#171291  by FromWichita
To be brief: the old, "original" song 'Stackerlee' has "bad man", Stackerlee lose his hat to Billy Lyons. Stackerlee shoots him with his .45. There is no Delia, but Billy does say he has a wife and there is an unnamed sister of Billy who pleads w/Stackerlee to not "shoot (her) brother", and asks the sheriff "How can that be? You can arrest everybody but you're scared of Stackerlee."
How Stackerlee is brought to justice is not revealed in the version I came across in an old "Finger-Picking Styles for Guitar", but he does get hanged.

So, the Dead's version has Delia shoot Stagger Lee in the balls. It hit me last week that the change from Stackerlee to "Stagger Lee" is a sly reference to him getting shot there - I mean, I can image a guy staggering after such a shot.

Of course, Stagger Lee is his name before he gets shot, but I would put money down on the name connection with getting shot in the balls.
 #171307  by strumminsix
FromWichita wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 12:35 pm Just when I thought I finally knew everything!

"Summa scientia est scire nihil."
The highest wisdom is to know nothing."
LOL! Someone sent me an older link to the folklore behind the song and I went down a rabbit hole years ago...