~~ editing Poole’s Frankie and Johnny lyric
The Charlie Poole lyric for the New Lost City Ramblers is much more to my taste than the more familiar one. I make some changes, however, to help me put it across clearly.
Where Poole follows “out from under her pink kimono she pulled her 44 gun” with “(These love affairs___ are hard to bear)”, which I didn’t get from several hearings, so I sang what I heard: “(because a pair___ are hard to wear)”, which tickles my taste for the absurd aside in the midst of fast-moving dramatic action, like Han Solo’s running joke “it’s not my fault!” in Star Wars.
Now, in latest performance to a crowd that isn’t much attuned to comic irony, I sang “You stay right there___ you ain’ goin’ nowhere” with more confidence of being heard, helped by how it continues the visual action flow.
The other change (in two places) comes about, again, from my difficulty in doping out the archival track: “My love, Frankie, don’t shoot” parses so quaint as to make it difficult for non-antiquarian ears. There, and in its role-reversed counterpart, I find it easier to project “Frankie my love, don’t shoot”. The fast tempo makes elocution a challenge, and this trips more readily off my tongue.