Self Portrait in an Outlaw Amish Barn
"Lonesome Liz is more than just Outalw Country, she's the female Robert Johnson." - Hank Hart, Southern Fried Magazine



video and song adaptation by Lonesome Liz

live in Richmond, video by Ron Thomas Smith

Hangin' Songs - Frankie Silver

Frankie Silver killed her husband with an axe one winter's night. Seems he was in all likelihood extremely abusive and she did it in self defense but it got pretty gruesome. She either hacked him to pieces or had her mom and brother help her do that - no one's sure which. They then hid him in various parts in various places, from the fireplace to beneath the floor. What I found most intriguing about the story is the history says they called a conjure man in to find the body. In fact, he found it and was the cause of her hanging. So, I wrote a new ballad based on him:

Sheriff Joe called Conjure Jim. 
"Bring your witchin' ball", he told him.
"Bring your hoodoo roots
and your juju juice.
No one's sure what Frankie Silver did.
Come conjure out whatever it is she hid."

Old Counjure Jim said, "Sheriff man,
I'm not really sure I can.
Snows blowin' high.
There's a darkenin' sky.
I don't care what Frankie Silver's done.
Just 'cause you call don't mean Old Jim runs."

There's chickens in the storm.
There's coyotes in the barn.
There's a murder of crows clawin at the trees.
Frakiie's cryin' alone on snowy knees.

Conjure Jim said, "Sheriff Joe,
how much will you pay me?
Let me make sure 
I won't get more
from that cryin' lady.
How much will you pay me?"

"Name your price, just show us what she hid.
No one's sure what Frankie Silver did."

There's chickens in the storm. etc.

He came and spit some whiskey on the floor.
He scratched weird patterns on the door.
He tossed his witchin' ball all too and fro.
Soon Frankie Silver's hangin on the gallows.
'Cause before too long they knew what Frankie did.
Old Conjure Jim won't let nothin' stay hid.

Blood rose up from the dirt below.
Bone shards crackled in the ember glow.
When he rolls his witchin ball across the hearth
you ain't keepin' nothin' in the dark.
Her innocence became real hard to swallow.
So, Frankie Silver's hangin' on the gallows.

There's chickens, etc.

More about Frankie Silver and a link to the original ballad:

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