Thursday, May 21, 2015

Frankie & Albert

Frankie kills Albert
After he cheats. She feels bad,
Goes to jail, and hangs.

Wikipedia's editors, as ever, know their way around old Americana. Here's the background on this one, courtesy of them:
1. It's been covered something like 256 times.
2. Murder: 212 Targee Street, St. Louis, MO. 2am, October 15, 1899. Accused: Frankie Baker (1876-1952), 22 years old, shoots 17-year-old Allen/Albert Britt. Albert was out with Nelly Bly, AKA Alice Pryor, at a "cakewalk." Their crime: dancing. Baker was acquitted and send to a mental institution.
2. Murder 2: Frances "Frankie" Stewart Silver. Murdered husband Charles Silver, Burke County, North Carolina, 1832. She was executed, rather like the Frankie in Bob Dylan's version of the song on the album "Good As I Been to You."

Some say the song goes back to before 1830. Others find that strange because its sheet music dates from 1925 or so. Either way, Bob's version is a timeless acoustic rendition that plays up the deadpan nature of the observer at the crime without cutting into the sadness of the sordid tale.

1. Frankie was a good girl.
Everybody knows.
Paid $100 for Albert's new suit of clothes.
He was her man but he done her wrong.

2. Albert said, "I'm leaving you.
Won't be gone for long.
Don't wait up for me.
A-worry about me when I'm gone."
He was her man but he done her wrong.

3. Frankie went down to the corner saloon.
Get a bucket of beer.
Said to the bartender.
"Has my lovin' man been here?"
He was her man but he done her wrong.

4. "Well, I ain't gonna tell you no stories.
I ain't gonna tell you no lies.
I saw Albert an hour ago.
With a gal named Alice Bly."
He was her man but he done her wrong.

5. Frankie went down to 12th Street.
Lookin' up through the window high.
She saw her Albert there.
Lovein' up Alice Bly.
He was her man but he done her wrong.

6. Frankie pulled out a pistol.
Pulled out a forty-four.
Gun went off a rootie-toot-toot
And Albert fell on the floor.
He was her man but he done her wrong.

7. Frankie got down upon her knees.
Took Albert into her lap.
Started to hug and kiss him.
But there was no bringin' him back.
He was her man but he done her wrong.

8. "Gimme a thousand policemen.
Throw me into a cell.
I shot my Albert dead.
And now I'm goin' to hell.
He was her man but he done me wrong."

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

10. Frankie went to the scaffold.
Calm as a girl could be.
Turned her eyes up towards the heavens.
Said, "Nearer, my God, to Thee."
He was her man but he done her wrong.





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