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I dreamed last night I was far from harm, woke up and found my man in a sissy's arms. My man's got a sissy, his name is "Miss Kate". He shook that thing like jelly on a plate - Ma Rainey, Sissy Blues

Author Topic: Champion Jack Dupree Lyrics  (Read 735 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Champion Jack Dupree Lyrics
« on: December 20, 2013, 09:14:59 PM »
Hi all,
Champion Jack Dupree did a really nice version of "Stack-O-Lee" on an album called "Blues From the Gutter".  He's joined on the track by a bass player, drummer and tenor saxophonist (no personnel for the recording date was shown at youtube).  Jack accompanied himself out of Ab here, and he employs a really pretty 8-bar chord progression, like so:

   |    Ab    |    C7/G    |    Db    |    Bdim7|

   |   Ab/C  |    Eb7      |    Ab    |     Eb     |

Jack's version of the fracas between Staggerlee and Billy has some different twists, among them, the Stetson hat starting out as Billy's, rather than Staggerlee's.  The last verse gives the rendition a real New Orleans feel.  Though the song is titled "Stack-O-Lee" on the album, Jack pronounces it "Staggerlee" in his vocal, so I've chosen to spell it as he pronounced it.

Staggerlee and Billy Lyons, they was gamblin' in the dark
Staggerlee told Billy, "Billy Lyons, let's take a walk."

Staggerlee won Billy Lyons' money, and he took Billy Lyons' Stetson hat
Billy Lyons said, "Staggerlee, Lord, why'd you do me like that?"

Now Billy Lyons begged Staggerlee, said, "Please give me back my hat.
'Cause you know you won my money, please don't take my hat."

Now Billy Lyons said to Staggerlee, said, "Please, please don't take my life.
I got two little children and a poor little homeless wife."


Billy Lyons said to Staggerlee, "Would you do your friend like that?
Saying, you won all my money, and you took my Stetson hat."

Staggerlee shot Billy Lyons, and he fell down on his knees
He said, "Lawd, have mercy, Lawd, have mercy, if you please."

Staggerlee run to the corner, and he look up and down
Said, "I'd rather see you, Billy, six feet in the ground."

Now the people started to weepin', and some of them begin to moan
Everybody was worried about poor Billy Lyons was gone

Tee-nah, tee-nah-nah, tee-nah-nah-nee-nah
Tee-nah-nah-nah, tee-nah-nee-nah-nee-nah

"Say, I want Louis Armstrong and his band to play the blues, after they lay my body down.
I want ten thousand women to be at my buryin' ground."

All best,

« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 03:40:02 PM by Johnm »

Offline Pan

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Re: Champion Jack Dupree-"Stack-O-Lee"
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2013, 04:31:05 AM »
That's a fine version of "Stack-O-Lee", from a great album!

Thanks for your transcription, John!



Offline dj

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Re: Champion Jack Dupree-"Stack-O-Lee"
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2013, 04:33:32 AM »
no personnel for the recording date was shown at youtube

The other musicians are Pete Brown, saxophone; Ennis Lowery, guitar; Wendell Marshall, bass; Willie Jones, drums.  All the songs on the LP were recorded in New York City on February 4 1958.

Offline jphauser

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Re: Champion Jack Dupree-"Stack-O-Lee"
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2013, 09:30:03 AM »
That's a fine version of "Stack-O-Lee", from a great album!

It's one of my favorite albums.  It also includes a song titled "Frankie and Johnny," but Champion Jack's lyrics don't tell the story of Frankie shooting Johnny after he cheats on her.  Instead, it's the story of another song ("Betty and Dupree") in which Dupree (Johnny) gets Betty (Frankie) a diamond ring by shooting the jewelry man.   "Frankie and Johnny" directly precedes "Stack-O-Lee" on the album and Champion Jack sort of links the two songs together by including a verse of Tee nah, tee-nah-nah near the beginning of "Frankie and Johnny" and towards the end of "Stack-O-Lee."   Ma Rainey's version of "Stack-O-Lee also creates a link between the two songs, but she does it by singing "Stack-O-Lee" to the tune of "Frankie and Johnny." 
« Last Edit: December 21, 2013, 12:09:59 PM by jphauser2000 »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Champion Jack Dupree Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2014, 03:50:24 PM »
Hi all,
Here is Champion Jack Dupree's version of "Frankie & Johnny" that Jim Hauser cited in the last previous post in this thread.  As he noted, it conflates the names Frankie and Johnny with the story of Betty and Dupree.  It appeared on the same album as Champion Jack's version of "Stack-O-Lee", and the ensemble is the same.  Here is a video of the performance, which is played in F:

Well, Frankie, Frankie told Johnny, "Lord, I want a diamond ring."
Oh, Johnny told Frankie, "I'll get you most anything."

Oh, Johnny went down to the German, on Rampart and Dumaine
He walked in the store, the German had a diamond in his hand

Tee-nah, tee-nah-nah, tee-nah, nah-nee-nah
Tee-nah-nah-nah-nah, tee-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah

Oh, Johnny, Johnny shot the German, and he shot him through the head
He ran out the door and he fell on the sidewalk dead

When Frankie, Frankie got the news that the German was dead
She come runnin', hollerin', Lord, talkin' all out her head

Well, Johnny started to runnnin', Lord, and he didn't know where to go
They found Johnny hidin' in the grocery store next door

Well, the policemen hand-cuffed and beat him, and they took Johnny out of sight
He said, "That's all right, Frankie, everything gonna be all right."

SAX SOLO X 2 (Spoken: Oh yeah!)

Tee-nah, tee-nah-nee-nah, tee-nah-nah, nah-nee-nah
Tee-nah-nah-nah-nah, tee-nah-nee-nah-nee-nah

All best,


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