james brown

Tune Tuesday: Lloyd Price 1959

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Lloyd Price Image One
Photo Credit: youtube.com

Sixty years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts was Stagger Lee. The song references a murder that took place on December 27, 1895 (though some accounts say Christmas night). “Stag” Lee Shelton, born in Texas on March 16, 1865 (the same year John B. Stetson started his famous cowboy hat company), owner of the Modern Horseshoe Club, shot William “Billy” Lyons at the Bill Curtis Saloon after an argument.

From the St. Louis Globe-Democrat December 28, 1895:

William Lyons, 25, a levee hand, was shot in the abdomen yesterday evening at 10 o’clock in the saloon of Bill Curtis, at Eleventh and Morgan Streets, by Lee Sheldon [sic], a carriage driver. Lyons and Sheldon [sic] were friends and were talking together. Both parties, it seems, had been drinking and were feeling in exuberant spirits. The discussion drifted to politics, and an argument was started, the conclusion of which was that Lyons snatched Sheldon’s [sic] hat from his head. The latter indignantly demanded its return. Lyons refused, and Sheldon [sic] withdrew his revolver and shot Lyons in the abdomen. When his victim fell to the floor Sheldon [sic] took his hat from the hand of the wounded man and coolly walked away. He was subsequently arrested and locked up at the Chestnut Street Station. Lyons was taken to the Dispensary, where his wounds were pronounced serious. Lee Sheldon [sic] is also known as ‘Stag’ Lee.

Quote from Cecil Brown (author of Stagolee Shot Billy):

“Lee Shelton belonged to a group of pimps known in St. Louis as the ‘Macks’. The Macks were not just ‘urban strollers’. They presented themselves as objects to be observed.”

Lloyd Price Image Two
Image Credit: amazon.com

Shelton’s first trial in July, 1896, ended in a hung jury. The second trial in October 1897 returned a guilty verdict and a sentence of 25 years in prison at Jefferson Penitentiary. Shelton was pardoned and released from prison by Governor Folk on Thanksgiving in 1909. He returned to prison in May of 1911 for robbery & assault. He was granted an additional parole by Governor Hadley on February 8, 1912 but, died in the prison hospital of tuberculosis in March as Missouri’s Attorney General, Elliot Major, objected.

The original version of this song was the Stack O’ Lee Blues from 1924. It has some shocking lyrics and has absolutely nothing to do with the Stagger Lee version penned by Price and Harold Logan.

This song has been covered by Pat Boone (can you imagine?), Ike & Tina Turner, The Righteous Brothers, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Doc Watson, The Youngbloods and, even, Huey Lewis and the News.

[I grew up dancing to this song. It was a shagging staple. Have you ever seen Shag: The Movie? ~Vic]

Analog Version

Shag: The Movie

Fellow blogger Badfinger always lists lyrics. I will take his lead.

Lyrics
The night was clear and the moon was yellow
And the leaves came tumblin’ down…

I was standin’ on the corner
When I heard my bull-dog bark.
He was barkin’ at the two men
Who were gamblin’ in the dark.

It was Stagger Lee and Billy,
Two men who gambled late.
Stagger Lee threw a seven,
Billy swore that he threw eight.

“Stagger Lee,” said Billy,
“I can’t let you go with that.
You have won all my money,
And my brand-new Stetson hat.”

Stagger Lee went home
And he got his. 44.
He said, “I’m goin’ to the ballroom
Just to pay that debt I owe.”

Go, Stagger Lee

Stagger Lee went to the ballroom
And he strolled across the ballroom floor.
He said “You did me wrong, Billy.”
And he pulled his. 44.

“Stagger Lee,” said Billy,
“Oh, please don’t take my life!
I’ve got three hungry children,
And a very sickly wife.”

Stagger Lee shot Billy
Oh, he shot that poor boy so hard
That a bullet went through Billy
And broke the bartender’s bar.

Go, Stagger Lee, go, Stagger Lee!
Go, Stagger Lee, go, Stagger Lee!

Tune Tuesday: October 16, 1968

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The Beatles Image
Photo Credit: beatles22.weebly.com

Fifty years ago, today, the #1 Billboard Hot 100 song was Hey Jude. Written by Paul McCartney but, credited to Lennon-McCartney, Paul was on the way to see John’s soon-to-be ex-wife Cynthia and their son Julian. Starting out with “Hey Jules”, it evolved to “Hey Jude” as Paul attempted to try and help Julian through his parents’ separation.


 

The Vogues Image
Photo Credit: whitedoowopcollector.blogspot.com

The #1 Billboard Adult Contemporary song was My Special Angel by The Vogues (Five O’Clock World), a song written by Jimmy Duncan. Originally recorded in 1957 by country music singer Bobby Helms (Jingle Bell Rock), The Vogues revived the song. Other performers such as Connie Francis, Bill Haley & His Comets, Bobby Vinton, Frankie Avalon and Floyd Cramer have their own cover versions.


 

James Brown Image
Photo Credit: liveforlivemusic.com

The #1 Billboard R&B song was Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud (Part I), co-written by James and his bandleader Alfred Ellis. It was a two-part single with Part II on the B-side.


 

Eddy Arnold Image
Photo Credit: elvisaronpresley.altervista.org

The #1 Billboard Hot Country song was Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye by Eddy Arnold. Written by John Loudermilk, it has been covered by The Casinos, Johnny Rivers, Glen Campbell, The Manhattans and Mickey Gilley.

National South Carolina Day

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National Day Calendar Image

August 31 has four celebrations and one proclamation day. National South Carolina Day honors the eighth state to join the United States, ratifying the U.S. Constitution on May 23, 1788. Initially part of Province of Carolina, The Palmetto State (Clarendon Province) was split in 1712 from what would become North Carolina (Albemarle Province). It was the first state to vote in favor of secession in late 1860.

South Carolina State Official Image

It is home to Table Rock & Caesars Head State Parks, Cherokee Foothills Scenic Parkway, the Fort Sumter National Monument, the East Coast Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island and, Charleston, the oldest & largest city in the state. The two largest Native American tribes were the Cherokee and the Catawba.

An earthquake struck Charleston on this very day in 1886 killing 60 people.

Notable South Carolinians:
Francis Marion [Swamp Fox] – Revolutionary (1732 – February 27, 1795)
James Strom Thurmond, Sr. – Governor (December 5, 1902 – June 26, 2003)
Melvin Horace Purvis, II – FBI Agent (October 24, 1903 – February 29, 1960)
William Childs Westmoreland – General (March 26, 1914 – July 18, 2005)
James Joseph Brown – Musician (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006)

Other Interesting People

Also celebrated:
National Matchmaker Day
National Diatomaceous Earth Day
National Trail Mix Day (Yum!)
***National College Colors Day (If on the Friday before Labor Day…Go Pack!)

Cheers and Enjoy!