In 1947, Alan Lomax sat down with three blues musicians and asked them about the blues. The blues, they decided in a recorded discussion, came from trouble. Trouble came from oppression.
And oppression, it need hardly be said, came from white people.
It's been said better by other people, but Stagger Lee, no matter the spelling, is a story about oppression. Stag is a black antihero who fights back against a crooked game, and in most versions cannot escape retribution.
In this version of the song, Stag drags Billy down the street, which you don't hear in a lot of versions. The three men talking and singing on this album would've heard of, or even witnessed, identical acts in the American South of the time. Again, it need hardly be said, the victims would be black, the perpetrators white.
At the time of this recording, as you'll read in the first link above, the three artists wouldn't let Lomax release the album under their own names, fearing violent reprisals against themselves, and their families, for their brutal honesty. The album didn't get released for over a decade, and then under assumed names.
I'm not a person of color; I can't claim to know anything about racial oppression. What I do know is that music and friendships can give people the strength to survive unbearable situations, and fight against incredible odds. What you hear on this record are three men, honestly and openly talking through their political troubles, and singing songs which might help others deal with the same problems.