frances (frankie) silver, who, in 1831, chopped up her abusive husband (charlie) with an axe, is purportedly the inspiration behind this song. if we are to believe the legend, she was also the first woman to be hanged in north carolina. this article, however, is just one of many that seek to dispel the myth.
in any event, it's an interesting tale, and a catchy little number !
click here to listen to mae sing one of the many versions of this song.
and here are the lyrics to yet another rendition (still mae!) phew !
frankie and johnny
as sung by mae west in the original diamond lil production
frankie and johnny were lovers-
lord gawd, how they could love !
swore they'd be true to each other,
true as the stars up above.
he was her man,
and she loved him so.
frankie went 'round the corner,
to get a bucket of beer;
said to the man called bartender,
"have you seen my johnny here ?
he's my man,
and i loves him so."
"i ain't gonna tell you no stories,
and i ain't gonna tell you no lies;
i saw your man johnny leave about an hour ago
with a bum named nellie bly.
he's your man, and he's doin' you wrong.
frankie went 'round to that hop joint,
brought along a great big forty-four.
she went inside, and there she spied
her johnny on the floor.
he was her man, and he was doin' her wrong.
"turn me over, frankie,
turn me over slow.
turn me over on my right side, frankie,
why did you shoot so low ?
i was your man, and i done you wrong."
rubber tired coaches,
rubber tired hacks,
is gonna take my man to the graveyard,
ain't never gonna bring him back,
'cause he's my man,
and he done me wrong.
(goddamn his soul !)
bring on your million policemen,
bring on your million jails;
throw the key into the st. louis river,
nobody's gonna throw my bail.
he was my man, and he done me wrong.