Frankie and Johnny



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“Frankie and Johnny” comes out of the Midwest and the Mississippi River Region. Like most ballads, it tells of love gone wrong.


Frankie and Johnny 
words by Boyd Bunch 

Frankie and Johnny were lovers Frankie got down from that high stool,


Oh, Lordy, how they could love. She didn’t want to see no more.
They swore to be true to each other, Rooty-toot-toot three times she shot 
True as the stars above. Right through that hardwood door.
He was her man, but he was doing her wrong. He was her man, but he was doing her wrong.

Frankie she was a good woman Now the first time that Frankie shot Johnny, 


As everybody knows.  He let out an awful yell.
Spent a hundred dollars  Second time she shot him 
Just to buy her man some clothes.  There was a new man’s face in hell. 
He was her man, but he was doing her wrong.  He was her man, but he was doing her wrong. 

Frankie went down to the corner  “Oh, roll me over easy,


Just for a bucket of beer.  Roll me over slow. 
Said: “Mr. Bartender,  Roll me over on the right side, 
Has my loving Johnny been here?  For the left side hurts me so.” 
He was my man, but he’s a-doing me wrong.”  He was her man, but he was doing her wrong. 

“Now I don’t want to tell you no stories,  Sixteen rubber-tired carriages 


And I don’t want to tell you no lies.  Sixteen rubber-tired hacks
I saw your man about an hour ago  They take poor Johnny to the graveyard— 
With a gal named Nellie Bligh.  They ain’t gonna bring him back. 

He was your man, but he’s a-doing you wrong.”  He was her man, but he was doing her wrong.

Frankie she went down to the hotel,  Frankie looked out of the jailhouse 

Didn’t go there for fun.  To see what she could see.
Underneath her kimono  All she could hear was a two-string bow 
She carried a forty-four gun.  Crying, “Nearer my God to thee.” 
He was her man, but he was doing her wrong.  He was her man, but he was doing her wrong. 

Frankie looked over the transom  Frankie she said to the sheriff, 


To see what she could spy.  “What do you reckon they’ll do?” 
There sat Johnny on the sofa  Sheriff he said, “Frankie, 
Just loving up Nellie Bligh.  It’s the electric chair for you.” 
He was her man, but he was doing her wrong.  He was her man, but he was doing her wrong. 

This story has no moral. 

This story has no end. 

This story only goes to show 



That there ain’t no good in men. 

He was her man, but he was doing her wrong.




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