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1 Beaverton Music- Blues and Rhythm and Blues

Stagolee Shot Billy

by

Stagolee Shot Billy Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"To analyze the legend, Mr. Brown draws on structuralist and formalist thinkers such as Mikhail Baktin, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Vladimir Propp...But where another scholar might explicate a few symbols and call it a day, Brown has pursued the tale to its origins--a bar fight in St. Louis in 1895, during which a saloonkeeper named Lee Shelton shot William Lyons when a friendly game of cards went wrong." Scott McLemee, Chronicle of Higher Education

Review:

"With commendable scholarship and thoroughness, Brown shows how we got from the murder to the myth." Leopold Froehlich, Playboy

Review:

"Thoroughly researched, fast moving, and well written, this is the first book to unearth the basis of the Stagolee legend (others mostly deal with its social implications) and will appeal to those interested in understanding American cultural history." Dave Szatmary, Library Journal

Review:

"Brown's reconstruction of the bordello culture in St. Louis is reminiscent of fin de siecle Vienna, portraying a kind of hysteria that played out on the stage and in the streets." Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Review:

"By surrounding the Stagolee figure in a constellation of ways, as part of folklore, music history, literary scholarship and culture studies, with a supporting cast of writers and scholars whose words are given fair and generous use, Brown puts on a good postmodern show." Jason Berry, New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Hip-hop scholarship has become an overcrowded industry, yet few have delved into the roots of this international phenomenon. Cecil Brown traces the roots of the black-gangster aesthetic to nineteenth- and early twentieth-century bad-nigger ballads, the most prominent of which was 'Stagolee.' This outstanding scholarship is marked by the unique analytical approach that we have come to expect from Cecil Brown." Ishmael Reed,

Review:

"The amount of artistry the book documents — touching all Americans but focusing on the African-American contribution, or wellspring — is formidable and awe-inspiring." Taj Mahal

Review:

"Stagolee ranks among the most important figures in African-American folklore — the quintessential bad man' in black folklore. Brown makes a very compelling case linking Stagolee to the historical figure named Lee Shelton." David L. Smith, Williams College

Review:

"An infinitely fascinating exploration of nearly all facets of the Stagolee ballad, the archetype, the countless tales surrounding both, and their passage through time." Greil Marcus

Review:

"The story which went into the song, and the story of the song, required a big storyteller, willing to train on the fly in lots of disciplines, to do detective work, to make judgments, and to make startling connections. Brown writes learnedly and passionately on Stagolee and political infighting in a very particular St. Lotus time and place, as well as on hip-hop and long traditions of what Walter Benjamin called the 'destructive character." David R. Roediger, University of Illinois

Synopsis:

Cecil Brown examines how the legend of Stack Lee grew as a story in itself. Drawing upon the works of Baldwin, Wright, and Ellison, Brown describes the powerful influence of a legend bigger than literature, whose transformation reflects changing views of black musical forms, and African-Americans' altered attitudes toward black male identity, gender, and police brutality.

Synopsis:

Delving into the subculture of St. Louis and the work of Ralph Ellison, Brown describes the powerful influence of a legend bigger than literature, whose transformation reflects changing views of black musical forms. 12 illustrations.

Synopsis:

Delving into a subculture of St. Louis known as "Deep Morgan", Cecil Brown emerges with the facts behind the legend of the mystery of Stack Lee and the incident that led to murder in 1895. How the legend grew is a story in itself, which Brown tracks through variants of the song "Stack Lee".

Synopsis:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 231-285) and index.

About the Author

&" target="new">University of California, Berkeley<a>.

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

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674010567
Author:
Brown, Cecil
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Location:
Cambridge, Mass.
Subject:
General
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Folklore
Subject:
African American Studies
Subject:
African Americans
Subject:
Literature and folklore
Subject:
Ballads, English
Subject:
Saint Louis
Subject:
African American men
Subject:
African American men in literature
Subject:
African American criminals
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - General
Subject:
Stagolee
Copyright:
Series Volume:
13
Publication Date:
April 2003
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
5 halftones, 1 line illustration
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 x 3/4 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Blues and Rhythm and Blues
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
Humanities » Mythology » Folklore and Storytelling

Stagolee Shot Billy Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$21.00 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674010567 Reviews:
"Review" by , "To analyze the legend, Mr. Brown draws on structuralist and formalist thinkers such as Mikhail Baktin, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Vladimir Propp...But where another scholar might explicate a few symbols and call it a day, Brown has pursued the tale to its origins--a bar fight in St. Louis in 1895, during which a saloonkeeper named Lee Shelton shot William Lyons when a friendly game of cards went wrong."
"Review" by , "With commendable scholarship and thoroughness, Brown shows how we got from the murder to the myth."
"Review" by , "Thoroughly researched, fast moving, and well written, this is the first book to unearth the basis of the Stagolee legend (others mostly deal with its social implications) and will appeal to those interested in understanding American cultural history."
"Review" by , "Brown's reconstruction of the bordello culture in St. Louis is reminiscent of fin de siecle Vienna, portraying a kind of hysteria that played out on the stage and in the streets."
"Review" by , "By surrounding the Stagolee figure in a constellation of ways, as part of folklore, music history, literary scholarship and culture studies, with a supporting cast of writers and scholars whose words are given fair and generous use, Brown puts on a good postmodern show."
"Review" by , "Hip-hop scholarship has become an overcrowded industry, yet few have delved into the roots of this international phenomenon. Cecil Brown traces the roots of the black-gangster aesthetic to nineteenth- and early twentieth-century bad-nigger ballads, the most prominent of which was 'Stagolee.' This outstanding scholarship is marked by the unique analytical approach that we have come to expect from Cecil Brown."
"Review" by , "The amount of artistry the book documents — touching all Americans but focusing on the African-American contribution, or wellspring — is formidable and awe-inspiring."
"Review" by , "Stagolee ranks among the most important figures in African-American folklore — the quintessential bad man' in black folklore. Brown makes a very compelling case linking Stagolee to the historical figure named Lee Shelton."
"Review" by , "An infinitely fascinating exploration of nearly all facets of the Stagolee ballad, the archetype, the countless tales surrounding both, and their passage through time."
"Review" by , "The story which went into the song, and the story of the song, required a big storyteller, willing to train on the fly in lots of disciplines, to do detective work, to make judgments, and to make startling connections. Brown writes learnedly and passionately on Stagolee and political infighting in a very particular St. Lotus time and place, as well as on hip-hop and long traditions of what Walter Benjamin called the 'destructive character."
"Synopsis" by , Cecil Brown examines how the legend of Stack Lee grew as a story in itself. Drawing upon the works of Baldwin, Wright, and Ellison, Brown describes the powerful influence of a legend bigger than literature, whose transformation reflects changing views of black musical forms, and African-Americans' altered attitudes toward black male identity, gender, and police brutality.
"Synopsis" by , Delving into the subculture of St. Louis and the work of Ralph Ellison, Brown describes the powerful influence of a legend bigger than literature, whose transformation reflects changing views of black musical forms. 12 illustrations.
"Synopsis" by , Delving into a subculture of St. Louis known as "Deep Morgan", Cecil Brown emerges with the facts behind the legend of the mystery of Stack Lee and the incident that led to murder in 1895. How the legend grew is a story in itself, which Brown tracks through variants of the song "Stack Lee".
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. 231-285) and index.
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