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The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest

Bob Dylan © 1968 Dwarf Music

(Official lyrics @ www.bobdylan.com)

17 Oct 1967

John Wesley Harding recording session 1, Nashville TN - 17.oct.1967, album version  

Well, Frankie Lee an' Judas Priest
They were the best of friends
So when Frankie Lee needed money one day
Judas quickly pulled out a roll of  tens
An' placed 'em on a footstool
Just above the plotted plain
Sayin', "Take your pick Frankie boy,
My loss will be your gain."

Well, Frankie Lee he sat right down
An' put a finger to his chin
But with the cold eyes of Judas on him
His head began to spin
"Would you please not stare at me like that", he said
"It's just my foolish pride
But sometimes a man must be alone
An' this is no place to hide."

Well, Judas he just winked an' said
"All right i'll leave you here
But you'd better hurry up an ' choose
Which of those bills you want
Before they  all disappear"
"I'm gonna start my pickin right now
Just tell me where you'll be."

Judas pointed down the road
An' said, "Eternity"
"Eternity?", said Frankie Lee
With a voice as cold as ice
"That's right", said Judas Priest,
"Though you might call it Paradise"
"It don't call anything"
Said Frankie Lee with a smile
"Alright", said Judas Priest
"I'll see you after a while."

Well, Frankie Lee he sat back down
Feelin' low an' mean
When just a passing stranger 
Burst upon the scene
Sayin', "Are you Frankie Lee the gambler
Whose father is deceased?"
"Oh if you are
There's a fellow callin' you down the road
An' he says 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 quiet as a mouse
"Oh my message is, he's down the road
Stranded in a house."

Well, Frankie Lee he panicked
He dropped everything an' ran
Until he came up to the spot
Where Judas Priest did stand
"What kind of 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 everything which he had made
While the mission bells did toll
He just stood there staring
At the big house as bright as any sun
With four an' twenty windows
An' a woman's face in every one.

Well, up the stairs ran Frankie Lee
With a soulful bounding leap
An' foaming at the mouth
He began to make his midnight creep
For sixteen nights an' 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
With his guilt so well concealed
And muttered underneath his breath
"Nothin' is revealed."

The moral of this story
The moral of this song
Is simply that one should never be
Where one does not belong
So when you see your neighbor carryin' somethin'
Help him with his load
An' don't go mistakin' paradise
For that home across the road. 

Recording dates & record list

18 Jun 1988THE CRITICS CHOICE Vol. 4 (bootleg)
Sep 2000SCEWG 2000 COMPILATION (bootleg)
17 Nov 2000PATHWAY TO THE STARS (b bootleg)