The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54970 Message #1282819
Posted By: PoppaGator
28-Sep-04 - 12:41 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: St. James Infirmary
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: ST. JAMES INFIRMARY
If you ever get a chance, listen to Danny Barker's rendition.
Danny played tenor banjo and guitar (acoustic arch-top of course) with *everybody* in jazz in his heyday -- including many years with The Man himself, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong. Danny's solo recording of this song is a masterpiece of comic vocals backed with some nicely understated guitar.
Danny didn't go in for fancy high-speed picking, but his arrangements usually featured some fairly complex chord progressions -- very much in character for a traditional-jazz banjo man.
Yeah, I know, the lyrics are sad and serious; it's not supposed to be a humorous song. Danny sorta treats it as an old chestnut that everyone has already heard way too often, and interjects a lot of added commentary in a good-natured clowning-around manner, as though feigning an effort to stave off boredom.
He also recorded "Save the Bones for Henry Jones ('Cause Henry Doesn't Eat No Meat)" in the same style -- perhaps at the same session -- along with the old French Creole tune "Eh La Bas" and probably several others. The three songs I named are all heard pretty often on our local community radio station, WWOZ-FM. "Save the Bones" is especially hilarious.