The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #43656   Message #638790
Posted By: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
30-Jan-02 - 02:25 PM
Thread Name: Origins: History on Frankie and Johnny
Subject: Lyr Add: FRANKIE AND ALBERT (from Lead Belly)

Frankie was a good woman,
As everybody knows,
She did all the work around the house
And pressed her Albert's clothes.
He was her man, but he done her wrong.

Albert was a yeller man,
Coal-black curly hair.
Everybody up in St. Louis
Thought he was a millionaire--
He ws my son, and the only one.

Miss Frankie went to the barroom,
Called for a bottle of beer,
Says to the bartender:
"Has Mister Albert been here?
He is my man, and he's doin' me wrong."

Frankie and Albert were lovers,
Oh, my God how they did love!
Just like sisters and brothers,
The whore and her turtle dove,
For he was her man, but she shot him down.

The bartender says to Miss Frankie:
"I cannot tell a lie;
Mister Albert was here about a minute ago
With a gal name Alkali,
He is your man, but he's doin' you wrong."

Little Frankie went down the Broadway
With her razor in her hand,
Says "Stand aside, you chippie.
I'm lookin' for my man,
He's a gamblin' man, won't treat me right."

Miss Frankie went up the stairway,
She didn't go for fun;
Underneath the ruffles of her petticoat,
She had a young Gatlin' gun.
He was her man an' he was doin' her wrong.

Miss Frankie opened the winder,
The gun she fired twice;
The second shot she fired,
She took Mister Albert's life--
He was her man, but he was doin' her wrong.

Well, when Frankie shot Albert,
First, he fell to his knees,
Then he looked up in her face,
Says, "Frankie, please don't shoot me no mo',
Please, babe, don't shoot me no mo'."

She shot three bullets in him,
He staggered to the door,
He gasped, "Oh, Frankie, you can't play 'round,
'Round this hop joint any more.
I was your man, but I done you wrong.

"Turn me over, Frankie,
Turn me over slow,
Turn me over easy on my left side
So my heart won't overflow
And kill me dead, and kill me dead."

Took po' Albert to the graveyard,
Stuck him in the ground,
Frankie, she was singin',
"I shot the sucker down--
He was my man, but he done me wrong."

The people says to Frankie,
"Little Frankie, why don't you run?
Yonder comes the Chief Police
With a smokeless 44 gun.
You killed your man, wouldn't treat you right."

"Well," says Miss Frankie,
I don't care if I die,
Take and hang me to a telegraph pole,
Hang me good and high--
He was my man but he done me wrong."

Little Frankie went down Broadway
As far as she could see,
And all she could hear was a two-string bow,
Playing, "Nearer, My God To Thee"--
All over the town, little Albert's dead.

Frankie went to Albert's mother,
Fell across her knees,
Said: "I'm sorry I killed your son,
Won't you excuse me please?
He was my man, but he done me wrong."

"I will forgive you, Frankie,
I will forgive you not.
You sho' shot Albert,
He's the only son I got,
He was my son, and the only one."

Frankie says to the sheriff,
"Well, what do you think it'll be?"
The sheriff said: "It looks like a case
Of murder in the first degree;
He was your man, but you shot him down."

It was not murder in the first degree,
It was not murder in the third,
A woman simply dropped her man
Like a hunter drops a bird.
He was her man, but she shot him down.

Frankie said to the sheriff,
"Oh, what do you think they'll do?"
"Strap you in the 'lectric chair,
'N' send thirty thousand volts through you.
Albert was your man, but you shot him down."

Passin' through the jail house,
Went by Frankie's cell,
Asked her how she was feelin',
She said, "Go to Hell."
He was her man, but she shot him down.

Once more I saw Frankie,
She was sittin' in her chair,
Waitin' for to go an' meet her God,
With the sweat drippin' out her hair.
Albert was her man, but she shot him down.

Took Frankie to the graveyard
And stuck her in the ground,
Now all that's left of Frankie
Is a wooden cross and mound.
He was her man- both dead and gone.

Two little pieces of crape,
Hangin' on the door,
Show that lovin' Albert
Ain't lovin' Albert no more.
Frankie shot her man, who was doin' her wrong.

@ballad @folk @Negro
Collected by Lomax from Lead Belly at the Angola Prison, Louisiana. American Ballads and Folk Songs, 1934, pp. 105-110. Perhaps one of the longest songs collected from Lead Belly (Hudie Leadbeater).