Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Morning Vault: Archibald--Stack-A-Lee (1950)

Archibald's real name was Leon T. Gross, and he was one of the hundreds of barrel-house piano players hailing from New Orleans. A few like Professor Longhair were recorded, but many were not, playing in the clubs and bars of the city. Because of illness and disputes with the musician's union, he never recorded much, nor did he tour, but the 11 tracks that remain of the man are top quality. He had a long standing gig at the Poodle Patio Club on Bourbon Street, and died of a heart attack in 1973.

Stack-A-Lee was many of the variations of the folk song, "Stagger Lee" that was written to tell the story of  the murder of Billy Lyons by Stagger Lee Shelton in 1895. The song was published in 1910, and has a long history with many different versions. The most famous of course was in Lloyd Price in 1959, although the version was toned down greatly so that it might be "acceptable" for radio listeners.


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