The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20256 Message #211111
Posted By: GUEST,Mike C.
13-Apr-00 - 09:16 AM
Thread Name: Tune Req: St. James Infirmary Blues
Subject: RE: Tune Req: St. James Infirmy Blues
Hopefully, I'm on as a member, we'll see. In deference to Billy the Bus "from Down Under" I'll be using the handle Mike C. instead of Micky! Thanks for the response fo far from: Jed Marum, Billy, and Hotspur. I have heard the link between "Streets of Laredo" and "The Rake of Mallow". The Chieftains did a version of "Cotton Eyed Joe" which went back to a verifiable much older irish tune. The name escapes me at th moment but I'll see if I can get the jacket notes out. This may be another case of a tune evolving when it hit the shores here. As for the New Orleans tune we started with: I am checking the Historic New Orleans Collection for any reference to a St. James Infirmary in the city. The oldest hospital in the city was called "Hotel Dieu". Very French in origin, the present name for the system I believe is Charity Hospital. I don't know of any hospital there in the present with link to the St. James name. The word "Infirmary" strikes me as being more "British" in origin than American in usage. So perhaps there may be a strand to follow there. The reference to the Square, I had assumed at the time to be Jackson Squre situated in the hart of the Quarter in front of St. Louis Cathedral. There are presently no bars on the Square itself. Most of the buildings there were merchant and dry goods stores in the past due to the proximity of the wharf right off the Square. These were way to pricey or a neighborhood drinking establishment referred to in the song. Most of these are kept to the sides streets around the Square. Today, almost all are now on or just off the strip on Bourbon Street which only runs three to four city blocks.