Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Frankie & Albert

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Harlan, Iowa
    Posts
    171

    Default

    Hi Blues-people. #
    # My wife and I played Frankie & Albert at a jam last Saturday and it went over well. #We will add it to a performance tomorrow night. #It's a fun song and a story song with a good hook line, "He was her man, but he done her wrong."
    # #I do a harp solo and then some 'guitar thumps' for the sound of Frankie shooting her 44. #Mando content? #My wife plays mando on this tune. -- #I have heard the song done by Bob Dyan and Steve James. # Jack[B]
    smilnJackB

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Newark, Delaware
    Posts
    1,592

    Default

    "Frankie and Albert", eh..!?? - mmmmmm... interesting! -

  3. #3
    Registered User Tom Smart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Salt Lake City
    Posts
    438

    Default

    It's often performed as "Frankie and Johnny," but in fact the song is based on a true story of Frankie Baker who shot a man named Albert or Allen or something along those lines sometime around 1900. She claimed Albert was attacking her with a knife, and she shot in self-defense. She was acquitted (not executed, as in the Dylan version) and lived to be an old and senile woman.

    The first version of the song hit the streets the day after the murder, and it has been rewritten and re-recorded a zillion times. It became a huge hit, and even spawned a couple of Hollywood movies. Frankie tried unsuccessfully to sue one of the movie companies.

    Great song, and I especially like the versions by Dylan and John Hurt. The true story behind the song is fascinating, and you can read all about it in the recent collection of essays on American ballads, "The Rose and the Briar."

    TS
    "Few noises are so disagreeable as the sound of the picking of a mandolin."

  4. #4
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Whitefish,MT
    Posts
    1,522

    Default

    Check out Chris Smithers doing Frankie & Albert on the Mississippi John Hurt Tribute album. If I remember, someone plays some GREAT mandolin on that one. That whole CD rocks!

  5. #5
    Registered User Ken's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    In Illinois, halfway between here and there.
    Posts
    570

    Default

    We do this version by Shel Silverstein & Bob Gibson, different than the original but a really good tune.

    C C7 F F7
    1. Frankie.... she was a fine-looking woman, had a man named Johnny,
    C A7 D7 G7
    And she loved him, lord she laid done a hundred for a suit of clothes
    C C7 F F7
    Don’t you see them, ...walking arm-in-arm down along Canal Street
    C A7 D7 G7 C
    Frankie loved Johnny, lord everybody knows.

    2. Frankie... came home one evening just a little bit early
    And she thought, better stop at the corner for a bottle of beer
    So she sat there, she told her troubles to the fat bartender,
    Said, tell Fat Daddy, has my Johnny man been here?

    3. He said, Frankie... I’m terrible sorry you asked me that question,
    You know, I’m about as honest as a man can be.
    Well, I saw John... walking down Main, feelin’ no pain,
    Slippin’ and sliding with a gal named Annabel Lee.

    4. Well, Frankie... she said, oh no, no, it can’t be so.
    She said, I know, no, my Johnny man wouldn’t treat me wrong.
    Well, she sat there...she had a few more beers, shed a few more tears,
    Said I’m tired of getting that mean old runaround.

    5. Well Frankie...got out of a taxi on a corner of Clark Street,
    And looked up, she saw Johnny and Annabel swingin’ there.
    Well she pulled out... she took deadly aim with her 44 pistol
    Shot her Johnny in the middle of his big affair.

    6. (Same as #1)

    I can't get the chords to line up in the right spots, but you get the idea.
    Ken



    Peace

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Harlan, Iowa
    Posts
    171

    Default

    Thanks Tom for the history. Nice to know. Ken, I would like to hear your version. We performed ours last night and it went well. Our version below. Jack



    Frankie & Albert


    [G] Frankie was a good girl, everybody knows.

    She [C] paid one hundred dollars for Albert's suit of [G] clothes.

    He was her [D] man, but he done her [G] wrong.


    [G] Frankie went down to the tavern, to get a bucket of beer.

    [C] Said to the bartender: "Has my lovin' Albert been [G] here?"

    He was her [D] man, but he done her [G] wrong.


    I ain't gonna tell you no story, ain't gonna tell you no lie.
    I saw your Albert an hour ago, with a gal named Alice Bly."
    He was her man, but he done her wrong.


    Frankie went down to 12th Street, looked in a window up high.
    She saw her Albert up there, lovin' up Alice Bly.
    He was her man, but he done her wrong.


    Frankie pulled out a pistol, pulled out a forty-four.
    Gun went off a rootie-toot-toot, and Albert fell to the floor.
    He was her man, but he done her wrong.


    Judge said to the jury: "Plain as plain can be.
    A woman shot her lover down. Murder in the second degree."
    He was her man, but he done her wrong.

    HARP SOLO

    Frankie went to the gallows, calm as a girl could be.
    Turned her eyes to Heaven, said, "Nearer, my God, to Thee."
    He was her man, but he done her wrong
    smilnJackB

  7. #7
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Santa Cruz, California
    Posts
    6,286

    Default

    I find it a little curious no one yet has suggested listening to the original recording by Mississippi John Hurt. It's really easy to find, and pretty much everyone who ever covered Frankie and Albert learned it from the Smith Anthologies reissue (1956) of the John Hurt recording, or from John Hurt after he was rediscovered in 1963 and subsequently toured and recorded extensively. Frankie and Johnny, while it's a twist on the same story, has entirely different musical roots, and a less-nice story. John Hurt recorded Frankie and Albert for Okeh in 1928. It's still the definitive version, and a gorgeous and elusive guitar piece as well. Mandolin fits with it beautifully, as does banjo.

    There's a recent book of essays called The Rose and the Briar, edited by Sean Wilentz and Greil Marcus, that includes a great piece by Cecil Brown on the full backstory of what happened between Frankie Baker and Albert Britt. The real story (which took place in 1899, in St. Louis) was extremely well documented, and drew a great deal of interest at the time such that a lot of people made songs out of it before the case even went to court. Frankie was acquitted of the killing because it was in self-defense. Albert was also really diddling a woman named Alice Pryor. Frankie killed her man because he done her wrong. She called him on his infidelity, he got very nasty, and she wacked him to save herself. End of story. Not.

    Frankie lived out her days in Portland, Oregon. In 1935, Republic Pictures put out a film, starring Cary Grant and Mae West, called "She Done Him Wrong," and Frankie Baker sued unsuccessfully for damages. The film company somehow managed to prove in court that Frankie and Johnny had nothing to do with Frankie and Albert! Then they put out a second film in 1936 called "Frankie and Johnny" starring Helen Morgan, another white actress, and Frankie sued again, and lost. How could this have anything to do with her? She was black and their actors were white. The transcripts of the trial sometimes seem hilarious, but the invasion of her privacy fairly ruined her life. White people won out, as usual. Sadly, she did lose her mind at the end of her life, but not until more than 20 years later.



    At Newport in 1964, John Hurt playing Candyman, with Dave Van Ronk, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee over his shoulder.
    .
    ph

    º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º
    Paul Hostetter, luthier
    Santa Cruz, California
    www.lutherie.net

  8. #8
    Registered User Steve Cantrell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    1,125

    Default

    Check out the version by Dave Grisman and Doc Watson on "Doc and the Dawg". Excellent.
    Steven E. Cantrell
    Campanella A

  9. #9
    Registered User Tom Smart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Salt Lake City
    Posts
    438

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (Paul Hostetter @ Sep. 06 2005, 21:54)
    I find it a little curious no one yet has suggested listening to the original recording by Mississippi John Hurt.
    So I'm "no one"?

    While I would agree that Hurt's is the definitive *recorded* version, I'm surprised that you'd call it the "original version" after having read Brown's essay. I'm also surprised--given that both "Albert" and "Johnny" versions scan exactly the same, and both use the same "she done him wrong" hook--that you would say they have "entirely different musical roots." It seems obvious to me that the many extant versions of this song all ultimately descend from a single, original source, which as I recall is exactly what Brown asserts in his essay.

    The 1928 John Hurt version is one of the all-time great recordings, and anyone who hasn't heard it should drop everything and go get a copy. I don't know whether it's true or not, but there's a story that someone played this recording for Andres Segovia, and he refused to believe that it was just ONE person playing the guitar.

    "The Rose and the Briar" is highly recommended, not just for Brown's essay on Frankie and Albert. There's a whole lot of other brilliant and entertaining people talking about a whole lot of other ballads as well.
    "Few noises are so disagreeable as the sound of the picking of a mandolin."

  10. #10
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Santa Cruz, California
    Posts
    6,286

    Default

    Tom - I'm sorry, I completely missed your post, and only noticed people talking about various derivations of the John Hurt piece. Brown's essay describes a number of songs that tell the story, largely the Frankie & Johnnies. I've heard a lot of them over the years, we all have. Not one is really at all like John Hurt's version, which is the obvious source and inspiration for so many others over the last 25 years, particularly the one that smilnJackB, who started the thread, was talking about.

    I just read Brown's piece again, and he says they all derive from Bill Dooley's "Frankie and Albert" written in 1899 when the incident was still in the headlines. But almost immediately other versions, which didn't tell the story very straight, what Brown calls the "popular" versions, began to proliferate and actually eclipsed the original. John Hurt's version really stands alone, and it's virtually the only recorded version of the simple "folk" version that describes the actual event. Everything else falls into the category of pop derivation.

    I agree the Rose & Briar book is very good. I thought not all the pieces were of the same quality, but the good ones more than justify the effort of procuring and reading it.
    .
    ph

    º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º
    Paul Hostetter, luthier
    Santa Cruz, California
    www.lutherie.net

Similar Threads

  1. 1932 Chicago Mandolin Band- Albert Kuerth
    By in forum Videos, Pictures & Sound Files
    Replies: 0
    Last: Sep-08-2005, 7:51pm
  2. Albert Houdlett & Son banjo Uke
    By mando bandage in forum Looking for Information About Mandolins
    Replies: 0
    Last: Aug-23-2005, 7:33pm
  3. Eleanor Shanley, Paul Kelly, Frankie Lane
    By Magnus Hansen in forum Celtic, U.K., Nordic, Quebecois, European Folk
    Replies: 2
    Last: Feb-07-2004, 12:04pm

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •