The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46310 Message #3888698
Posted By: Jim Carroll
15-Nov-17 - 09:01 AM
Thread Name: Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues
Subject: RE: Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues
"maybe Jim can tell us how likely that is"
Not a chance
Tom got virtually all his songs from local singers or family members with the exception of those he learned from very early garlands or songbooks
He had not sung most of his songs for thirty odd years before Tom Munnelly began to record him, shortly before we did in 1973
The idea that he learned it from a blues singer is a bit of a joke really - can't wait to discuss it with the locals here
I think a comparison between Tom's beautiful interpretation and Satchmo's should be enough to scotch that one.
As far as 'Lock' is concerned - the term is a vernacular one popular in Dublin and my native Liverpool - obviously brought in by Irish immigrants
The Oxford Dictonary of Slang gives one definition of the term as 'the female pudend', (mid 18th-20 century) and 'lock of all locks' - ie 'the key' the male counterpart (1772)
I can't find my original note to the St James's Palace reference, but it points out that charity hospitals run by nuns were often somewhat coy when it came to describing diseases and 'leprosy' quite often covered a multitude of sins - literally!