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STAGOLEE

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE NEARLY MYTHICAL COUNTRY OF
NINETEENTH CENTURY AMERICA, IN THE NEARLY MYTHICAL CITY OF NINETEENTH
CENTURY NEW ORLEANS, THERE LIVED A NEARLY MYTHICAL MAN. HE WAS A
ROBUST AND RANDY, AN INCREDIBLE DANDY BY THE NAME OF ROBERT LEE
WHO MADE HIS LIVING AS A PROFFESIONAL GAMBLER RIDIN' UP AND DOWN
THE MISSISSIPPI ALL DAY ON THOSE BIG HIGH-FILLEY GREASE STERNWHEEL
PADDLEBOATS WHERES YOU COULD DO ALL KINDS OF THINGS ON THE WATER
THAT YOU WEREN'T ABLE TO DO ON THE LAND. NOW THE ONLY DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN ROBERT AND ALL OF HIS FRIENDS AND ALL OF HIS ENEMIES WAS THE
FACT THAT ROBERT WAS SO RICH AND BEAUTIFUL AND ALL THE REST OF THOSE
DUDES WERE SO POOR AND UGLY, WHICH DID NOT DISTURB OUR FRIEND
ROBERT IN THE SLIGHTEST. HE JUST SAT AROUND ALL DAY ON HIS
MISSISSIPPI STEAMBOAT MAKIN' UP NEW CARD TRICKS, DRINKIN' JACK
DANIELS #7 TENNESSEE SOUR MASH WHISKEY AND PINCHING YVONNE AND SUKI
AND DIRTY LIL WHO LIKED TO HANG AROUND ROBERT BECAUSE HE WAS SO RICH
AND BEAUTIFUL AND ALL THE REST OF THEM DUDES WERE SO POOR AND UGLY.
NOW ALL THE REST OF THEM DUDES, THEIR BEIN'S BEIN' HIS FRIENDS AND
HIS ENEMIES BECAME VERY CONCERNED WITH THIS STATE OF AFFAIRS AND THEY
BEGAN TO GLANCE AND SCANTS AND SNEAKY-LIKE AROUND CORNERS AND SAY
STRANGE THINGS LIKE, "GOD-DAMN. HOW COME HE'S SO RICH AND
BEAUTIFUL AND WE'RE SO POOR AND UGLY?" SO AFTER A WHILE, LIKE
MOST MINORITY GROUPS, THEY SET UP A SUB-COMMITTEE, AND THIS ONE
OF COURSE WAS TO STUDY ROBERT'S METHODS. AND THEY DISCOVERED THAT
THE REASON THAT ROBERT WAS SO RICH AND BEAUTIFUL AND THEY WERE SO
POOR AND UGLY WAS THE FACT THAT HE CHEATED. WHICH WASN'T SO
UNUSUAL BECAUSE THEY CHEATED TOO, ONLY HE WAS A BETTER CHEATER THAN
THEY WERE. HE WAS. HE HAD HIM A LITTLE TRICK, YOU SEE, HE COULD
STACK A DECK CLEVER AND SNEAKY-LIKE SNICKETY-SNACK RIGHT THERE
BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES SO YOU GOT ALL THE CRUD AND HE GOT ALL THE GOOD
STUFF. AND HE'D RUN, RUN, RUN, RUN AWAY WITH ALL YOUR MONEY. AND IF
YOU WERE FOOLED ENOUGH AFTER A LONG EVENING OF LOSING TO STAND UP
ACROSS THAT GREEN FELT TABLE AND LOOK AT ROBERT IN THE EYES AND SAY,
"ROBERT, YOU BASTARD: (GULP) ROBERT, YOU'RE A BAD FELLOW. I SAW YOU
CUTTIN' THAT DECK STACKIN' THAT DECK SNEAKETY-SNACK RIGHT THERE
BEFORE MY VERY EYES. YOU GAVE ME ALL THE CRUD, YOU TOOK ALL THE GOOD
STUFF, YOU RUN AWAY WITH ALL MY MONEY, NOW I'M GONNA CALL MY
LAWYER AND HE'SGONNA MESS WITH YOU." WELL ROBERT, HE WOULD JUST STOP,
AND LOOK AT YOU FOR THE LONGEST TIME OUT OF THOSE LITTLE BLUE BEADIES
OF HIS AND SAY SOMETHING EXTREMELY HEAVY LIKE, "GREAT CLOUDS OF
BUGGY DUST, FELLOW. I'M GONNA HIT YOU SO HARD YOU ARE GONNA WHINE
LIKE A TEN PENNY NAIL HIT WITH A GREASY BALL-PEAN HAMMER... THE
ROUND END. I'M GONNA FILL YOUR BEHIND SO FULL OF LEAD YOU ARE GONNA
WALK AROUND LIKE A DUCK FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, AND WHEN YOU
SIT DOWN, YOU ARE GONNA MAKE PENCIL MARKS." AND HE'D HAUL OUT A
44 AS LONG AS YOUR LEG AND SHOOT YA RIGHT IN THE VESTIBULE SO YOU
COULD HARDLY WALK AND YOU FELL DOWN A LOT, AND AFTER AWHILE YOU
JUST CURLED UP AND DIED. WELL, NATURALLY, AFTER ROBERT HAD SPREAD A
CONSIDERABLE NUMBER OF MEN ACROSS THE DECKS OF VARIOUS STEAMBOATS
DOWN THERE ON THE MISSISSIPPI, PEOPLE STOPPED DEALING WITH HIM
DIRECTLY AND STARTED DEALING WITH HIM CIRCUMSPECTLY
AND SYMBOLOGICALLY. THEY STARTED CALLING HIM BY WHAT HE DID THE BEST
AND THAT WAS TO STACK THE DECK.THEY STARTED CALLING HIM MEAN OLD,
DIRTY OLD, BAD OLD, ROTTEN OLD, RAUNCHY OLD, OBTUSE OLD STAGOLEE.
EARLY IN THE MORNING, MAMA, I HEARD THE BIG BULLDOG BARK. I
NOTICED STAGOLEE AND BILLY DELION WERE A-BALLIN' AND A-SQUABLIN'
IN THE DARK. WELL STAGOLEE WAS A BIG BAD MAN NOW EVERYBODY KNOWS,
HE SPENT A HUNDRED OF THEM PRETTY GREEN DOLLARS TO BUY HIM A SET
OF FANCY WHORES. WELL DOWN, DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS, A PLACE CALLED
"DELION'S" CLUB, EVERY STEP YOU STEP YOU'RE STEPPING IN BILLY
DELION'S BLOOD. WELL IT WAS DOWN AT DELION'S CLUB 'ROUND THE TABLE ON
A SATURDAY NIGHT, STAGOLEE CHEATED ON BILLY DELION AND THEY HAD 'EM
A GREAT BIG FIGHT. WELL NOW BILLY HE HIT UP OLD STAGOLEE, HE HIT HIM
UP A LEFT AND A RIGHT, STAGOLEE COME UP OFF THE FLOOR WITH BILLY
IN HIS SIGHT. AND BILLY SAID, "OH, MR. STAGOLEE, PLEASE DON'T TAKE
MY LIFE. I'VE GOT FOUR LITTLE CHILDREN AND A BIG FAT UGLY WIFE."
"GOD'LL TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN, I'LL TAKE CARE OF YOUR WIFE.
YOU STEPPED ON MY STETSON HAT AND NOW I'M BOUND TO TAKE YOUR LIFE,
'CAUSE I'M MEAN, I'M STAGOLEE, I'M THE MEANEST OLD MAN AROUND. IF
YOU SEE ME COMIN' YOU BETTER LAY YOUR DEEDELO, DEEDELO DOWN." IT'S
DOWN, DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS, A PLACE CALLED "DELION'S CLUB", EVERY
STEP YOU STEP YOU'RE STEPPING IN BILLY DELION'S BLOOD.NOW THE JUDGE
SAID TO THE SHERRIFF, "NOW GET ME STAGOLEE DEAD OR ALIVE, AND
WATCH OUT FOR THAT DARRINGER THAT BACKS HIS 45. OR WAS IT A 44? IT'S
BEEN YEARS SINCE I CAN REMEMBER DETAILS LIKE THAT. HAND ME MY GLASSES
SON." WELL STAGOLEE HAD HIM A 44 THAT TALKED A VERY BIG MEAN
SOUND. THE 44 TALKED AT BILLY, LORD, AND BILLY HE HIT THAT GROUND.
YES IT WAS DOWN, DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS, A PLACE CALLED "DELION'S CLUB",
EVERY STEP YOU STEP YOU'RE STEPPING IN BILLY DELION'S BLOOD.
SO THE SHERRIFF SAID TO HIS DEPUTIES, "BOYS, COME AND GO WITH ME.
WE GOTTA CATCH THAT BIG BAD MAN. HIS NAME IS STAGOLEE." THE DEPUTIES
TOOK THEIR PISTOLS, AND LAID THEM UPON THE SHELF. SAID, "IF YOU GONNA
CATCH STAGOLEE, BOOPSY, JUST GO CATCH HIM BY YOURSELF BECAUSE HE'S
EXTREMELY MEAN AND NASTY, HE'S THE MEANEST OLD MAN AROUND. IF WE
HIM COMING, WE'RE GONNA LAY OUR DEEDELO, DEEDELO DOWN." YES IT WAS
DOWN, DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS, A PLACE CALLED "DELION'S CLUB", EVERY STEP
YOU STEP YOU'RE STEPPING IN BILLY DELION'S BLOOD. WELL THEY
ELECTRICUTED STAGOLEE, BUT THEY DID NOT DO SO WELL. HE WRAPPED HIS
NIGHTY ALL AROUND HIM AND HE DRIFTED ON DOWN TO HELL. STAGO LOOKED
AROUND HIM, SAW BILLY DELION AND SUKI AND DIRTY LIL. THEY ALL SHOUTED
"LOOK OUT" , STAGO SAID, "BE STILL ". STAGO LOOKED UP AT THE DEVIL
SAID, "MY FRIENDS, WE'LL ALL KEEP SCORE. YOU POKE ME WITH YOUR
PITCHFORK, BROTHER, AND I'LL BLAST YOU WITH MY 44. HEY DEVIL,
YOU DON'T LIKE THAT GAME, PUT YOUR PITCHFORK ON THE SHELF. MY NAME
IS MEAN OLD STAGOLEE, I'M GONNA RUN THIS PLACE MYSELF. BECAUSE I'M
MEAN STAGOLEE, I'M THE MEANEST OLD MAN AROUND. IF YOU SEE ME COMING
YOU BETTER LAY YOUR DEEDELO, DEEDELO DOWN." WELL, IT'S DOWN, DOWN
IN NEW ORLEANS, A PLACE CALLED "DELION'S CLUB", EVERY STEP YOU STEP
YOU'RE STEPPING IN BILLY DE'LION'S HEMOGLOBINS.

Submitter comment: THE MUSIC AND GENERAL IDEA OF THIS SONG IS TRADITIONAL. HOWEVER,
THE PARTICULAR WORDS OF THIS VERSION ARE ATTRIBUTED TO CHUCK
MITCHELL. THIS SONG HAS BEEN AROUND DETROIT FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS
AND WAS LEARNED IN A TRADITIONAL MANNER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HARPER WOODS

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Ballad Epic
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Song

Date learned: CA03001974

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