kept his exploits before us for over a century. Delving into a subculture

Overview

Although his story has been told countless times--by performers from Ma Rainey, Cab Calloway, and the Isley Brothers to Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown, and Taj Mahal--no one seems to know who Stagolee really is. Stack Lee? Stagger Lee? He has gone by all these names in the ballad that has kept his exploits before us for over a century. Delving into a subculture of St. Louis known as "Deep Morgan," Cecil Brown emerges with the facts behind the legend to unfold the mystery of Stack Lee and the incident that led to murder in 1895.

How the legend grew is a story in itself, and Brown tracks it through variants of the song "Stack Lee"--from early ragtime versions of the '20s, to Mississippi John Hurt's rendition in the '30s, to John Lomax's 1940s prison versions, to interpretations by Lloyd Price, James Brown, and Wilson Pickett, right up to the hip-hop renderings of the '90s. Drawing upon the works of James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and Ralph Ellison, Brown describes the powerful influence of a legend bigger than literature, one whose transformation reflects changing views of black musical forms, and African Americans' altered attitudes toward black male identity, gender, and police brutality. This book takes you to the heart of America, into the soul and circumstances of a legend that has conveyed a painful and elusive truth about our culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674016262
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
09/30/2004
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Tradition of Stagolee

I. STAGOLEE AND ST. LOUIS

1. Stagolee Shot Billy

2. Lee Shelton: The Man behind the Myth

3. That Bad Pimp of Old St. Louis: The Oral Poetry of the Late 1890s

4. "Poor Billy Lyons"

5. Narrative Events and Narrated Events

6. Stagolee and Politics

7. Under the Lid: The Underside of the Political Struggle

8. The Black Social Clubs

9. Hats and Nicknames: Symbolic Values

10. Ragtime and Stagolee

11. The Blues and Stagolee

II. THE THOUSAND FACES OF STAGOLEE

12. Jim Crow and Oral Narrative

13. Riverboat Rouster and Mean Mate

14. Work Camps, Hoboes, and Shack Bully Hollers

15. William Marion Reedy's White Outlaw

16. Cowboy Stagolee and Hillbilly Blues

17. Blueswomen: Stagolee Did Them Wrong

18. Bluesmen and Black Bad Man

19. On the Trail of Sinful Stagolee

20. Stagolee in a World Full of Trouble

21. From Rhythm and Blues to Rock and Roll: "I Heard My Bulldog Bark"

22. The Toast: Bad Black Hero of the Black Revolution

23. Folklore/Poplore: Bob Dylan's Stagolee

III. MAMMY-MADE: STAGOLEE AND AMERICAN IDENTITY

24. The "Bad Nigger" Trope in American Literature

25. James Baldwin's "Staggerlee Wonders"

26. Stagolee as Cultural and Political Hero

27. Stagolee and Modernism

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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