The Songs He Sang
Frankie and Johnny: Lyrics
As performed by Cisco Houston
- LP A Legacy
Frankie and Johnny were lovers Oh lordy, how they could love Swore to be true to each other Just as true as the stars above He was her man, but he done her wrong Well, Frankie went down to the corner To get a bucket of beer She said to the fat bartender "Has my lovin' Johnny been here? He was my man, I think he's doing me wrong" "Well, I don't want to cause you no trouble And I don't want to tell you no lies But I seen your man about an hour ago With that high-browed Nellie Bly He was your man, I think he's doing you wrong" She took a cab at the corner And said "Driver step on this can For you're looking at a desperate gal Been two-timed by her man He was my man, but he done me wrong" Then Frankie went home in a hurry She didn't go there for fun Frankie went home to get a-hold Of Johnny's shooting gun He was her man, but he done her wrong Frankie peeked over the transom And there to her surprise She saw her lovin-man Johnny With that high-browed Nellie Bly He was her man, and he was doing her wrong Then Frankie pulled back her kimono And she pulled out a small .44 And root-e-toot-toot three times she shot Right through that hardwood door He was her man, but he done her wrong "Well roll me over on my left side Roll me over so slow, Roll me over on my left hand side, Frankie, Them bullets hurt me so, I was your man, but I done you wrong" Now, bring round your ruber-tired buggy And bring round your rubber-tired hack I'm taking my man to the graveyward I ain't gonna bring him back He was my man, but he done me wrong Well this story has no moral And this story has got no end Well the story just goes to show you women That there ain’t no good in men He was her man, but he done her wrong
Another potent old song given a tired and tentative performance, where Cisco sounds as if he's unsure of the meter. Awkward pauses, strange phrasing, and non-chalant guitar make for an unmemorable song, and without the pungent electric chair verse Ed McCurdy sings with such vehemence. Recorded by everyone from Jimmie Rodgers to Elvis, this warhorse requires a more vigorous interpreter.