Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Definitive Versions



"Did you ever hear The McCoys version of Stagger Lee? I think it's the definitive version of that song."

My friend, the late great Chris K. said this to me one afternoon at the shop. I hadn't heard it at the time but once I did, I couldn't disagree with him. That baby rocks. I offered a similar thought back to him by proclaming Sam Cooke's "Frankie & Johnnie" the absolute best version of that oft-covered classic.

Here are both.

Have you got a definitive version?



16 comments:

whattawino said...

OK so check out this one by Formerly of the Harlettes
off their Columbia debut from 1977 (vinyl only, folks) It's Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage. It's a killer....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA7Q1C9gxRY

Anonymous said...

Two definitive versions:

Marlena Shaw's version of Roberta Flack's "Feel like making love"
(1974):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK326HjaNTA

James Brown & Marva Whitney with Dee Felice Trio performing Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" (1968):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MneqmarFLQU

buzzbabyjesus said...

"Once, Twice, Three Times" is the clincher for me.
The McCoys Stagger Lee is as good as any. It's a very durable song. I wonder how the worst version sounds?

buzzbabyjesus said...

I like Shiina Ringo's version of "Yer Blues".

http://alanwalkerart.com/audio/yer_blues.mp3

Gram Lynch said...

Johnny Allen - Promised Land


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOxGCxoNTMw

Christine said...

Pacific Gas & Electric's version called "Staggolee" in 1970 was played in my house constantly--my friends and I used to act the story out! (I always wanted to play the devil at the end) It's the only version I know, and I still have the 45, which I found just the other day while cleaning out my entertainment center. (Coincidence, again????)

charlie c. said...

http://www.amazon.com/Stagger-Lee-Derek-McCulloch/dp/1582406073

This is the Amazon link to a great resource . . . really pokes around the whole mythos.
Also a website: staggerleebook.com

It is a graphic 'novel' with great notes and sources.

Here are a couple:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stagger_Lee_Shelton
http://staggerlee.com (most of the links are dead)

I will go with Dylan's version and/or the Grateful Dead's retelling.

drstu said...

This may be a stretch to say a Sam Cooke cover is better than original ,but i've always had a thing for Wilson Pickett version of Bring It On Home To Me !!! Check you tube rendition and wonder if anyone agrees!!!

Squints said...

I don't know. I'd take Otis Redding's performance of "Shake" over Sam Cooke's every day.

Jeff Matthews said...

I like Wilson Pickett's Stagger Lee better than the McCoys, but neither version better than Mississippi John Hurt's.

The definitive version of Daddy Rolling Stone? I nominate the Forty-Fives. http://www.thefortyfivesband.com/home.html

Noam Sane said...

Mancini's "House of the Rising Sun"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8onAOUzCnE

Joe non Papa said...

Nick Cave did an amazing - and rather homoerotic - version of Stagger Lee that is pretty amazing.

Anonymous said...

Buddy Holly - Words of Love

William Repsher said...

How can you top Champion Jack Dupree:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m98nS2ylJSg

Anonymous said...

David Bromberg's Mr Bojangles (especially live). And, another vote for Nick Cave's Stagger Lee. So out there all other versions (however good) seem rather anemic afterwards.

davidwolfsonnc said...

forget about wikipedia (god, how i hate that site) and amazon . . . here is an interesting link to Stackalee (Stagger Lee, Stagolee, etc.) and some covers