collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

* Support Weenie!

Shop on Amazon using these search boxes and Weenie earns a small commission:
USA
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon

United Kingdom
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon

Canada
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon

* Weenie's CD!

This liquor is just right. Any worse and I wouldn't be able to drink it, any better and you wouldn't have given me any - Anon., old Southern saying

Author Topic: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny  (Read 986 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline TenBrook

  • Member
  • Posts: 207
    • darkhollar.tumblr.com
SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« on: March 24, 2017, 10:31:06 AM »
For the March SOTM I chose a song known by many names, most popularly ‘Frankie and Johnny.’ I won’t go into the real life history behind the song but it’s worth exploring if you haven’t already. The general consensus is that the song, then known as ‘Frankie Killed Allen’, originated with song writer Bill Dooley in St. Louis shortly after the events that inspired it occurred in 1899. The first published version of the melody came in 1904 with ‘He Done Me Wrong (Death of Bill Bailey)’ by Hughie Cannon. This in turn inspired the version more closely resembling the song as it was later recorded, ‘Frankie and Johnny, or, You'll Miss Me in the Days to Come’, published by the Leighton Bros & Ren Shields in 1912. A pdf of the sheet music is available here: http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/catalog/levy:152.019

The first recording comes from 1912 and was made in London by Americans Gene Greene and Charley Straight based on the Leighton Bros version. The only video I could find includes an introduction by author and blues historian Dr. Peter Muir. The intro is well worth your time but if you want to skip straight to the song it kicks in at around the 4 min 54 sec mark.



The first recording made in America was by Al Bernard in either 1919 or possibly March 1921 depending on where in the web you look.



Next up seems to be the Frank Crumit, Paul Biese Trio recording from 1921.



The song, in recordings at least, seems to have been popular with old time musicians. One of the first to record the song was Roba Stanley in this version from 1925.



Also from 1925 comes a stripped down ukulele version from Harry Frankel aka Singin’ Sam.



One of the better known old time versions (aside from the Jimmie Rodgers recording) is ‘Leaving Home’ by Charlie Poole. I found it interesting how closely his lyrics follow the Leighton Brothers version. I'd love to know where he learned it (from an earlier recording or perhaps straight from the sheet music) but searching found nothing.



A wonderful old time version I hadn’t heard until researching is the Dykes Magic City Trio’s ‘Frankie’ from 1927.



One of the first country blues recordings appears to be Coley Jones’ ‘Frankie and Albert’ from 1927 but unfortunately it was never issued. , despite much digging, I was unable to find a video for the song and even more surprising I couldn’t locate a collection on LP or CD that contains the track. I’m hoping that’s not actually the case and that maybe someone here can point us to a place where we can hear it.

And finally, in 1928 we get Mississippi John Hurt’s classic ‘Frankie’.



And the following year we get Charley Patton’s 'Frankie and Albert'.



There were many jazz recordings of the song but I went with a version by one of my favorites, King Oliver.



A great piano blues version was recorded by Nick Nichols and Alex Moore near the end of 1929.



I had hoped to link to the first recording Leadbelly made of the song while still in Angola but aside from a medley containing the song toward the end I couldn’t find a video. So I went with this version from 1935. I’d be curious to hear others favorite Leadbelly versions, it seems he recorded it a handful of times.



And last but not least comes a Cajun version. I stumbled on the fact that Leo Soileau had recorded the song early on in my research but it seemed there was nowhere to hear it until I somehow stumbled on a message board where someone had kindly posted an mp3. I took it upon myself to make my first upload to Youtube so I could include it here.

« Last Edit: March 24, 2017, 12:57:09 PM by TenBrook »

Offline Lastfirstface

  • Member
  • Posts: 380
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2017, 11:02:37 AM »
Great post, TenBrook. To the best of my knowledge the Coley Jones recording is only known from a title in the ledgers and was never issued, so there's no recording out there to be found (unless a test survived.) I've been fiddling the Dykes Magic City Trio version lately, so maybe I'll post a video later if I get around to it.

Offline TenBrook

  • Member
  • Posts: 207
    • darkhollar.tumblr.com
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2017, 11:11:50 AM »
Thanks Lastfirstface. I don't know how I missed that the Coley Jones version wasn't released. I somehow imagined I saw a photo of the 78 on discogs but maybe that was in a dream.

I'd love to hear your take on the Dykes Magic City Trio's version.

Lew

Offline banjochris

  • Member
  • Posts: 1991
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2017, 01:18:58 PM »
One of the better known old time versions (aside from the Jimmie Rodgers recording) is ‘Leaving Home’ by Charlie Poole. I found it interesting how closely his lyrics follow the Leighton Brothers version. I'd love to know where he learned it (from an earlier recording or perhaps straight from the sheet music) but searching found nothing.

Roy Harvey, Poole's guitarist for most of his records, worked in a music store in Beckley, W. Va., and learned a lot of stuff from sheet music which he then taught to the band, so definitely possible.
Chris

Offline TenBrook

  • Member
  • Posts: 207
    • darkhollar.tumblr.com
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2017, 01:30:50 PM »
Thanks for the info Chris. I remember when first delving into the early history of American song that I hadn't really considered the impact of sheet music on popular/music culture before. Being from the future where it's all about recordings it was hard for me to imagine a time when going to the music store meant shopping for sheet music. Makes me wonder if anyone has compiled data on what sheet music sold the best in different areas of the country (if that data's even available).

Offline harry

  • Member
  • Posts: 560
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2017, 01:48:26 PM »
Thanks, TenBrook. I never knew this song was based on actual events.






Offline TenBrook

  • Member
  • Posts: 207
    • darkhollar.tumblr.com
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2017, 02:01:58 PM »
Harry. Thanks for sharing those versions. I'm digging the Champion Jack Dupree take on the song. And yeah, I think many people assume the song is based on legend akin to John Henry. It's a great example of how history and folklore can intertwine. And of course it wasn't always a sure thing that the song was based on the events that later researchers pinned it on. One of the more interesting things about the song is the history of research and speculation that led to our understanding of it today.


Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10306
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2017, 02:09:26 PM »
Thank you, Lew, for the interesting choice for Song of the Month, and your research in digging up so many early versions.  Here are a couple folks might enjoy:

from Jewell Long:



from Darby & Tarlton:



You can read all about the true story of Frankie and Al Britt in Richard Polenberg's book "Hear My Sad Story", which also has the facts behind Stackerlee, Railroad Bill, Ellen Smith, Omie Wise, Delia and Cooley and others.  A thread on the book can be found at:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=11002.msg96826#msg96826 .  "Frankie and Albert" is one of the Song Family choices listed in Weeniepedia, too, and you can find lyric transcriptions for many versions there.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: March 24, 2017, 02:11:22 PM by Johnm »

Offline TenBrook

  • Member
  • Posts: 207
    • darkhollar.tumblr.com
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2017, 02:20:45 PM »
Thanks John. I love the Jewell Long version and completely forgot about Darby & Tarlton's take which is one of my favorites. Thanks also for pointing out "Hear My Sad Story", I've had it on my shelf for awhile and hadn't read it until researching for SOTM. I'm looking forward to finding out more about the other songs included.

Offline eric

  • Member
  • Posts: 517
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2017, 03:01:37 PM »
An interesting old news article about the protagonists here:

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1346&dat=19750529&id=2O0vAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8PoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3814,7531454News

No sourcing unfortunately.
--
Eric

Offline JRO

  • Member
  • Posts: 67
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2017, 12:17:10 AM »
Finnish pop/rock artist J Karjalainen got bored to his career in 2010's and took a break. He's known blues and old time country fan. After break he made two albums as migrant Lännen Jukka (= West Johnny) and one with band named Polkabilly Rebels. First album he made alone and accinompanied himself with clawhammer banjo or guitar old time style. The second album he made with accorionist Veli-Matti Järvenpää also old time style. Polkabilly Rebels was a hillbilly band including piece of the cream of finnish roots musicans. Most songs J Karjalainen made himself but there are many american and finnish old songs on albums. Here is Polkabilly Rebels live version of Frankie & Albert named as Hieno mies Albertti (=Fine man Albert) because recorded version couldn't be found from youtube. Polkabilly Rebels album reached first place of the best selling album list when it was published 2010. All those albums sold well, which was surprise for J Karjalainen and the audience.


Offline Lignite

  • Member
  • Posts: 179
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2017, 10:32:23 AM »
Here's a little swingier update of the Charlie Poole version of Frankie and Johnny Leaving Home. The Swingbillies were based out of North Carolina, recorded 10 sides for Bluebird in 1937 and featured vocals by Charlie Poole's son "Dunk" Poole. http://picosong.com/p6bn

Offline harriet

  • Member
  • Posts: 478
    • www.harrietgoldenslide.com
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2017, 05:31:06 PM »
One of my favorite songs - thank you for the choice and versions. Here's Joe Callicott's version...

Offline Prof Scratchy

  • Member
  • Posts: 1565
  • Howdy!
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2017, 01:25:02 AM »
Great choice of SOTM, and a reminder that for many of us of a certain age in the UK, it was one of the first songs we learned on the guitar, it having featured in Bert Weedon's 'Play In A Day', issued with every guitar (it seemed) purchased in the 50s and 60s!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Offline Lignite

  • Member
  • Posts: 179
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2017, 06:33:08 AM »
A rather "straight" rendition of Frankie and Johnny by Larry Vincent, the head of Pearl Records and king of risque and double entendre tunes during the 1940s. He was based out of the infamous Look Out Club in Covington, Ky. and was the author of The Freckle Song. http://picosong.com/pQYB

Offline blueshome

  • Member
  • Posts: 1352
  • Step on it!
    • Blueshome
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2017, 07:44:16 AM »
My favourite if only for the accompaniment:

Offline blueshome

  • Member
  • Posts: 1352
  • Step on it!
    • Blueshome
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2017, 07:52:07 AM »
Another one - Bill flat picking

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10306
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2017, 07:34:11 PM »
Hi all,
Emry Arthur recorded a two part version of the song, called "Frankie Baker-Part 1" and "Frankie Baker-Part 2", the lyrics of which can be found at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=9977.msg102229#msg102229
All best,
Johnm

Offline Mr.OMuck

  • Member
  • Posts: 2604
    • MuckOVision
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2017, 03:26:06 PM »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Mr.OMuck

  • Member
  • Posts: 2604
    • MuckOVision
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2017, 03:28:27 PM »


My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Mr.OMuck

  • Member
  • Posts: 2604
    • MuckOVision
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2017, 03:31:15 PM »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Mr.OMuck

  • Member
  • Posts: 2604
    • MuckOVision
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2017, 03:36:24 PM »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Mr.OMuck

  • Member
  • Posts: 2604
    • MuckOVision
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2017, 03:42:26 PM »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Mr.OMuck

  • Member
  • Posts: 2604
    • MuckOVision
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2017, 03:48:30 PM »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline TenBrook

  • Member
  • Posts: 207
    • darkhollar.tumblr.com
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2017, 10:55:03 AM »
OMuck,
Thanks for all the additional versions. I've now been reminded that I stumbled on none other than Joe Bussard's version a few months ago (via the Dust to Digital Fonotone Records boxset) and have been meaning to upload it to youtube and share it in this thread. So, that's just what I've gone and done. I don't have access to the liner notes for the set (just the tunes) so I'm not sure what year this was recorded, likely the '60s I'd imagine unless anyone has any other intel.

And John, thanks for the heads up on the Emry Arthur version. I don't know how I missed that when I was putting this thread together. I may just work on getting both parts uploaded to youtube in the next couple days.

« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 11:24:43 AM by TenBrook »

Offline DavidCrosbie

  • Member
  • Posts: 132
  • Howdy!
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2017, 10:30:07 AM »
I can recommend the CD
Frankie And Johnny 15 Different Accounts Of The Infamous Murder Ballad

Versions by Lena Horne, Errol Garner, Louis Armstrong, Big Bill, Champion Jack Dupree, Jewell Long, Fate Marable, Benny Goodman, Bunny Berrigan, Tommy Jarrell, Jimmie Rogers, Ethel Waters, King Oliver, Duke Ellington, Isham Jones.

Quote from: TenBrook
I’d be curious to hear others favorite Leadbelly versions, it seems he recorded it a handful of times.
I can't currently play the early versions on Document LPs, but I do have three favourites transferred to iTunes:

Reissued on the first JSP box set

  • 1935 bottleneck version
  • 1939 studio version in two parts with extensive spoken narrative

Reissued on the second JSP box set  and on this Saga CD
  • 1935 remastered version without speech

It seems that he reworked the song in 1935,  dropping the bottleneck and tweaking the melody. The 1939 recording uses the same guitar arrangement and tune.

Each has its merits. The bottleneck version is particularly exciting, but the others are perhaps more musical. The version with narrative is very engaging, but the earlier non-bottleneck perhaps better highlights the guitar runs.

I have a particular fondness for the 1939 version because it's on one of the very first LPs I bought as a schoolboy.

« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 09:46:23 AM by DavidCrosbie »

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10306
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2017, 01:07:55 PM »
Hi all,
Just today I re-discovered a version of "Frankie and Johnny" that I had forgotten about, on the Roscoe Holcomb Folkways album, "Close To Home".  Roscoe flat-picked the song out of G position in standard tuning, and his playing on it shows a very strong Bluegrass influence--he evidently considered it a guitar showpiece because he devotes much of his rendition to guitar solos.  Here is his performance of "Frankie and Johnny":



INTRO SOLO

Frankie and Johnny was sweethearts, Lord, how they did love
Now they swore to be true to each other, just as true as the stars above
He was her man, Lord, Lord, but he done her wrong

SOLO

Frankie went down to the barroom, just for a bucket of beer
Now she asked that barroom tender, "Has my lovin' Johnny been here?
He is my man, Lord, Lord, but he done me wrong."

Says, "You oughtn't to ask me no questions, then I'll tell you no lie.
Now your lover left here about a half an hour ago with a girl called Nellie Bly,
He was your man, Lord, Lord, he's a-done you wrong."

SOLO

Frankie went down the transom, with a little white apron on
And under that little white apron, she carried a .44 smokeless gun
She's lookin' for her man, Lord, Lord, he's a-done her wrong

Frankie looked over the transom and she saw to her surprise
He's there on the couch, sat Johnny, makin' love to Nellie Bly
"He is my man, Lord, Lord, but he done me wrong."

Frankie drew back the kimono, and she pulled her little .44
It's "rook-a-toot-toot", three time she shot, right through the hardwood door
She shot her man, Lord, Lord, he's a-done her wrong

SOLO

It's, "Bring around a thousand policemen, bring them around today
You can lock me down in a dungeon cell and I'll throw that key away,
'Cause I shot my man, Lord, Lord, he's a-done me wrong."

Frankie said to the warden, "What are they going to do?
And the warden, he said to Frankie, "There's electric chair for you,
Because you killed your man, Lord, Lord, that had done you wrong."

SOLO

"Now this story, it has no tomorrow, and this story has no end
And this story, hit just goes to show that there hain't no good in men
'Cause I killed my man, Lord, Lord, he's a-done me wrong."

SOLO

All best,
Johnm

« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 02:17:43 PM by Johnm »

Offline DavidCrosbie

  • Member
  • Posts: 132
  • Howdy!
Re: SOTM - March 2017 - Frankie and Johnny
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2019, 07:44:44 AM »
Rivers has discovered this very interesting discussion by John Cowley of Leadbelly's repertoire.

https://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/3092/

Discussing Leadbelly's ballads he writes

Quote from: John Cowley
Several of these topical songs share elements in common in their phraseology and imagery, this is true also of Frankie And Albert (Laws I 3) — known also as Frankie And Johnny. The original event described in this narrative relates to a shooting in St. Louis on 15 October 1899. Under the former title there were two late 1920s commercial recordings by Mississippi songsters: Frankie by Mississippi John Hurt (OKeh 8560), in 1928; and Frankie And Albert by Charlie Patton (Paramount 13110), in 1929. A two-part Texas version entitled Frankie And Johnny, by Nick Nichols, was recorded in Dallas in 1929 (Columbia 2071-D). Like the facts behind Ella Speed, Leadbelly claimed to know something of the events described in this topical murder song, which he performed with two distinct accompaniments. These were his conventional strumming on the guitar, or with a knife or slider, a playing technique popular in the Shreveport area with black stylists such as the previously mentioned Oscar Woods.

During the first phase of recording his oeuvre for the Lomaxes, Huddie seems to have developed a technique of introducing spoken interjections and explanations into his performances. This can best be observed by comparing his earliest (1933-1934) performances of both Ella Speed and Frankie and Albert (in which the spoken passages do not occur) and his 1935 recordings of these ballads. Leadbelly used this technique in several categories of his songs.

 


anything