Monday, October 4, 2010

Lloyd Price - "Stagger Lee" - Sparton Records, 1958

Lloyd "Mr. Personality" Price is a New Orleans native and RnB legend. Now age 77, Lloyd is still kicking around doing his thing - go Lloyd!
His first big hit was "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" for Specialty in '52.  But after that huge record, Lloyd didn't have any hits till the late 50's. A short stint in Korea for the war didn't help.

When LLoyd was back in the States he put together KRC Records with Harold Logan and Bill Boskent, and they put out a strings of hits via ABC records, today's "Stagger Lee" included. "Stagger Lee" is a great tune with a long history. From Wikipedia:
"Stagger Lee", also known as "Stagolee", "Stackerlee", "Stack O'Lee", "Stack-a-Lee" and several other variants, is a popular blues folk song based on the murder of William "Billy" Lyons by Stagger Lee Shelton. 

The version recorded by Mississippi John Hurt in 1928 is considered by some commentators to be definitive, containing as it does all of the elements that appear in other versions.
Peep this article for more info on that murdering pimp who later inspired so many musicians: (spoiler: the fatal fight may have been started by an argument over..politics?)
Elton John, Nick Cave, The Clash, and The Black Keys are just several folks who were influced by the original tale.

On March 9, 2010, his 77th Birthday, in New Orleans, Lloyd Price was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and on June 20, 2010, Price appeared and sang in season 1 finale of the HBO series "Treme". (After some strong initial reservations, I finally watched this show and think it's...pretty good.)
Lloyd also markets this line of food products named after his first big hit!
Sparton Records was a Canadian record label based out of London, Ontario. Rather oddly, it was formed by a radio manufacturing company called Sparks-Withington Corp from Michigan. I can imagine a boardroom meeting where someone excitedly shouts out "I GOT IT! We'll make the radios... AND THE RECORDS!" Spartan was manufactured and distributed by Columbia, and they had some other distribution deals with various labels. I believe this particular song came out on NYC's ABC Records originially, so I'm assuming ABC and Sparton had some sort of distribution deal going. Sparton folded in the 60s.
And now, the clip!

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