2. Frankie and Johnny

Trad., adapted & arranged by Robin Greenstein

Guitar, Vocal - Robin
Bass - Barry Weisenfeld
Harmonica - Adam Carper
Percussion - Cheryl Prashkar

What couple has permeated our popular folk music culture more than this duo? “He was her man, but he done her wrong…”. This song was inspired by a real murder in St. Louis in 1899, where Frankie Baker, a streetwalker, murdered her lover/pimp Albert for cheating on her with a Miss Nelly Bly.

Frankie and Johnny

Frankie and Johnny were lovers,
Whoa Lordy how they could love
Swore to be true to each other
True as the stars above
Cause he was her man
Wasn't gonna do her wrong

Frankie she was a good woman
Johnny he was a good man
Every dollar that Frankie earned
50 cents went into Johnny's hand
Cause he was her man
He wasn't gonna do her wrong

Frankie went over to the corner
Just to get a bottle of beer
She said to the fat bartender
"Has my man Johnny been here?
Oh, he's my man
but he's been gone so long."

He said "I ain't gonna tell you story,
I ain't gonna tell you no lies
Johnny was here about an hour ago,
Arm in arm with Miss Nelly Blye
Honey if he's your man
I think he's doing you wrong"

Frankie went over to the hotel
Looked up and saw to her surprise
There in the 3rd floor window
Johnny was a kissing Miss Nelly Bly
She said" Oh there's my man!
And he's doing me wrong!"

Frankie drew back her kimono
She drew out her old 44
Rooty toot toot, three times she shot
Johnny fell on the floor, she said
"Honey you was my man
why'd you wanna do me wrong?"

He said: "Roll me over so easy
Roll me over nice and slow;
Roll me over on my right side
You know the right side it hurts me so
I was her man, but I done her wrong"

The judge said to the jury
"Well it's plain as anyone could see
Frankie she shot her Johnny,
She shot him in the first degree;
Cause he was her man
Ah but he done her wrong."

This story it has no moral
This story it has no end
This story just goes to show you
That there ain't no good in men
Sure as they're born
Honey they'll do you wrong