Friday, November 15, 2013

FRANKIE & JOHNNY & ALBERT & STACK & BILLY—
Post Script

And, so, we come to the end of our exploration into the alternating exploits of Stack and Billy; and Frankie, Johnnie, and Albert. To quote from our opening salvo way back in August of this year:

“[A]nother occasional series—or convocation if you will . . . clearly non-definitive, poorly researched, emotionally unbalanced . . . but good fun and good records. So, ahem, we venture into the Stack-O-Lee Symposium, with a panel composed of such illustrious names as Furry Lewis, Dave Van Ronk (special citation for funniest closing stanzas), Mississippi John Hurt (UFO award for most perplexing pre-song narrative, although all the story lines converge somewhere out in Deep Space, exact location unknown. You figure out: [1] who was wearing what and how was it magical, [2] where the whole cold thing went down, [3] what the participants’ real names were, as well as the names of spouses and various friends and family, [4] etc.), and Dion! We also have Archibald’s fine and rockin’ two-part New Orleans version from 1950. And Lloyd Price’s classic will do its own battle with Dion’s fine and dandy 1962 cover.

“As a bonus big time Charley Patton checks in with Part I of his ‘Jim Lee’ two-parter. Story: The Lee Line of Mississippi riverboats were named after, if I remember correctly, the sons; there was the Jim Lee, the Bob Lee Junior, and the Stacker Lee. Now guess which infamous murdering Stetson-wearing legend took his nickname from the third-mentioned boat. Somewhere in here you have a badass white guy who has been transmogrified by folk legend into a badass black guy. . . .”

And then there is/are Frankie and Johnny: [O]ur young heroes run[ning] the gamut of name changes, spelling variants, and gender switches. We’ll surely come to a . . . conclusion, if nothing else.”

There you have it. Conclusion reached. Twelve entries, twenty-seven songs; hardly exhaustive, but we here at Blues All Kinds are exhausted, so we leave you now to your own exploratory devices, as there is much more out there worthy of exploration and excavation. Here’s Charley:


Charley Patton • Jim Lee—Part I • 1929

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