The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46310 Message #2086953
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
25-Jun-07 - 08:51 PM
Thread Name: Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues
Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
Of the "24 versions of DT #350" only one approaches the Louisiana-south Texas African-American song as popularized in the New Orleans region in the late 1920's by Louis Armstrong and others, and collected in that region by Scarborough.
St. JAMES INFIRMARY in the DT is close to a version published by Sandburg 1927, Some verses (Old Joe's barroom, rubber-tired hack) in a version coll. in Alabama show cross-fertilization with the Streets-Armagh song. A version 'B' in Sandburg, coll. in Texas, is more closely related to the "How Sad ..." and Armstrong lyrics ("The American Songbag" as "Those Gambler's Blues," coll. in Alabama and Texas). The song arr. by Primrose (Irving Mills) for Louis Armstrong is a shortened version for recording.
"St. James Hospital," in the DT, by Iron-Head Baker as sung for Alan Lomax, is one of the versions with the tune of the Streets of Laredo-Bard of Armagh group. It bears little if any relationship to the song of Armstrong and Scarborough.
"How Sad Was the Death of My Sweetheart" and "St. James Infirmary" of the song by Louis Armstrong perhaps should be considered as members of a group separate from the others.