The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46310 Message #2743401
Posted By: Jack Campin
11-Oct-09 - 08:22 AM
Thread Name: Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues
Subject: RE: Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues
Both "Bard of Armagh" and "Streets of Laredo" got their tune from the same source - "The Banks of the Devon", whose melody was collected by Burns near Inverness (the singer's words were a Gaelic Jacobite song on the '45 rebellion by Alasdair MacMaighstear Alasdair). Burns's song (with words that nothing to do with the Gaelic original) was an enormous hit all over the English-speaking world. As a result the tune was still being suggested for broadside songs decades later.
Since Campbell came from the west of Scotland, was educated there and in Edinburgh, and had never been to Ireland when he wrote "Bard of Armagh", it's fairly obvious where he got the tune from.