Frankie and Johnny

from by Randy's Bad Baby

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in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 15, 1899, Frankie Baker, a 22-year-old dancer, stabbed (or shot) her 17-year-old lover who was having a relationship with a woman named Alice Pryor. The lover died of his wounds two days later. On trial, Baker claimed that her lover had attacked her with a knife and that she acted in self-defense; she was acquitted October 16, 1899. In this arrangement of the ballad I create a chorus from one of stanza and change the melody/chord progression.


Frankie and Johnny were lovers
Oh lord how they could love,
They swore that they would be as true as the stars above.
Frankie bought Johnny a brand, new, shiny suit. They went walkin down the street one day she said, "Don't my Johnny look cute?"
Frankie lived in a crib house it had only two doors,
she gave Johnny her money and he spent it on all those crib house whores,
Johnny's mother told him and she was mighty wise,
She said, "don't spend Frankie's money on that parlor Alice Pryor."

Baby kiss me one time, once before I go,
Roll me on my left side that bullet hurts me so.
Frankie loved Johnny, but her done her wrong.
So she shot through the door with a .44 and now her Johnny's gone. He's gone, gone gone.

Frankie went down to the corner to buy a glass of beer.
She said to the old bartender, "Has my lovin man been here?"
He said, "I can't keep no secret and I won't tell you no lie. I saw your man about an hour ago lovin-up that Alice Pryor."
Frankie went round to the hotel lookin in the windows so high.
There she saw her Johnny lovin-up the Alice Pryor.
Frankie went round to the hotel door and rang the door bell.
She said, "Stand back you chippies before I blow you straight to hell!"


Frankie threw back her Kamona and took out her .44. "Ratatatat" three times she shot through the hotel door.
The first time he staggered. The second time he fell.
The third time she shot him there was a new man's face in hell.
Oh go get Johnny's mother, tell her to bring her funeral clothes.
Bring the wagon around, bring it right on up to the door.
Eleven mac a-ridin, all in a cover-tied hack.
Eleven mac a-ridin but there's only ten comin back.



from Birth of A Notion, released February 14, 2012
Mandolin, Lead Vocal: Randy Viscio
Fiddle: Jay Ansil
Guitar: Peter Richan
Back Vocal: Mia Johnson
Piano: Jimmy Otis
Drums: Adam Stranburg
Stand-up Bass: Jim Stager



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Randy's Bad Baby Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The world's badest baby went down to the Juke Joint and got all juked up. The music was so fine and the crowd so frenzied that it whipped up like a tornado and swept everyone up and out. It carried the people across the Great Divide and They all landed in Philadelphia! And when I told that story...everyone sitting next to me on the bench all slid over and away from me. But it's true! ... more

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