This take on Stag is from Paul's 2005 album Steel String Americana, which also includes a Dr. John cover and the girl-group classic "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" In the liner notes, Paul writes:
"Stack-O-Lee, Stagolee, Staggerlee... there are as many musical variants of this folk epic as there are spellings of the man's name. And i mean entirely different SONGS here, with different melodies, refrains- practically everything different except the mythical bad dude with the original bad 'tude. ... The Louisiana variant of this tune seems to represent a different branch of the Stagolee tree than the Furry Lewis/John Hurt songster variant. My version comes more from the Louisiana side of the family."
I really like the opening line, with it's understated assertion that Stag and Billy "just couldn't get along," and the emphasis on the oral folk tradition that gave birth to this song, with the repeated "'That right? You don't say!"
Folks, I'm on vacation starting Tuesday, so there may be no Stagger Lee next Saturday. I'm going to try to get one in the pipeline, but I have an awful lot to do between now and then, so no promises.