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Music Music August 22, 2001
image
various artists
Frankie and Johnny
traditional

Make it Frankie and Albert, or Amy and Albert, or Franky, or Johnnie. Swing it, blues it, countrify it, jazz it, rag it, rock it. Let Johnny repent, let Frankie miss her shot through that hardwood floor (or door), let the other woman be Alice Fry or Nellie Bly or Sara Siles, let the sheriff offer to provide Frankie an alibi, let the judge send her to the chair or to the scaffold. Try to unearth all of the 300-plus known variations. Sing the dirty parts loud. Seek out the Brook Benton, Furry Lewis, Mae West, Leadbelly, Elvis, and Harvey Fierstein versions. As you will. But one thing remains constant, and this is important: He was her man. He was doing her wrong.


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