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November 23, 2017


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Anonny Prof

What does this have to do with the stated purpose of this blog? Can the powers that be regain some control over the things being posted here. It's gone from being a useful tool for academics to a place for a handful of law professors to repeatedly post about non-legal things they find interesting.

Sam Bagenstos

I prefer this version:


We do not need academics isolating themselves through a phony dichotomy between work and life. Many of us pursue academic issues which are impacted by our own personal interests and others do not. Music is a great insight into academic minds, in my view. Now considering myself an intensely curious follower of Stagger Lee (by all its names) i will defer to the Lloyd Price version (though i have a great love for the Mississippi John Hurt recording. Having said that, here is a testimony to the genius of MJH.
but then here is Maria Muldaur with her sweet rendering.


"What does this have to do with the stated purpose of this blog? ... gone from being a useful tool for academics to a place for a handful of law professors to repeatedly post about non-legal things...."

Note on the masthead* that academia seems more an afterthought than a stated purpose, coming last as it does.

*"Conversations about law, culture, and academia"

Maybe you meant to land here, instead?



Hi Steve, I stupidly forgot about your filter's issues with hyperlinks and got a comment hung up.

If you can release it, thanks. If not, well, I don't suppose it was all that important a comment, anyway.



Sam Bagentos -- thanks for the reminder of The Class. Long Live The Clash.


What happened to the Jerry Lee Lewis post? Did it get the old Charlie Rose treatment

Brian Frye

Excellent post. Like Jeff, I am partial to both the Lloyd Price & Mississippi John Hurt versions of the song. Can I also recommend Cecil Brown's absolutely brilliant investigation of the history & cultural meaning of the song and the social circumstances it describes? It was a real eye-opener for me:

Steve L.

Sorry about the delay, Brian. Your comment was caught in the spam filter due to the link. Brown's book is excellent, and it is also linked in the original post. Here is the description from the Harvard University Press:

"Although his story has been told countless times—by performers from Ma Rainey, Cab Calloway, and the Isley Brothers to Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown, and Taj Mahal—no one seems to know who Stagolee really is. Stack Lee? Stagger Lee? He has gone by all these names in the ballad that has kept his exploits before us for over a century. Delving into a subculture of St. Louis known as “Deep Morgan,” Cecil Brown emerges with the facts behind the legend to unfold the mystery of Stack Lee and the incident that led to murder in 1895.

"How the legend grew is a story in itself, and Brown tracks it through variants of the song “Stack Lee”—from early ragtime versions of the ’20s, to Mississippi John Hurt’s rendition in the ’30s, to John Lomax’s 1940s prison versions, to interpretations by Lloyd Price, James Brown, and Wilson Pickett, right up to the hip-hop renderings of the ’90s. Drawing upon the works of James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and Ralph Ellison, Brown describes the powerful influence of a legend bigger than literature, one whose transformation reflects changing views of black musical forms, and African Americans’ altered attitudes toward black male identity, gender, and police brutality. This book takes you to the heart of America, into the soul and circumstances of a legend that has conveyed a painful and elusive truth about our culture."

Bill Turnier

Thanks for your postings of music. I grew up with some of your first musical postings, Tony Williams of the Platters and Fats Domino were two of my favorites. I will never forget going to a Rock n Roll revival in NYC in the late 60s where he sang. The producers said he was the hardest one to find. Then someone decided to look in the Manhattan phonebook and they found him living about 5-6 blocks away from the venue of the show. He walked over to perform that night.

Deep State Special Legal Counsel

I spoke today with the Honorable Justice Roy Moore. He accepts your apology for your song postings. He asked for a favor: Want's you to balance things and post John Ashcroft's "Let the Eagle Soar."

Pete Wentz

Another vote for the Lloyd Price version...and for continued posting by Prof Lubet and others who make this blog so interesting.

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