Friday, December 26, 2014

(True Crime) Friday Reading

It's a frame-up: Frankie & Johnny
By Paul Slade
Less than 24 hours after Frankie Baker pulled that trigger, a ballad telling her story was already being sold on the city's street corners. Allen wasn't even dead yet - he didn't finally succumb to his wounds until October 19 - but already the balladeers had him six feet under. The song's been in constant circulation ever since. 


by Don Haines
But this marker is not a tombstone. Three natural stones that could have been plucked from Celo Knob, hovering in the distance, have that distinction. Because Charlie Silver wasn’t buried all at once. There are many words that could be used to describe the Charlie and Frankie Silver story. Bizarre, gruesome and puzzling will do for starters. That Frankie killed Charlie one cold December night in 1831 in Kona, N.C. is not disputed. But beyond that it’s difficult to tell where truth ends and myth begins.


There were five other murders that Christmas night in St Louis, but this was the one that counted. Work songs, field chants and folktales describing how Lee 'Stack Lee' Shelton killed Billy Lyons started to spring up almost immediately. The earliest written lyrics we have date back to 1903, and the first discs to 1923. There have been well over 200 versions of Stack's story released on record since then, giving him a list of biographers which includes some of the biggest names in popular music. Duke Ellington, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and James Brown have all recorded the song at one time or another, as have Wilson Pickett, The Clash, Bob Dylan, Dr John and Nick Cave. Even Elvis Presley had a stab at it in a 1970 rehearsal session which later surfaced as a bootleg CD. 


by Jeanie Russell Kasindorf
It was the end of the second week of chasing the story of the mummy in the dead drag queen's closet, and I was finally about to hear the story of exactly how the body had been found.

The Hatfields and McCoys, America's most infamous feuding families, have had new life breathed into the bitter rivalry thanks to the discovery of one of their most legendary battle sites.  
An archaeological dig has shed light on the New Year's Day Massacre of 1888 which culminated with  the last in a long list of deaths on both sides and brought bloodshed to an end. 
Artifacts have been unearthed where the home of patriarch Randall McCoy once stood, in the rural lands of Hardy, Kentucky on the 125th anniversary of the massacre.





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