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Stack O' Lee

Cliff Edwards


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"Folk Song"
with Ukulele Ike


Recorded in New York City on October 3rd 1928 with Cliff Edwards ukulele & vocals.

*"Stack O' Lee" also known as "Stagolee", "Stackerlee", and several other variants, is a folk song based on the 1895 murder of William "Billy" Lyons by Stagger Lee Shelton. The first printed version of the song was published by folklorist John Lomax in 1911. The song had already become well known in African American communities along the lower Mississippi River by 1910.

Before World War II, it was commonly known as "Stack O'Lee." In his writings W. C. Handy suggested that this was "probably a nickname for a tall person", comparing him to the tall smokestack of the large steamboat Robert E. Lee. By the time W.C. Handy had penned his written explanation in the 1920's "Stack O' Lee" had become a familiar part of United States pop culture; with recordings of the song made by such popular singers of the day as Cliff Edwards.

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