The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #43672   Message #927347
Posted By: GUEST,Q
06-Apr-03 - 02:37 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Ballad of Frankie Silver
The lyrics placed in the DT and the sheet music are probably as close as you will get to the old folk song (see link at bottom of Dicho's post, added by Joe Offer).
The ballad lyrics by Sharyn McCrumb are hers and have been set to music (1998).

From Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, vol. 2, p. 124-125: "Muriel Early Sheppard (Cabins in the Laurel, 1935, pp. 25-29) tells the whole story and prints two songs about the murder, one of them credited to Frankie herself." The one from Randolph, posted by Dicho, above, was sung by Marie Wilber, Pineville, MO., 1934. She said she heard the song about 1910.
Notes: The "Jedge Daniels" in the Randolph text was really Judge John R. Donnell.
The Traditional Ballad Index (CSU, Fresno) lists some recordings, the earliest 1934. They refer to an 1886 mention of the song.
Some authorities believe (quite a stretch of the imagination) that this song is the ancestor of "Frankie and Johnnie."