The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #43656   Message #638732
Posted By: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
30-Jan-02 - 01:05 PM
Thread Name: Origins: History on Frankie and Johnny
Subject: RE: Help: History on Frankie and Johnny
Another version of Frankie and Johnny in the DT. For discussion, see this thread: Frankie
Two versions of Frankie and Albert are in Lomax and Lomax, 1934, American Ballads and Folk Songs, pp. 103-110. In a footnote, it is stated Frankie still lives (1934) in Seattle.
In The American Songbag, Carl Sandburg says that the Frankie and Albert song was common along the Mississippi River and among railroad men as early as 1888. There are hundreds of Frankie versions, some back country and some city.
I believe most song detectives agree with the comments in the American ballad Index, that the song was rewritten to fit the Baker-Britt case.
The Ballad of Frankie Silvers has been reproduced in a recent novel by Sharon McCrumb based on the trial and hanging of the nineteen-year-old Silvers (1830s). It does not resemble any of the versions of Frankie and Albert-Allen-Johnny.
Two versions of Frankie and Johnny may be heard on the Max Hunter Folk Song Collection website. Max Hunter