She'll Grow Back: Stagger Lee Saturdays - Furry Lewis

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Stagger Lee Saturdays - Furry Lewis

Walter "Furry" Lewis was born in 1893 (or 1899?) in Mississippi, and recorded his version of Stag in 1927.

This is the first recorded version (to my knowledge) that includes this moralizing lyric: "When you lose your money, learn to lose." (This lyric also features in the two versions we'll be hearing over the next two Saturdays.) Furry tells us that Stag's first name was Richard (though longtime readers will remember that Lee was in fact Stag's first name). And as early as this is, this also includes a lyric alluding to how hard Stag is to arrest -- he's hard to arrest, and even harder to kill.

Like Mississippi John Hurt, Lewis was rediscovered in the 1960s after years of obscurity and near-poverty, and experienced a huge career revival. He opened for The Rolling Stones twice and, like Hurt, appeared on The Tonight Show. He died of pneumonia contacted while moving house in 1981.

Next week, we hear an anonymous studio group who can't spell.

1 comment:

CD said...

And he's back!