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Frankie Lee Sims Interview

Frankie Lee Sims
photo by Chris Strachwitz
© Arhoolie Foundation

Interviewed by: Chris Strachwitz
Location:
Chris Strachwitz Home – Berkeley, CA

Date: 1963
Language: English

LISTEN HERE (27:30) : Frankie Lee sims interview

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This is an unedited interview originally recorded for research purposes. It is presented here in its raw state, unedited except to remove some irrelevant sections and blank spaces. All rights to the interview are reserved by the Arhoolie Foundation. Please do not use anything from this website without permission. info@arhoolie.org

Transcript:  A Note About the Transcriptions: In order to expedite the process of putting these interviews online, we are using a transcription service. Due to the challenges of transcribing speech – especially when it contains regional accents and refers to regional places and names – some of these interview transcriptions may contain errors. We have tried to correct as many as possible, but if you discover errors while listening, please send corrections to info@arhoolie.org.

 

Frankie Lee Sims:  I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, 1906. Been playing the guitar since I was 12-years-old.

Chris Strachwitz:  What is your birthday?

Frankie Lee Sims:  29th day of February.

Chris Strachwitz:  29th day of February. You were born in New Orleans?

Frankie Lee Sims:  I was born on Versailles Street in New Orleans.

Chris Strachwitz:  Where did your parents come from?

Frankie Lee Sims:  My father came from down south Texas. Around Navasota. My mother, she came from a place called Oakwood, Texas. It was 13 of us. Ain’t but one living now. That’s me.

Chris Strachwitz:  Is that right?

Frankie Lee Sims:  That’s right. I’m the oldest one and the only one that’s living now.

Chris Strachwitz:  What sort of work did your folks do?

Frankie Lee Sims:  For a period of time, my father and them, they farmed. Daddy could play a guitar. My mother could play a guitar. I guess you knew Lightin’ Hopkins, a  cousin of mine.

Chris Strachwitz:  How is he related to you?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Sister and brother children. His mother and my daddy are sister and brother.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh, I see.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Three more brothers can play a guitar. I had five that play guitar. Five sisters could play one. In other words, the whole family of us could play something or other.

Chris Strachwitz:  How long did you stay in New Orleans?

Frankie Lee Sims:  I really just want to say Texas is my home because I was 10-years-old when I left New Orleans. I’ve been back there and played a while around there. Night clubs and things down there.

Chris Strachwitz:  I was just wondering when you were a youngster. You left when you were about 10-years-old?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative)

Chris Strachwitz:  Where did you go to from there?

Frankie Lee Sims:  I went to a place called Marshall, Texas where I finished college at.

Chris Strachwitz:  Marshall, Texas?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Wiley College, Marshall. From there over to Crockett, Texas. Around Centerville, Leona, Madisonville, Oakwood and Dallas. All over Texas is what I said.

Chris Strachwitz:  When you left New Orleans, did you go with your parents?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Yeah. My parents until I was 12-years-old. I don’t know. I run off and left them when I was 12-years-old.

Chris Strachwitz:  When you were 12. Where was that?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Marshall, Texas.

Chris Strachwitz:  Were they farming there in Marshall?

Frankie Lee Sims:  They were farming out from Marshall. Back towards Longview, Texas.

Chris Strachwitz:  Were they working on some plantation?

Frankie Lee Sims:  No. I don’t know what they called it. Farming was all I knew. I think you can call it only half of it or something like that.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh yeah. Share-cropping?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative)

Chris Strachwitz:  They made half and half down in Longview?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Yeah, that’s right.

Chris Strachwitz:  What did they call that?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Half and half. If I remember good that’s what my father used to say all that. Half and half.

Chris Strachwitz:  Did your father play a lot at home?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Oh yeah. He played around. In the country the called them country balls and things. He used to play all that. He and my momma used to play together.

Chris Strachwitz:  Is that right?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative) They played two guitars.

Chris Strachwitz:  What sort of songs do you remember hearing?

Frankie Lee Sims:  All that. Take Me Back Baby and I’m All Out And Down. Like I was saying a while ago about that song. Old West Texas Blues, Colorita Springs, and Honey You Mad With Me. Lots of them old songs my father used to play.

Chris Strachwitz:  Did you learn any of them from your father?

Frankie Lee Sims:  I can play a few of them. The way I play them now, it’s been so long, I pick it up a little bit. Kind of put it a rock-and-roll money drive. If I have to I can get back to the same old thing ……Yeah.

Chris Strachwitz:  When did you start playing the guitar yourself?

Frankie Lee Sims:  I started playing the guitar when I was in college. My uncle had a guitar. He would let me play.

Chris Strachwitz:  Where was this?

Frankie Lee Sims:  In Marshall.

Chris Strachwitz:  In Marshall?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Yeah. My uncle did.

Chris Strachwitz:  You call it college but was that high school?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Wiley College.

Chris Strachwitz:  Wiley college.

Frankie Lee Sims:  When I came to Marshall I was in high school. I wasn’t but 10-years-old.

Chris Strachwitz:  Is that right?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative)

Chris Strachwitz:  I see. You attend and you went to a place called Wiley?

Frankie Lee Sims:  When I got to be 12 I went to Wiley College.

Chris Strachwitz:  Was that a music school?

Frankie Lee Sims:  No. I ain’t never had no kind of music lesson.

Chris Strachwitz:  Is that right? Wiley College?

Frankie Lee Sims:  I guess it’s just like it was for me and Sam. It was just a gift. It was just a gift to us. We liked it. Sam he could, Lightning you know him by, he played piano too you know.

Chris Strachwitz:  When you left and when down to Crockett did you do farm work?

Frankie Lee Sims:  No. I played guitar around there. Let’s see. I played on Friday and Saturday nights. Some nights I get a country ball. I’d play them out there. I taught school in Palestine two years.

Chris Strachwitz:  Is that right?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative) I taught school there in Palestine. Two years and then the war broke out. They pulled us out of that and I went into the Marines for three years. Then I came back out. A man school teacher wasn’t making too much. You know that yourself. Wasn’t making too much so I just put it down and went to Dallas. Went to Dallas up there and I cut that record for Blue Bonnet.

Chris Strachwitz:  You stayed in Marshall for quite some time?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative)

Chris Strachwitz:  You went all through school in Marshall?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative) I play a lot of them places I play around in Marshall too. The school closing and school parties there wasn’t nothing but soda water. All that at the parties. Maybe somebody give a party at this house tonight. Nothing could ………. Next house tomorrow night.

Chris Strachwitz:  Yeah. Then you decided to try in music ?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative) I make more money out t here see?

Chris Strachwitz:  Yeah.

Frankie Lee Sims:  At that time me, T-bone Walker, and Lightening Hopkins. Smokey Hogg was the only guitar player was down through there at the time. Then along came Little Son Jackson. We was the only ones down there. The guitar play was something other man.

Chris Strachwitz:  When you were still in school, when you were teaching, whare did you teach?

Frankie Lee Sims:  4th grade.

Chris Strachwitz:  In what town?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Palestine, Texas. 37 miles from Crockett.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh yeah. Did you ever hear any other guys that were singing around there?

Frankie Lee Sims:  No. I always could sing see. I always could sing but my hobby, what I really loved, was the guitar. You go somewhere where the guitar was at. I just didn’t pay no attention.

Chris Strachwitz:  Most of your early stuff, did you learn from your father?

Frankie Lee Sims:  My father and my cousin.

Chris Strachwitz:  Your cousin. When you got to Dallas who did you run into there?

Frankie Lee Sims:  When I got to Dallas I ran into T-bone. That’s who I run into, T-bone, in Dallas. He was living in Dallas. Plays out in what they call Oakcliff. Me and him got together. We played awhile around in Dallas. Old Man Sellers was the one who owned Blue Bonnet then. He came up to the Empire Room one evening and talked to me and Smokey Hogg.

Chris Strachwitz:  Was Smokey working at the Empire Room too?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Yeah. He was working there too. I put out that Cross Country Blues. You ain’t got that yet?

Chris Strachwitz:  No. That’s the one I broke.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Cross Country Blue. I put out that. Smokey put out A Long Tall Woman.

Chris Strachwitz:  He put out A Long Tall Woman?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative)

Chris Strachwitz:  Who else? Did you record that with … Who were the other fellows that were playing on that?

Frankie Lee Sims:  With me? On the Cross Country?

Chris Strachwitz:  Yeah.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Smokey. He was the one playing with me.

Chris Strachwitz:  Smokey was?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative)

Chris Strachwitz:  Who was that funny player that I liked there? Some white guy playing.

Frankie Lee Sims:  It was … What was his name? The one who put out Blue Suede Shoes. What his name?

Chris Strachwitz:  Carl Perkins.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Carl Perkins.

Chris Strachwitz:  He played steel too?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Yeah.

Chris Strachwitz:  I think that was Carl Perkins.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Yeah. That’s what it was. Carl Perkins. The one that put out Blue Suede Shoes. We recorded a record that day. That night we went out to … They called it The Longhorn out in Dallas. We played out there.

Chris Strachwitz:  Where’d you record? At Seller’s studios?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Yeah. He had a studio down at Commerce Street there in Dallas.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh yeah.

Frankie Lee Sims:  He got one there now but it’s a larger one. He got one it’s on Jackson now.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh is that right? Still the same man?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative) Sellers.

Frankie Lee Sims:  I cut that. For Lucy Mae I cut. For Specialty I cut it. It was at Sellers then.

Chris Strachwitz:  Was it also recorded  there?

Frankie Lee Sims:  That’s What Will Lucy Do. What Will Lucy Do is cut in Jackson Mississippi.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh yeah. That’s right. That’s I don’t have here I guess. That you made for Specialty. What was the name of that …

Frankie Lee Sims:  Look here. See. What Will  Lucy Do? The other one is named Lucy Mae. Straight Lucy Mae.

Chris Strachwitz:  That’s right. I remember hearing that. I never found the record but it’s someplace.

Frankie Lee Sims:  This here was made at Seller Recording Company right there on Jackson Street in Dallas.

Chris Strachwitz:  You mean these ones Specialty?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative) That was specialty. He just needed to  ……. . See?

Chris Strachwitz:  Yeah. Did you make those in Jackson?

Frankie Lee Sims:  I made this one here in Dallas and these other in … Walking with Frankie. Hey Little Girl I made it in Jackson.

Chris Strachwitz:  In Jackson but you made What Will Lucy Do in Dallas?

Frankie Lee Sims:  What Will Lucy Do in Dallas.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh I see. Did (Johnny) Vincent come out to Dallas?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. Yeah. At the time, when I made that What Will Lucy Do, Johnny he was just pulling it out of Specialty. You see? He wasn’t living exactly in Jackson.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh I see.

Frankie Lee Sims:  His wife, brother, or sister wanted to live in a little place called Irving, Texas. Outside from Dallas. That’s where he was. He had to drive over there.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh I see. It’s quite complicated. Who else did you run into? You ran into Smokey Hogg and T-bone. Who’s some of the other guys?

Frankie Lee Sims:  What’s his name? He played piano. Mean Charles Brown. We played around together. Then after Walking With Frankie I left there and went to Chicago. Me, Muddy Water, Screaming J. Hawkins, Little Milton, Etta James, Buddy Johnson, and Ellis Johnson. We all played at the Regal Theater on 42nd and South Park in Chicago for about three months. Then we went to American Bandstand. Me and Jimmy McCracklin. I went there with Walking With Frankie and he went there with Doing The Walk.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh yeah.

Frankie Lee Sims:  You remember that? Doing The Walk.

Chris Strachwitz:  Have you gone to see him?

Frankie Lee Sims:  I haven’t seen him since I’ve been here. They tell me he is here somewhere.

Chris Strachwitz:  Yeah. He’s at the Savoy Club.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Another one of us is up there in Chicago. Big Momma Thornton.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh yeah. Was she up there too?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative) She was up there. We used to call her the hound-dog woman.

Chris Strachwitz:  Yeah. I just hit her up here the other day talking to her. She will be at The Cabal too.

Frankie Lee Sims:  With my buddy. I had a buddy though. I like him all right but he’d get too drunk. He couldn’t play.

Chris Strachwitz:  Who’s that?

Frankie Lee Sims:   Jimmy Reed. His wife plays with him now.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh yeah?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Yeah. His wife plays with him. We played in Memphis, Tennessee. Jimmy was too drunk to come out. I had to come out there and impersonate him. Oh man. That sure was a mess.

Chris Strachwitz:  I’ve had the same thing. That was a horrible show man.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Look here. Can you remember when all of them people burned up in Mississippi in that barn or thing. .

Chris Strachwitz:  I’ve heard about that. Yeah. The match …

Frankie Lee Sims:  Natchez, Mississippi.

Chris Strachwitz:  That’s right. It was some ballroom.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Ballroom. Look here. I just walked out. I just walked out of it.

Chris Strachwitz:  You had just been …

Frankie Lee Sims:  Me and Howlin’ Wolf just walked out of it. Howlin’ Wolf recorded a record about it.

Chris Strachwitz:  That’s right. He talks about the Natchez thing. Who’s band was playing there. Do you remember?

Frankie Lee Sims:  It was the same band. It’s a band out of Houston. I think his name was Bill Hadley. You remember Bill Hadley? The one that BB King used to play with. BB and Bobby “Blue” Bland and the Little Junior Parker. They used to record with him.

Chris Strachwitz:  What year was that? Do you remember?

Frankie Lee Sims:  That was in 1942. One year after Pearl Harbor was bombed.

Chris Strachwitz:  Huh. Was that a big band there?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative) Big band. Big concert mostly.

Chris Strachwitz:  You don’t think the guys name was Barnes do you? The bands name?

Frankie Lee Sims:  No. Bill Hadley. His names was Bill Hadley. He blow a ton of saxophone. He blew a ton of saxophone and got a woman. Blew a ton of saxophone with her. They got a guy who played guitar. He played it like BB King. You couldn’t tell them apart if you wasn’t looking at them. Bobby plays with him now. He’s recording with him. That’s the reason why you hear all our records Bobby’s singing. The guitar playing you would think it was BB behind us. It’s the guy who played with Bill Hadley. Had Don ….  voice.

(Editor’s note. On April 23, 1940 a fire broke out at the Rhythm Club in Natchez, MS. 209 people died including bandleader Walter Barnes and nine members of his dance orchestra. On July 19, 1956 Howlin’ Wolf recorded “Natchez Burnin’”)

Chris Strachwitz:  You’ve been all around I guess.

Frankie Lee Sims:  No man. I’ve been around. I like froze this once though.

Chris Strachwitz:  When was that?

Frankie Lee Sims:  We went to Cheyenne, Wyoming. You know? The bus broke down on us. Snow bound. I got so cold that I give up. I’m telling you man. There was 40 of us on the bus too.

Chris Strachwitz:  Did you go up there with the whole show?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative) We went with the show.

Chris Strachwitz:  Who was your booking agent there? Do you remember?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Yeah. The booking one. Remember … Have you ever heard of a guy who used to be there in Chicago there. They call Al Vincent.

Chris Strachwitz:  Al Vincent? Yeah.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Al Vincent. He’s a booking agent up through there.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh yeah.

Frankie Lee Sims:  This fellow on the corner of 42nd and Broadway in New York too. He’s one booking agent for us. Then there’s this man in Dallas there. Howard Lewis. He’s a booking agent while we’re down south.

Chris Strachwitz:  Who was usually on your … Who was up in Wyoming with you?

Frankie Lee Sims:  It was me. What’s his name? Mississippi Slim. Tennessee Slim. Memphis Slim. Memphis Slim. Uh huh. (affirmative) Me and Memphis Slim. This boy dies not long ago. They called Guitar Slim.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh yeah. Eddie Jones I think was his real name.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Yeah I think it was.

Chris Strachwitz:  He used to wear red suits.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative) That’s right. The last record I remembering him playing was about the things I used to do, I don’t do it no more. We was all together. At that time we was together Johnny Ace wasn’t dead. Johnny Ace was with us too.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh is that right?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative)

Chris Strachwitz:  Man you were pretty popular for awhile.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. Yeah. I ain’t going to kill myself. Period.

Chris Strachwitz:  Yeah.

Frankie Lee Sims:  I got three songs now. They’re real good. They are really good.

Chris Strachwitz:  I’ll have to listen to it. I’ll try to work it out. The next few weeks I do have some time. I’m just kind of curious about, again, some of your older songs. Do you think you could work up some of those?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Here?

Chris Strachwitz:  Even some of the earlier stuff like you mentioned.

Frankie Lee Sims:  My father? Oh yeah. Like you said. I figured that’s what you want. Some of that like that well I …

Chris Strachwitz:  I was say …

Frankie Lee Sims:  You and I go back to the house I’ll start practicing on that. See?

Chris Strachwitz:  I would strongly suggest that you do that for the Cabal. That’s the kind of music people will love to hear. Especially if … Have you ever played an open kind of box? I know on that Blue Bonnet you played just a regular old guitar.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Regular old guitar. The mic was right in front of me. Like this here.

Chris Strachwitz:  Yeah. Especially if you want to do some of those old stuff on the regular guitar.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Like the lady was playing the other night up there?

Chris Strachwitz:  Yeah.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Standard guitar.

Chris Strachwitz:  Yes. Standard guitar. You’ll find that they kids will really like some of those old songs. As you see they don’t hear much.

Frankie Lee Sims:  The boy said he don’t dig it.

Chris Strachwitz:  You’ll find that they really like it.

Frankie Lee Sims:  What do you call them? Two more up there I forgot to mention to you.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh yeah?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Old Joe Turner. Smiley Lewis.

Chris Strachwitz:  Yeah. I think if you could practice up some of those.

Frankie Lee Sims:  That ain’t no big deal now.

Chris Strachwitz:  Especially as old as you can think of.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Yeah.

Chris Strachwitz:  Most of us really like it.

Frankie Lee Sims:  I’ll go back to when I was nothing but a kid. I know one thing. The first thing I learnt I can’t see it on this here. The first think I liked my daddy gonna whoop me about it. I can’t see it.

Chris Strachwitz:  What was that?

Frankie Lee Sims:  It was a bad piece. Not you. You …..

Chris Strachwitz:  Nobody’s going …

Frankie Lee Sims:  It’s a piece called Funky Butt.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh yeah?

Frankie Lee Sims:  I was sittin’ on the …. one morning. Had poppa’s  guitar. ‘(singing) Funky Butt. Funky Butt. Take it Away.’ Pops said, “What is that boy?” I wasn’t singing. I was just making the guitar play because I didn’t know it. Lightening had it. I’ve been hearing him playing. Everything he played I pick it up. He stood and he said, “Yeah. You old Funky Butt.” That old man liked to beat me to death. That’s right. The first thing that I learned. Funky Butt. Funky Butt. Take it away.

Chris Strachwitz:  Did you learn that in New Orleans?

Frankie Lee Sims:  I learned in New Orleans. That’s right.

Chris Strachwitz:  I thought so because I’ve heard people from there. Can you sing it?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Me? Yeah. I’m getting  there. I don’t forget them. I know all my father’s songs. Them old songs like that now. A whole lot of them they change the style of it see. First I have to get back to that style. You can’t just jump out there.

Chris Strachwitz:  Yeah. I know.

Frankie Lee Sims:  They’re like a … All Out And Down. You hear the All Out And Down. Well Little Son Jackson got that rocking and rolling.

Chris Strachwitz:  It used to be something like walk down East Cairo Street one day.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Standing on Cairo Street one day by Blind Lemon?

Chris Strachwitz:  Yeah.

Frankie Lee Sims:  I can play that.

Chris Strachwitz:  That’s be nice.

Frankie Lee Sims:  That old song about the blues coming to Texas. Lopin’  Like a Mule. I play all them by Blind Lemon.

Chris Strachwitz:  Is that I walked from Dallas Texas

Frankie Lee Sims:  I walk to Wichita Falls. If they wouldn’t have found my shoes I wouldn’t have walked at all.

Chris Strachwitz:  Where did you first hear that? I’m just curious.

Frankie Lee Sims:  I heard that … See. Blind Lemon was there in Dallas at the time. See?

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh.

Frankie Lee Sims:  He was there in Dallas and I heard him playing that. Two White Horses in a line. All that. I know all them old songs.

Chris Strachwitz:  That’s the kind of stuff you should practice on because people really … This is what they like about Mance Lipscomb. When he comes he sings nothing but that old music. You see?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Well you know one thing? In this music world you don’t please yourself. Please the public. See? They like this here. We played this. We made this record here. Hey Little Girl. Now we made this for the hit. Now we did bullcorn on this here. Walking With Frankie. That’s the one he made. We did numbered bullcorn. We did none of this rapping. Saxophone blowing and we was having fun. This here is the one that I sold more … Made more money off Walking With Frankie than I ever made. Hey Little Girl didn’t do nothing. It took them along with the record because it was on the other side.

Chris Strachwitz:  Going back. I think it would be good if you can mix them. Playing at the Cabal you’ll find out. Maybe do a like when you start out just play some of them old numbers and then do some of your new ones.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative)

Chris Strachwitz:  You can probably borrow somebody’s acoustic guitar. I got one in here. How’d you have that guitar…?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Six E big E strings on it. That’s the truth now. Sometimes we have played. Take a stand of baling wire and put it up there for the bass man. Then it’s so hard to get the strings.

Chris Strachwitz:  Is that right?

Frankie Lee Sims:  That’s so hard to get the strings then.

Chris Strachwitz:  Do they cost too much?

Frankie Lee Sims:  No. You just couldn’t find them. See? Certain places now …

Chris Strachwitz:  In the country.

Frankie Lee Sims:  In the country. We lived about 12-15 miles from town. You go to town once a week. See? My little ole’ town didn’t have no music or nothing like that up there. You ever see him again you tell him we have had six of these here.

Chris Strachwitz:  How the hell did you do it?

Frankie Lee Sims:  I don’t know how we do it but we did it.

Chris Strachwitz:  That’s incredible.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Man it’s pitiful. It’s real pitiful. He wasn’t looking straight at us. We break two or three strings. Keep right on doing it. When a man gets full of that juice. First thing you do when you’re playing with man is get put in a pat their feet. You can play Yankee Doodle Dandy and he don’t know the difference of what’s going on. Play it. He’d just holler and play it. Anything you can think about.

Chris Strachwitz:  Do you think people thought more about the songs in the old days when you heard Blind Lemon? Did they pay more attention to what …..

Frankie Lee Sims:  Oldey back here. Mind you everybody knows what you’re singing. You’ve gotta sing what you’re going to sing because they know it. They done heard it. They liable to come up and ask you to play that 50 times. Just that one thing over and over. That’s what they like. Back 30 years ago it was musician. There ain’t no musician now. They ain’t playing nothing but rapping. Bullcorn. You used to play a guitar. They call pick a guitar. Now they got rapping the guitar. See even way back yonder when … What’s this guys name? Jimmy Rogers. Jimmy Rogers played the guitar but now they got that straight pick. Rapping the entire way.

Chris Strachwitz:  Did you ever learn any of the Jimmy Rogers songs?

Frankie Lee Sims:  No. I never. I remember when I was a kid. I might think of it if I sit down real hard and was thinking of it. I remember one that used to yodel and go on. (guitar playing) What’s this?

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh that’s my camera.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Oh boy. Now I look like a hankey man here. (guitar playing)

Chris Strachwitz:  Can you remember any? You said you know quite a few of Lemon’s songs. Have you ever hear him sing that Penitentiary Blues?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Oh. Six months ain’t no summer. Two years ain’t no time. Got a woman. I’m gonna go read to her in 99.

Chris Strachwitz:  On the where?

Frankie Lee Sims:  On the go read. During 99. That was Blind Lemon.

Chris Strachwitz:  Oh.

Frankie Lee Sims:  Uh huh. (affirmative)

Chris Strachwitz:  You think you could do just a little bit of that?

Frankie Lee Sims:  (guitar playing and singing)

Mean ole buddy of mine. He was the last one I was going to cut a record with. A boy named King Curtis. We put out a record called A Soul Twist.

Chris Strachwitz:  You were on that album?

Frankie Lee Sims:  Yeah. I’m the one playing the guitar on it.

Chris Strachwitz:  I’ll be darned.

Frankie Lee Sims:  (guitar playing)