The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
Donald our friend, writer and fellow Blipper popped in to see us today to discuss a project, to let us see some of his photographs from a recent trip to The Wild West and to read through his latest short story.
We're both great fans of Bob Dylan and are of the opinion that The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest from the underrated and almost forgotten album John Wesley Harding is possibly his best lyrics.
We went on to discuss Dylan's influence on Cormac McCarthy with particular reference to Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West, the development of dark Gothic themes, Biblical elements and the re-imaging of Western iconography.
Here's a selection from the song - what do you think?
'........Well, Frankie Lee, he sat back down
Feelin' low and mean
When just then a passing stranger
Burst upon the scene
Saying, "Are you Frankie Lee, the gambler
Whose father is deceased ?
Well, if you are
There's a fellow callin' you down the road
And they say his name is Priest".
"Oh yes, he is my friend"
Said Frankie Lee in fright
"I do recall him very well
In fact, he just left my sight"
Yes, that's the one", said the stranger
As quit as a mouse.
"Well, my message is, he's down the road
Stranded in a house".
Well, Frankie Lee he panicked
He dropped ev'rythimg and ran
Until he came up to the spot
Where Judas Priest did stand
"What kind of a house is this", he said
"Where I have come to roam ?"
"It's not a house", said Judas Priest
"It's not a house, it's a home".
Well, Frankie Lee he trembled
He soon lost all control
Over ev'rything which he had made
While the mission bells did toll
He just stood there starring
At that big house as bright as any sun
With four and twenty windows
And a woman's face in ev'ry one.
Well, up the stairs ran Frankie Lee
With a soulful bounding leap
And foaming at the mouth
He began to make his midnight creep
For sixteen nights and days he raved
But on the seventeenth he burst
Into the arms of Judas Priest
Which is where he died of thirst.
No one tried to say a thing
When they carried him out in jest
Except of course, the little neighbor boy
Who carried him to rest
And he just walked along alone
Whit his guilt so well concealed
And muttered underneath his breath
"Nothing is revealed".
Well, the moral of the story
The moral of the song
Is simply that one should never be
Where ones does not belong
So when you see your neighbor carryin' somethin'
Help him with his load
And don't go mistaking Paradise
For that home across the road.