The Napping Wizard Sessions

All Episodes


One Song: The Clash, Wrong 'Em Boyo

Season 2, Ep. 9

In this series on The Napping Wizard Sessions called ONE SONG I’m taking deep dives into single songs. In this episode, I take The Clash’s WRONG 'EM BOYO and chart the history behind it that connects late 1800s America through the true story and legend of Stagger Lee with the Jim Crow American south, reggae and the Jamaican Rude Boys, the Black Panthers, John Sinclair, the mods, skinheads and the birth of punk in the UK, and push it up against the anti-immigration and racist climate we're witnessing today in the dis-United States. For what appears to be a simple song, after peeling back the layers, it ends up becoming something like an anthem for solidarity, uniting racial and social struggles, and fraught with the glorious embellishment and vernacular drift of oral traditions. A lot of people are curious - What does 'Em Boyo mean?


Audio Ammunition. Documentary of The Clash. GooglePlay Original, 2013.

Brown, Cecil. I Stagolee. CA: North Atlantic Books, 2006.

Brown, Cecil. Stagolee Shot Billy. MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Chuck D. Stay Free: The Story of The Clash, Spotify original series, 2019.

Cox, Alex. Sid And Nancy + DVD extras. UK: Initial Pictures, 1986 and DVD extras.

Egan, Sean. The Clash On The Clash. IL: Chicago Review Press, 2018.

Gates Jr., Henry Louis. The Signifyin(g) Monkey. NY: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Gray, Marcus. Route 19 Revisited: The Clash and London Calling. UK: Random House, 2010.

Henzell, Perry. The Harder They Come. Kingston, Jamaica: International Films, 1972.

Lomax, Alan and John. American Ballads And Folk Songs. NY: Dover, 1994.

Marcus, Greil. Mystery Train. NY: Plume, Revised Edition, 2015.

Temple, Julien. The Future is Unwritten. Parallel Films Production, 2007.

…and various other sundries on YouTube


00:00:00 The Clash, Wrong ‘Em Boyo, 1979

00:05:43 Lloyd Price, Stagger Lee, 1958

00:08:12 Herb Weidoeft and His Band, Stack ‘O Lee Blues, c1924

00:08:42 Gertrude Ma Rainey, Stack O’Lee Blues, 1926

00:08:57 Amy Winehouse, live at Arena Anhembi, São Paulo, Brazil January 15, 2011

00:09:11 Cliff Edwards, Stack O Lee Blues, 1928.

00:09:28 Furry Lewis, Billy Lyons and Stackolee, 1927

00:09:40 Mississippi John Hurt, Stack O’ Lee, 1928

00:10:10 The Clash, Career Opportunities, 1977

00:10:29 Frank Hutchinson, Stackalee, 1927

00:10:39 Archibald, Stack-A-Lee, Parts 1 and 2, 1946

00:11:08 Fats Domino, Stagger Lee, Live at Montreux, 1973

00:11:32 Dion, Stagger Lee, 1962

00:11:51 Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Stagger Lee, 1996

00:12:20 Taj Mahal, Stack O’Lee, 1969

00:12:49 Keb Mo, from the movie Honey Drippers, 2007

00:13:02 R.L. Burnside, Stack O Lee and Billy Lyons, (year ?)

00:13:32 Sydney Bichet, Old Stack O’Lee Blues, 1946

00:13:42 Wilson Pickett, Stagger Lee, 1967

00:14:05 Elvis, rehearsal recording, 1970

00:14:17 Bob Dylan, Stack A Lee, 1993

00:14:35 Woody Guthrie, Stackolee Muleskinner Blues, 1944

00:15:00 James Brown, Stagger Lee, 1967

00:15:18 The Black Keys, Stag Shot Billy, 2004

00:15:51 Sol Hop’opi’i, Stack O’ Lee Blues, 1938

00:16:17 The Rulers, Wrong Emboyo, 1967

00:19:44 The Clash, Wrong ‘Em Boyo, instrumental, 1979

00:21:09 Junior Murvin, Police and Thieves, 1976

00:22:00 The Clash, White Riot, 1977

00:23:04 MC5, Kick Out The Jams, 1969

00:24:05 John Lennon, John Sinclair, 1971

00:24:57 John Lennon, David Frost Show, 1971

00:25:50 The Clash, I Fought The Law, 1977

00:27:05 The Who, Won’t Get Fooled Again, 1971

00:27:53 The Rulers, Copasetic, 1966

00:29:01 Jimmy Cliff, They Harder They Come, 1972

00:30:03 The Clash, Paul’s Tune, 1979

00:31:10 The Clash, (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais, 1977

00:32:50 The Rulers, Don’t Be a Rude Boy, 1966

00:33:22 Bob Marley and the Wailers, One Love, 1977

00:33:48 The Clash, Wrong ‘Em Boyo, 1979

00:35:17 The Rulers, Wrong Emboyo, 1967

00:36:00 The Slicker, Johnny Too Bad, 1971

00:37:12 The Rulers, Be Good, 1966

00:39:07 Joe Strummer, hostility clip from The Future Is Unwritten, 2007

00:39:32 The Clash, Rudie Can’t Fail, 1979

00:39:57 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Stagger Lee, 1996

00:40:15 The Clash, Guns of Brixton, 1979

00:40: 34 Mississippi John Hurt, Stack O’ Lee, 1928

00:40:43 The Clash, Guns of Brixton, 1979

00:40:53 The Clash, Death or Glory, 1979

00:41:54 Furry Lewis, Billy Lyons and Stackolee, 1927

00:44:35 The Clash, Wrong ‘Em Boyo, 1979

00:47:45 (007) Shanty Town, Desmond Dekker and the Aces, c1972

00:48:46 Bob Marley and the Wailers, Buffalo Soldier, 1983

00:49:06 The Rulers, Wrong Emboyo, 1967

00:51:07 The Clash, Wrong ‘Em Boyo, 1979

00:52:04 Bob Marley, Jammin’, 1977

00:52:19 Scotty, Draw Your Breaks, 1971

00:53:02 The Clash, Wrong ‘Em Boyo, instrumental, 1979

00:55:56 Joe Strummer, on punk, The Future Is Unwritten, 2007

00:56:17 Joe Strummer, on drugs, The Future Is Unwritten, 2007

00:56:23 Joe Strummer, on pitfalls, The Future Is Unwritten, 2007

00:56:54 The Clash, Police and Thieves, 1977

00:57:47 Joe Strummer, on people, The Clash On Broadway Interview, 1981

00:59.16 Bob Marley, Punky Reggae Party, 1977

01:00:31 The Clash, Wrong ‘Em Boyo, live, Capital Theater, Passaic, NJ, 1980

01:00:38 The Clash, Wrong ‘Em Boyo, 1979

Tracking recorded at BRIC podcast studio, Brooklyn, August 17, 2019


Interview: Adrienne Whiteley

Season 2, Ep. 7

From 1977-2018 Adrienne Whiteley worked at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, NY. As a voice major in college, she found part-time work as a seasonal employee at the zoo. She didn't know then that she had fallen into her career path. Over the next 41 years she worked her way up to the position of Senior Zoo Keeper, Collection Manager and Registrar, overseeing most aspects of the Zoo’s operation, and, most importantly, animal care and well-being. Since 2007 she has been teaching a highly popular course at Syracuse University on zoo animal management. In June 2018 we sat down to talk about elephants that paint, why penguins are vicious little monsters, unpredictable lions, the heart problems of gorillas and Bambi. “There’s a saying in the zoo community that there are more tigers in Texas than there are in the wild. Nobody needs a tiger.” Learn more about this wisdom and of Adrienne’s perspective on the zoo experience and the state of zoos and animal welfare in the American context. This interview is a bonus edition to my first episode of Premise: A Bold Move With The Cowardly Lion. In this isolated interview I cut the bits about the lion in the elementary school and focus on Adrienne’s experience and insights. To listen to her parts in Premise, find episode S02 E01 Premise: A Bold Move With The Cowardly Lion in my past shows.

*Photo of M'Wasi and Kierha (©Rosamund Gifford Zoo), the last two lions at the Rosamund Gifford Zoo. Kierha died in Dec. 2017 and M'Wasi in August 2018, shortly after this interview. Adrienne was fortunate to work with them.


Interview: Rachel Bacon

Season 2, Ep. 2


Have you ever crumpled paper just right, or covered a sheet from edge to edge with graphite, or, otherwise, protected a clean page from damage at all costs? Rachel Bacon has, and from the sound of it, she’ll continue doing so. She’s been experimenting with materials for decades, and she’s gotten it down to a science – the science of paper and pencil, trees and graphite, wood and carbon, pulp and powder. Just like diamonds and coal both come from carbon, and folklore spins yarns of devils shitting gold or turning gold into shit, Rachel’s drawings act out allotropic roles. They’re unique works that play with our perceptions of reality and confront us with lightness and dark, weight and scale, and encourage us to take responsibility for the materials we exploit. Her drawings operate on subliminal and individual levels and position us as guests on a planet that allows us to inhabit it for now.

She was born in NYC and moved to the Netherlands after earning a BFA at Pratt Institute in 1990. She currently lives and makes art in The Hague where she teaches drawing at the Royal Academy of Art. In 2016 she earned an MA in London at the Wimbleton College of Art. She reappears in New York City often as well as travels the world taking advantage of artist-in-residency programs. Most recently she participated in the Banff Centre for the Arts, Mass MoCA and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Art Center on Governors Island (where we met in 2010). In addition to The Netherlands and the United States, she has had exhibitions in France, the United Kingdom, The Czech Republic, Turkey, Lithuania, Finland and Sweden, among others, and she has been nominated for and received several public art commissions.

I encourage you to explore her website while we’re chatting:

Record Date: 15 April 2018

Air Date: 02 December 2018