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Frankie Ford

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Frankie was influenced by the piano stylings of Clarence "Frogman" Henry and Huey Smith. He also credits Ray Charles, Fats Domino and Professor Longhair as big influences on his career.

One night after a local gig, Frankie was introduced to Joe Caronna, who was the New Orlenas distributor for Ace Records. Ford was asked if he was interested in making a record and of course the answer was yes. A few weeks later, Frankie was called to come down to Cosimo's studio. He went down and played two songs for him, "Cheatin' Woman," and "Last One To Cry." Joe Caronna was very impressed with the tunes and became Frankie's manager. Joe set up Ford's first recording session with Ace Records.

Ace Records released "Cheatin' Woman" backed with "Last One To Cry" in 1958. It was a modest hit in south Louisiana.

About this time, Huey Smith had a song called "Sea Cruise." He had recorded it and it was to be the follow-up to "Don't You Just Know It" which was high up on the charts. Huey was having a few problems with his lead singer, Bobby Marchan. Johnny Vincent, who owned Ace Records, heard the finished masters and decided they needed some more work. Vincent called in Frankie and had him overdub his vocals on the backing tracks of "Sea Cruise" and "Roberta." They thought Frankie sounded a lot like Marchan. It was decided that Frankie would take over as vocalist with Huey Smith and the Clowns. Frankie's manager, Joe Caronna, was against the idea, especially with Smith's group doing so well at the time with "Don't You Just Know It." So Joe suggested that they release the record on Frankie.

In 1960, Frankie Fiord signed a contract with Imperial Records. They approached him with an offer he couldn't refuse. Imperial had better distribution and they offered him "front" money. His producer was going to be Dave Bartholomew, who at the time, was one of the best producers around.

His first release for Imperial was "You Talk Too Much." Joe Jones had cut the song for Roulette Records in New York and they put it on the shelf. They cut it exactly like Joe Jones' version. After the session, they took it to Los Angeles on a Monday night. It was mastered on Tuesday, and by Wednesday and Thursday it was pressed and being sent out. The public couldn't by the Joe Jones version, so everyone was buying up the Frankie Ford 45. Imperial sold close to a million copies on Frankie's cover record.

Other releases followed on Imperial such as "My Southern Belle" backed with "The Groom" in November of 1960, "Dog House" and "Seventeen" in March of 1961, "Let 'Em Talk" and "What Ever Happened To You" in October of 1961 and "They Said It Couldn't Be Done" backed with "A Man Only Does" in March of 1962.

In 1974, Frankie signed with ABC Records and hit the national charts with the Fats Domino tune, "Blue Monday."

In 1978, Frankie appeared in the motion picture "American Hot Wax.

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