Tribute and Variety
Shows are super successful. The buyer gets more bang for the buck, spending the same amount on
4 to 6 names.
The audience gets to hear a variety of artists. Win Win!
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
One night after a local gig, Frankie was introduced to Joe
Caronna, who was the New Orleans distributor for Ace Records.
Asked if he was interested in making a record, Frankie's answer
was, of course, 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
Ace Records released "Cheatin'
Woman" backed with "Last
One To Cry" in 1958. It was a modest hit in southern
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, called in Frankie and had him overdub his vocals
on the backing tracks of "Sea
Cruise" and "Roberta".
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 signed a contract with Imperial
Records. 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 buy 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" b/w "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" b/w "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", and in 1978, he appeared in the
motion picture American Hot Wax. "Sea
Cruise" has been used to advertise Diet Coke, Sprite, Coors Light Beer on radio and
in TV commercials. It's on the soundtrack of the award winning Canadian film
My American Cousin, as well as in Stewardess School,
Ski Patrol, Quantum Leap, and Lifestyles of The Rich &
Frankie Ford is known all over the world as the "New
Orleans Dynamo" and spends about 200 days a year on the
road. The legendary rock n' roll pianist and performer has
continued to record and to entertain the masses all over the
world in concerts, night clubs, casinos and festivals.