Frisco Mabel Joy

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'Frisco Mabel Joy
Studio album by Mickey Newbury
Released October 1971
Recorded 1971, Cinderella Studios, Tennessee
Genre Country
Length 44:47
Label Elektra
Producer Dennis Linde
Mickey Newbury chronology
Looks Like Rain
'Frisco Mabel Joy
Sings His Own
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars [1]

Frisco Mabel Joy is the 1971 concept album by singer-songwriter Mickey Newbury. This was the second of three albums Newbury recorded at Cinderella Sound. The album includes the original version of "An American Trilogy", which Elvis Presley later performed in his Las Vegas shows with much success. "How Many Times (Must The Piper Be Paid For His Song)" is a dramatically re-imagined version of a song first released on Harlequin Melodies, Newbury's RCA debut. Other standout tracks include "The Future's Not What It Used to Be", "Remember The Good", "Frisco Depot," and "How I Love Them Old Songs." The track "San Francisco Mabel Joy" was not initially part of the album, though it is included on some versions.

Frisco Mabel Joy was collected for CD issue on the eight-disc Mickey Newbury Collection from Mountain Retreat, Newbury's own label in the mid-1990s, along with nine other Newbury albums from 1969-1981.

In 2011, it was reissued again, both separately and as part of the four-disc Mickey Newbury box set An American Trilogy, alongside two other albums recorded at Cinderella Sound, Looks Like Rain and Heaven Help The Child. This release marks the first time that Frisco Mabel Joy has been released on CD in remastered form, after the original master tapes (long thought to have been destroyed in a fire) were rediscovered in 2010.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Mickey Newbury unless otherwise noted.

  1. "An American Trilogy" (Newbury/traditional) - 4:50
  2. "How Many Times (Must the Piper Be Paid for His Song)" - 5:48
  3. "Interlude" - 1:44
  4. "The Future's Not What It Used to Be" - 4:14
  5. "Mobile Blue" - 2:48
  6. "Frisco Depot" - 3:38
  7. "You're Not My Same Sweet Baby" - 3:46
  8. "Interlude" - 1:05
  9. "Remember the Good" - 2:57
  10. "Swiss Cottage Place" - 3:10
  11. "How I Love Them Old Songs" - 5:30
  12. "San Francisco Mabel Joy" - 5:17



  • Producer: Dennis Linde/Owsley Manier/Robert Rosemurgy
  • Recording Engineer: Wayne Linde/Wayne Moss
  • Art Direction: Robert L. Heimall
  • Photography: Robert L. Heimall
  • Liner Notes: unknown



Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Peak position
1972 Pop Albums 58
Year Single Chart Position
1972 "An American Trilogy" Billboard Pop Singles 26

Selected cover recordings[edit]

An American Trilogy combined three Civil War era songs from the Confederacy ("Dixie"), the Union ("Battle Hymn of the Republic"), and African American spirituals ("All My Trials") into a powerful new recording. Newbury debuted the song in a 1970 live performance at the Bitter End West. Elvis Presley made the song a part of his Las Vegas shows in 1972, and his version was included on live albums Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden (1972), Aloha From Hawaii: Via Satellite (1973), Elvis: As Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis (1974), and Elvis' 1972 documentary Elvis on Tour. The song is largely associated with Presley's interpretation, though in execution it is substantively different from Newbury's original version. Manowar included the song on their 2002 album Warriors of the World. Over 465 different versions of "An American Trilogy" have been recorded by different artists.

"Remember The Good" has been recorded by Eddy Arnold, Roy Orbison, Brook Benton, and Glenn Yarbrough, among others.

"Frisco Depot" was recorded by Waylon Jennings in 1972 prior to his breakthrough Lonesome, On'ry and Mean which included Newbury's "San Francisco Mabel Joy". Jennings has also recorded this album's "Mobile Blue" and "You're Not My Same Sweet Baby". Robert Forster included the song on his 1995 covers album I Had a New York Girlfriend. The song has also been covered by Roberta Flack and Ronny Cox.

"How I Love Them Old Songs" has merited thirty six different cover versions including recordings by Gene Vincent, Carol Channing, Bill Monroe, and Don Gibson. Mickey Gilley recorded the song on his 1975 album Movin' On, and it was recorded by Tompall Glaser on his 1977 album The Wonder of It All.

Roger Miller recorded "Swiss Cottage Place" prior to the release of the album. Ronnie Milsap recorded a version of "The Future's Not What It Used To Be" in 1977.

In 2000 Peter Blackstock, the founder of No Depression magazine, organized a multi-artist tribute that recreated the entire album titled Frisco Mabel Joy Revisited. Artists that participated in the recording include Dave Alvin performing "Mobile Blue," Michael Fracasso's "Remember The Good," and Kris Kristofferson recording "San Francisco Mabel Joy".