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6/11/10 – The History of “Frankie & Johnny”

Posted: June 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Blues, Jazz, Pop, Rock n' Roll, rockabilly | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments »

The History Of

“Frankie & Johnny”

This week, The Friday Night Cat Fight tackles one of the greatest folk tunes of all-time, “Frankie & Johnny.”  We trace the history of the tune back to the Nineteenth Century and play 15 different versions of the song.  Only 6 versions are in competition in the Cat Fight this week, though.  The classic blues rendition of the tune by Mississippi John Hurt leads us off, then we jump to Johnny Cash’s telling of tale as “Frankie’s Man, Johnny” from 1959.  From there, Brook Benton and Sam Cooke give the tune a soul twist from the early ’60s.  Versions by the Greenwood Country singers and Elvis round out the competition. 

The rest of the show is filled out with various blues, country, big band and rockabilly versions of “Frankie & Johnny” that it’ll make any man think twice before doing his woman wrong. 

So listen, dig and VOTE for your favorite version of “Frankie & Johnny” on the Friday Night Cat Fight Radio Podcast with Matt The Cat.

Which One Do You Dig The MOST? - "Frankie & Johnny"

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14 Comments on “6/11/10 – The History of “Frankie & Johnny””

  1. 1 Prowlin' With Matt The Cat » Blog Archive » The History Of “Frankie & Johnny” Cat Fight – 6/11/10 said at 1:47 pm on June 11th, 2010:

    […] Click Here To Listen To The Cat Fight Podcast Friday Night Cat Fight […]

  2. 2 Sierra said at 2:41 pm on June 11th, 2010:

    The king got my vote again, not only because I love just about anything he does, but because I like the New Orleans-type music from the movie built on the song itself. Also enjoyed Sam Cook’s and Brook Benton’s renditions.

  3. 3 CCK said at 3:34 pm on June 11th, 2010:

    Surprised myself and voted for Mississippi John. I’d always loved Sam’s version for how sexy it is, but once again Matt the Cat has shown me just how much more there is behind just the “hit” version. What a wonderful show, once again!

  4. 4 Stickball Eddie said at 5:07 pm on June 11th, 2010:

    Sam is the man! He really “sends me” in his version.

  5. 5 Yum Yum said at 7:09 pm on June 11th, 2010:

    Frankie Ford & Johnny Preston YESSSSSSSS !! Frankie Connie Francis & Johnny Burnette Hey Matt pretty soon you can do The 10 best versions of God Bless America for July 4th !! Back to Frankie & Johnny my pick is the most underrated 60s singer the wonderful Brook Kiddio Benton !! Matt you are something special and its getting pretty annoying after almost two long years that you dont have a Radio Show and that sucks pardon my French or should i say Italian !! Yum Yum

  6. 6 Rockin' Ed said at 7:25 pm on June 11th, 2010:

    as fo rthe six–I’d have to pick Johnny Cash

    but my real vote goes to the Gene “X” version LOL

    there was a Teenage Frankie and JohnNy by David Houston on RCA–no one got shot–I had the 45 but eBayed it before I could record it OOPS!!

  7. 7 Virginia said at 8:02 pm on June 11th, 2010:

    Wow what a good show, I think after several listens I will vote for Brook Benton. If Cliff was voting it would be for Johnny Cash, but he doesn’t have his own computer so he’s out of luck. Yum, Yum’s idea for the fourth of July is a good one but it could be “America the Beautiful” Elvis might even win that one. There’s almost 3 hours of music this week thank you so much Matt. We are sure looking forward to the cruise so among other obvious reasons we can meet some of these fellow night prowlers.

  8. 8 Steve in Arizona said at 11:09 pm on June 11th, 2010:

    Matt thanks for not putting all of the blues/country blues against each other. This made my vote easy, the distinctive guitar of Mississippi John Hurt. The ‘Blue Yodeler’, Gene Autry, and Lead Belly get honorable mention.

  9. 9 timevac3 said at 2:26 am on June 12th, 2010:

    If it was one of the choices, I’d have gone for the Jimmy Rodgers version. But my vote went to Mississippi John Hurt.
    Sam Cooke’s was a great performance, but the updated storyline was a bit lacking.
    Thanks for tossing in the Autry bawdy version. I hadn’t heard that before. Pretty cool stuff.

  10. 10 dave said at 9:04 am on June 12th, 2010:

    great show furry leader some versions i never heard before,the one that blew my mind what’s left of it was gene autry doing a dirty version but seeing that was not up for vote i went with sam cooke

  11. 11 David said at 12:52 pm on June 12th, 2010:

    It’s the second week in a row I think the pop charts had the right call and the biggest hit version remains my favorite, too. Sam Cooke all the way for me.

    I’m not sure Guy Lombardo/Kenny Gardner really *got* their allusion to the shot “right through the hardwood swingin’ door.” They might have really thought the lyrics referred to one of those old tavern doors. Wouldn’t be the first time square guys just read off a lyrics sheet and somebody else’s double entendre went right over their heads. Of course if Gene Autry could get down and dirty, maybe Guy Lombardo could, too, but I doubt it. In the context of the rest of Kenny’s lyrics, I think they would have changed this if they’d gotten it.

  12. 12 Pinball Wizard said at 1:46 pm on June 13th, 2010:

    First off, congratulations on an excellent technical job of playing the old recordings. Your equipment sounds excellent!

    We (my wife & I) agreed on Johnny Cash this week. The King was a very close second.

    I thought that B. Benton & S. Cooke did tremendous vocal performances but somehow the big production didn’t seem appropriate for the song.

  13. 13 Sierra said at 6:07 pm on June 13th, 2010:

    If I’d been Frankie in Sam’s version, I wouldn’t have shot Johnny right off the bat, but on the other hand, how do we know he was simply “telling her about me?” We don’t know what he was doing with Nellie, do we? How many men are going to admit to cheating? Frankie should have done some investigating before ending his life though.

  14. 14 Bruce said at 1:13 am on June 14th, 2010:

    My vote goes to Jimmy Rodgers, it’s always been the version that I associate the song with but unfortunately it wasn’t in the running so….Deb and I decided we liked the novelty of the Greenwood Country singers. While it may not have been the most powerful, or the most beautifully sung we thought it was the coolest (maybe it was the martinis I don’t know) Second would have to go to Mississippi John Hurt for the spectacular guitar work. I expected much more from Elvis, especially given the recording date, but it sounded rather uninspired. Gene Autry gets a big gold star on his forhead for coming up with the best version lyrically! Thanks Matt, lots of great music in this cat fight.

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