The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46310 Message #3889389
Posted By: Jim Carroll
20-Nov-17 - 04:26 AM
Thread Name: Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues
Subject: RE: Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues
This entire discussion seems to be based on the idea that, if it hasn't been collected it has never existed.
A widespread and detailed knowledge of our song traditions does not predate the beginning of the twentieth century when field research began in earnest and the researchers insisted that they were dealing with a long term tradition that was on its last legs.
A folk song sung by 'shepherds' was reported as early as 1549, which indicates an oral tradition at least as early as that - that song was still in the oral tradition and being collected into the tatter half of the twentieth century
Hardly surprising that a single location can't be traced.
Our knowledge of the tradition represents a tiny blip of a long-standing and wide-ranging cultural activity