Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues

DigiTrad:
LOCKE HOSPITAL
ST. JAMES HOSPITAL
ST. JAMES INFIRMARY
THE UNFORTUNATE RAKE


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Der Treue Husar and the Unfortunate Rake (25)
Lyr/Chords Req: St. James Infirmary (23)
(origins) Tune Req: St. James Infirmary Blues (18)
Lyr Add: The Unfortunate Lad (#350 / Rake's Lamen (8)
Help: St. James Infirmary - by Rolling Stones? (41)
Lyr Req: St. James Infirmary (24)
Tune Req: St. James Infirmary (12)
Lyr Req: Bright Shiny Morning (9)
St. James Infirmary (from Josh White) (2)
Chords Req: St. James Infirmary (6)
Lyr Add: St. Jude's Infirmary (Parody for Spaw) (15)
Lyr Req: St James Infirmary (request only) (4) (closed)
Chords/Tab Req: St. James Infirmary (5)
Help: The Unfortunate Rake (3)
Tune Req: St. James Infirmary (7)


JedMarum 09 Apr 02 - 01:55 PM
BB 09 Apr 02 - 02:36 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 02 - 02:44 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 02 - 03:36 PM
Snuffy 09 Apr 02 - 07:17 PM
Susan of DT 09 Apr 02 - 07:52 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 09 Apr 02 - 08:35 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 09 Apr 02 - 11:10 PM
masato sakurai 10 Apr 02 - 06:22 AM
DMcG 10 Apr 02 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,Nerd 10 Apr 02 - 01:09 PM
greg stephens 11 Apr 02 - 07:22 AM
JedMarum 11 Apr 02 - 08:56 AM
greg stephens 11 Apr 02 - 09:00 AM
greg stephens 11 Apr 02 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,MAG at work 11 Apr 02 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,anna 20 Mar 06 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,oz childs 27 Aug 06 - 09:05 PM
GUEST,Another source--the Bard of Armagh? 25 Jun 07 - 02:43 PM
Scoville 25 Jun 07 - 02:48 PM
erosconpollo 25 Jun 07 - 03:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Jun 07 - 05:44 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Jun 07 - 06:21 PM
Susan of DT 25 Jun 07 - 07:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Jun 07 - 08:51 PM
Acme 25 Jun 07 - 10:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Jun 07 - 10:30 PM
Acme 26 Jun 07 - 01:36 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Jun 07 - 07:46 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jun 07 - 01:18 AM
mrdux 27 Jun 07 - 06:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jun 07 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Richie 27 Jun 07 - 06:36 PM
mrdux 28 Jun 07 - 01:24 AM
GUEST,Lighter 28 Jun 07 - 12:23 PM
Bee 29 Jun 07 - 10:31 PM
retrancer 29 Jun 07 - 10:49 PM
GUEST 20 Feb 08 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,Joseph de Culver City 20 Feb 08 - 03:09 PM
Stringsinger 20 Feb 08 - 03:15 PM
irishenglish 20 Feb 08 - 03:22 PM
Mark Clark 20 Feb 08 - 09:00 PM
GUEST,Guest 07 May 08 - 04:08 PM
PoppaGator 07 May 08 - 04:26 PM
PoppaGator 07 May 08 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Dave MacKenzie 07 May 08 - 07:34 PM
Stewie 07 May 08 - 11:30 PM
Mr Happy 08 May 08 - 09:23 AM
Joe_F 08 May 08 - 09:28 PM
PoppaGator 09 May 08 - 01:10 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:








Subject: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: JedMarum
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 01:55 PM

I'm looking for the history behind this song. I've heard/seen discussion on it's origins, perhaps an English song that was adapted in New Orleans ... what do we know about this song?

Search for "infirmary" threads


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: BB
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 02:36 PM

I understand that this song has its origins in the British song 'The Unfortunate Rake', other versions of which include 'The Young Man (or Girl) Cut Down in his (her) Prime', 'The Royal Albion', 'The Streets of Laredo', 'The Dying Airman', etc., etc. I believe there are versions all over the English-speaking world, although I only know of three where the person in question is female - one from America, one from the Caribbean and one from England.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 02:44 PM

This has been discussed (much good material) in several threads. Check in the Forum under all of the possible names.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 03:36 PM

In the Forum, type St. James. This will bring up most of the material.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Snuffy
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 07:17 PM

There are about 20 versions already in the DT database. Type LAREDS* in the "DigiTrad Lyrics Search" box.

WassaiL! V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 07:52 PM

They also have DT #350, so you can search for #350
when you find a song with a child or DT #, you can search on that # for related songs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 08:35 PM

Folkways released a whole album of variants of the song. It's probably available through the Smithsonian.

Jerrry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 11:10 PM

The only threads that seems to cover the song are:

St. James Infirmary Blues
St. James Infirmary Blues
St. James Infirmary Blues


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 06:22 AM

The record Jerry mentions is The Unfortunate Rake: A Study in the Evolution of a Ballad (Notes by Kenneth Goldstein) (Folkways FA 2305, 1960) [LP], which includes:

SIDE I
1. The Unfortunate Rake (Sung by A.L. Lloyd)
2. The Trooper Cut Down in His Prime (Sung by Ewan MscColl)
3. The Youg Sailor Cut Down in His Prime (Sung by Harry Cox)
4. Noo I'm a Young Man Cut Down in My Prime (Sung by Willie Mathieson)
5. The Bad Girl's Lament (Sung by Wade Hemsworth)
6. One Mornign in May (Sung by Hally Wood)
7. Bright Summer Morning (Sing by Mrs. Viola Penn)
8. The Girl in the Dilger Case (Sung by D.K. Wilgus)
9. The Cowboy's Lament (Sung by Bruce Buckley)
10. The Streets of Laredo (Sung by Harry Jackson)

SIDE II
1. St. James Hospital (Sung by Alan Lomax)
2. Gambler's Blues (Sung by Dave Van Ronk)
3. I Once Was a Carman in the Big Mountain Con (Sung by Guthrie Meade)
4. The Lineman's Hymn (Sung by Rosalie Sorrels)
5. The Wild Lumberjack (Sung by Kenneth S. Goldstein)
6. A Sun Valley Song (Sung by Jan Brunvand)
7. The Ballad of Bloody Thursday (Sung by John Greenway)
8. The Streets of Hamtramck (Sung by Bill Friedland)
9. The Ballad of Sherman Wu (Sung by Pete Seeger)
10. The Professor's Lament (Sung by Roger Abrahams)

To my regret, I don't have that record (having only a photocpy of the notes).

~Masato


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: DMcG
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 07:26 AM

Norma Waterson introduced this song at the Union Chapel recording (see separate thread) with something like the following line:

"Nothing spreads a folksong like a good case of syphilis"

Preplanned line, certainly, but still takes some beating!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 01:09 PM

The Folkways record mentioned above can be special-ordered as a CD. I have it, as I was a student of Kenny Goldstein's. I don't much recommend it as listening; alongside the good singers, Kenny pressed into service several folklorists, including himself and Jan Brunvand (!) But the notes are crucial!

The English Folk Song and Dance's publication Root & Branch did an article with a historical flow chart on the song. It's available from the EFDSS. (Sorry, no blicky! go to www.efdss.org)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 07:22 AM

There are lots of other threads about this, not all of them accessible to me,so apologies if any comments I make are duplicated elsewhere. (1) The name: St James Hospital in Liverpool comes up a lot as the most likely candidate. (2) The words: British/Irish (no way of deciding which cme first and there never will be, so feelfree to follow your own prejudices). A huge variety of songs (typical title "Young Sailor cut down in his prime" in which a friend of the narrator of the song has died and is given a stylised funeral.The cause of death various from war to drowning to "social diseases" to generised results of unspecified loose living.English versions generally have 4 stresses in each line, like the American version"Streets of Laredo".St James Infirmary has 3 stresses per line. (3) the story: much of the power of St James Ifirmary seems to lie in the extreme vagueness of the story line, much more "stream of consciousness"" than the clearer English versions. It's often by no meams clear whether a singer is referring to the death of the girl on the slab or his/her own departure, in different parts of the song. I know, because I often sing the song, how easy it is to change the feel of the song by minor changes and omissions in the verses (surely a hallmark of a folksong!). (everything seems to be grinding to a halt, electronically speaking, I'll send this off and start again).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: JedMarum
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 08:56 AM

In my extra-Mudcat searches yesterday, I discovered a scholarly site claiming that St James indeed is rooted in the The Unfortunate Rake. Likewise, Streets of Laredo - and others.

St James Infirmary certainly has a New Orleans bluesy style, it seems to me - lyrically and musically. It makes sense that the basic story line of The Unfortunate Rake could have evolved into St James.

Where can I find a midi with the melody of The Unfortunate Rake? Thanks all, for the input.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 09:00 AM

Continued: the tune. American song tune for Streets of Laredo is related to English versions of the songs, but St. James Infirmary's tune isn't really, it seems to come from "The Queen of the May", a quite unrelated English song.(As I walked through the meadows to take the fresh air/The flowers were blooming and gay). This tune has a 4/3 stress pattern (unlike St. James Infirmary, 3 stress, and Young soldier/Streets of Laredo 4 stress lines). Queen of the May also had a distinct major to minor third scale change at the end. This is very intriguing, because the Cajun French version of St. James Infirmary (Blues de Soulard) has a tune intermediate between the New Orleans tune and the English original (??). Which shows that the French version is not just a straight borrowing of a popular New Orleans jazz number, as you might otherwise assume. The French version has the 4/3 stress pattern, and the shift to a minor third, which has proved very resilient: you can hear fiddlers sawing away at the B flat against the accordions major B and the guitarists G chord. The French words don't have a death/funeral narrative: those I know are standard Cajun moody ramblings, though on the same theme of the perils of loose living of the British and American songs. "Quand le blues me prend mooi je suis gone/Moi je suis parti me souler/ Quand moi je suis soul bebe moi je suis gone a la maison Pour join ma chere tite fille" (If you can't see how to sing line 3 to a 4-stress bit of melody, check out Louis Cormier's recording!). Anyway, there's a few disjointed comments. Luckily this wonderful songs origins are lost in the mists of time, just so as we can have fun trying to peer through the mist. Next WEEK: how did "The Derby Ram," an ancient English song of ritual death, end up as the definitive New Orleans funeral march "Didn't he ramble"? And it isn't even Irish/Scottish. Or is it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 09:07 AM

Sorry, I was typing fast from memory and put "fille" for " femme" in the "Blues de Soulard" lyrics which radically changes the feel of the song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: GUEST,MAG at work
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 04:38 PM

"Young Sailor..." also links to "Pills of White Mercury" (a cure for syphilis) which has the funeral stuff -- I once commented that this explains the seeming randomness of SJI to me: ie, his girlfriend died of VD; she got it from someone else; now he's got it too and is going to die.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: GUEST,anna
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 06:09 PM

hey i'd like to know who recorded the armstrong version of st james infirmary, at okeh records (1928) ? does anybody knows about it ? thanks :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: GUEST,oz childs
Date: 27 Aug 06 - 09:05 PM

A song about a dying woman or man at St. James's Hospital is pretty likely to be in its origin one of the oldest songs still current in English,though revised many times by the folk process (Not as old as "Sumer is a'coming in", but still).

Why? Because St. James's in London, where a palace now stands, was originally the site of a leper hospital, and it was pulled down in 1532 by Henry VIII, who made the park into a place to raise deer and eventually put up a palace. So the memory of St. James's as a place where people went who were sick with a loathsome disease is one of the oldest traditional geographical identifications. (While syphilis was too new a disease to be treated at the hospital, the connection between leprosy and syphilis is exemplified in the similar Paris institution, St-Lazare, which started as a leper hospital and ended up being for syphillitics and then for "fallen women").

St. James's Palace, rebuilt over the years, was where Queen Anne held court circa 1710, and ambassadors are still accredited to the "Court of St. James's).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: GUEST,Another source--the Bard of Armagh?
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 02:43 PM

Does anyone know how the Bard of Armagh fits into this history of Streets of Laredo/St. James Infirmary. It's the dying song of an old musician/poet, named Brady (from the 18th Century) not a cowboy, but the melody is Laredo. The earliest recording I have is from 1920 by the popular Irish tenor John McCormack, on ASV CD AJA 5119.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Scoville
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 02:48 PM

Bard of Armagh! I knew I was thinking of an Irish song that had the same tune and couldn't recall the title.

I don't know how it fits in, though, but thanks for reminding me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: erosconpollo
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 03:54 PM

Bard of Armagh: "the words to this old melody are sometime ascribed to Thomas Campbell, who is said to have written it in 1801" This according to William Cole in a song book of his.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 05:44 PM

All of this has been gone over in the previous threads and posts.
Bard of Armagh-Streets of Laredo is somewhat similar to the tune, but see Greg Stephens post, 11 Apr 02 (above). It is not the same tune as that used by Louis Armstrong, Rosa Henderson, and that appears first in Black folksong and music. In Galveston, where it may have started out, the hospital is 'John Seley's' rather than the St. James in London, Liverpool, etc. I will post the words in Scarborough 1925 in the next post; I haven't found it in Mudcat.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: HOW SAD WAS THE DEATH OF MY SWEETHEART
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 06:21 PM

^^
Lyr. Add: HOW SAD WAS THE DEATH OF MY SWEETHEART
(Negro folk song; Scarborough, 1925)

I went to John Seley's hospital;
The nurse there she turned me around.
She turned me around, yes, so slowly,
An' said, "The poor girl is sleepin' in the ground."

I was walkin' down Walnut Street so lonely,
My head it was hanging so low.
It made me think of my sweetheart,
Who was gone to a world far unknown.

Refrain:
Let her go, let her go.
May God bless her, wherever she may be.
She is mine.
She may roam this wide world over
But she will never fin' a man like me.

While walkin' I met her dear mother,
With her head hangin' low as was mine.
"Here's the ring of your daughter, dear mother,
And the last words as she closed her eyes:

"Take this ring, take this ring,
Place it on your lovin' right hand.
And when I am dead and forgotten
Keep the grass from growing on my grave."

Obtained from a 'young Galveston Negro, a student at Straight College, New Orleans'. Worth Tuttle Hedden, the collector, said it was rather widely sung among the Negroes in Galveston. John Seley Hospital is (or was) in Galveston.
p. 94, Dorothy Scarborough, 1925, "On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs," Harvard University Press. Facsimile 1963, Folklore Associates, Inc.

A version of the same song was recorded by Louis Armstrong and others musicians in New Orleans as "Saint James Infirmary (Blues)." The song on the Armstrong recording was arranged by G. Primrose, Louis Armstrong and His Savoy Ballroom Five, 1928.
Hear the recording at http://www.redhotjazz.com/savoy5.html
St. James Infirmary
Other recordings were made aboout the same time. See Traditional Ballads Index.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 07:34 PM

There are 24 versions of DT #350. Since the online search is "blind" to the number sign, search for the whole [DT #350} without the [] to see all of them. There are quite a range of variants.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 08:51 PM

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.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Acme
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 10:01 PM

Q--loved that link to the Louis Armstrong material. Marvelous, every last one on that page.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 10:30 PM

Stilly River Sage-
I get drunk on that Redhotjazz site, downloading collections I could not afford to buy on commercial discs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Acme
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 01:36 AM

Do you use something like Audible and save them one at a time? They're mesmerizing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 07:46 PM

No method. Generally I go looking for a song or a band and end up browsing into others. I listen, and 'save as' into Real in a folder if I want to keep it. When I get enough for a disc, I transfer. My problem is that I want them all and Red Hot Jazz is voluminous.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: ST. JAMES INFIRMARY (from Louis Armstrong
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 01:18 AM

Lyr. Add: ST. JAMES INFIRMARY
Louis Armstrong, 1928, Okeh 8657

I went down to St. James Infirmary
Saw my baby there
Laid down on a long white table
So sweet, so cold, so fair.

Let her go, let her go, God bless her
Wherever she may be
She can look this wide world over
She'll never find a sweet man like me

When I die I want you to dress me in laced shoes (?)
In my black coat and Stetson hat
With a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain
So God'll know I died standing pat. (So the guys will know...?)

Help needed on the questioned lines.

Arr. J. Primrose, according to the label.
Louis Armstrong and His Savoy Ballroom Five, recorded in Chicago, 12/12/28.

Personnel included former members of the Hot Seven:
Louis Armstrong, cornet and vocals; (Lil Hardin Armstrong, piano;) Baby Dodds, drums; Johnny Dodds, clarinet; Earl Hines, piano; Johnny St. Cyr, banjo; John Thomas, Trombone. The pianist probably was Earl Hines- it sounds like him.
In 1929, the personnel changed.

Several websites refer to the 1928 recording, including Wiikipedia, but they give an extended version with several verses from "Gamblers Blues" rather than the abbreviated lyrics of Louis Armstrong. These lyrics may have appeared in later Armstrong recordings.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: mrdux
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 06:05 PM

Q --

I hear the Armstrong lyrics as follows:

I went down to St. James Infirmary
Saw my baby there
Decked out on a long white table
So sweet, so cold, so fair.

* * *

When I die I want you to dress me in strait-laced shoes
[In my?] black coat and Stetson hat
With a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain
So the boys'll know I died standing pat.

I may have a recording of this at home and will listen more closely if I do.

michael
(also a long-time fan of the Red Hot Jazz site)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 06:20 PM

I also heard 'boys, not 'God,' as the various written lyrics have it, but wasn't 100% sure. I will listen again with your suggestions in mind. I think you have a better ear!

One website suggested "Gamblers' Blues" goes back to 1899; I have been trying to find old versions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 06:36 PM

Q,

I have a version titled "Gambler's Blues" printed in the 1920's in a Carson Robison Songbook. It's pretty much the standard minor blues version. It says written by E.V. Body (for everybody; meaning unknown author).

Meade doesn't have much on the origin. Sharp collected a version that is not closely related No. 131 St. James Hospital or A Sailor Cut Down in his Prime.

I suspect that someone reworked the folk song around 1900.

Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: mrdux
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 01:24 AM

Q --

re: the Armstrong version, I did find a recording of it at home. Okeh 8657, recorded 12/12/28, on a 1989 Columbia CD. You were right: Hines was on piano with Armstrong. According to the notes, the rest of the personnel was Fred Robinson, trombone; Don Redman, clarinet/alto sax/arranger; Jimmy Strong, clarinet/tenor sax; Mancy Carr, banjo; Zutty Singleton, drums.

michael


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:23 PM

The Scarborough version does look like some sort of "missing link." Thanks for posting, Q.

As I hear it, sung for example by Tommy Makem, "The Bard of Armagh" melody is essentially identical to the most familiar tune used for "Streets of Laredo."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Bee
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 10:31 PM

I sang (and played) a version of Saint James Infirmary this evening, on stage, at an old friend's memorial party. An old fellow came up to me afterwards, thanked me, and said he hadn't heard it sung that way in fifty years.

First time I've ever sung with a mike and about seventy people in front of me. Yes I had severe stage fright.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: retrancer
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 10:49 PM

cool, i just started playin it again as a part of my cover tunes. excellenet song


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 12:32 PM

My band does a faster version with drums and a strong electric guitar that goes something like this:

It was at old Joe's bar room
In the corner by the square
They was servin' whiskey as usual
The usual crowd's down there

On my left stood big Joe McKennedy
Well his eyes they were blood shot red
He turned his face to those people
These are the very words he said

Now I went down to St. James Infirmary
And I saw my little baby there
An' she was stretched out on this big white table
So sweet, cold and so fair

Well let her go let her go dear God bless her
Wherever she may be
She can search this whole wide world over
Never find a sweet lovin' man like me

Now when I die just bury me
In my 300 dollar Stetson hat
Put a twenty five dollar gold piece on my watch chain
The boys will know I died standin' pat

Well let her go let her go dear God bless her
Wherever she may be
She could search this whole wide world over
Never find a sweeter man than me

I want the crap shooters to be my pallbearers
Now get me 8 pretty chorus ladies to sing me this song
Drive a jazz band behind my hearse wagon
We'll raise hell as we roll along

Now I went down to St James Infirmary
Don't you know I had to leave my little baby girl down there
Now I go open another bottle of booze
Well I guess I got the St James infirmary blues


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: GUEST,Joseph de Culver City
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 03:09 PM

Thanks for the Louis Armstrong link. I am in thrall to the version of this song in the 'Snow White' Betty Boop cartoon made by the Fleisher brothers sung (and danced) by Cab Calloway, which seems to use the Armstrong version as it's reference. 'Streched out" it is.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 03:15 PM

The tune for St. James Infirmary is reputed to have been a popular tune from the 20's called
"When It's Chitlin Cookin' Time in Cheatham County".

Frank


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: irishenglish
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 03:22 PM

Not to do with the history of it, but since no one else mentioned it, a version appears on the Tom Jones/Jools Holland album from about 2 years ago.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 09:00 PM

Frank, That's really interesting. I have a recording of Sam & Kirk McGee (from sunny Tennessee) singing Chitlin Cookin' Time and I'd always assumed that melody was borrowed from SJI. Interesting to learn that it was the other way around. Thanks.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 07 May 08 - 04:08 PM

I don't know if anyone has been on this thread in a while...but I just heard this song for the first time the other day and I've become a bit obessesed with it.

It all started when my ex boyfriend posted an old picture of us on a website and he referenced the song in the caption of the picture. I knew that he was trying to see if I got the reference. So I googled it, downloaded it, listened to it. I first thought it was a little morbid for the situation between us and was a little confused on what he was trying to say...I think I get what he is sayin now. It's like an underlying meaning to him.

The situation is that we were working together in New Orleans when we met. We fell head over heals in CRAZY love. Haha! But I live on the east coast and he lives on the west coast...so we eventually got seperated and it was very sad. So I think he was trying to refer the sadness of the song to our situation rather than the morbidness of it. But maybe I'm crazy?!?! I don't know.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Bunny


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 07 May 08 - 04:26 PM

There's a neat article about this song in the current issue of Offbeat magazine:

http://offbeat.com/artman/publish/article_3061.shtml

Offbeat is a local New Orleans publication, and this month's issue is the annual extra-large Jazz Festival edition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 07 May 08 - 04:29 PM

Oops, I just saw that the link is useless; the article is available only to "print subscribers."

Why post it on the web at all, then? Seems like nothing more than a semi-underhanded way to sell subscriptions.

Sorry, y'all. It's an interesting article ~ I read it in the printed magazine, which was handed out for free on the streets outside the Jazz Festival ~ but there's no way I'm going to type the whole thing out for you here!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: GUEST,Dave MacKenzie
Date: 07 May 08 - 07:34 PM

The tune turns up as Jimmy Roger's "Gamblin' Bar Room Blues" and was covered by the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

This is roughly how I was singing SJI about 40 years ago:

It was down by old Bell's barroom
Round the corner from George Square,
All the drinks were served as usual
And the usual crowd was there.
On my left stood big Hamish Henderson
And his eyes were bloodshot red,
And he turned his face to the people;
These were the very words he said.

I went down to the Royal Infirmary.
My baby, there she lay,
Laid out on a cold marble table.
Well, I looked and I turned away.
"What is my baby's chances?"
I asked old Doctor Sharp.
"Boy, by six o' clock this evenin'
She'll be playin' her golden harp".

Let her go, let her go, God bless her,
Wherever she may be,
She can hunt this wide world over,
But she'll never find a man like me.

Sixteen Saint Cuthbert's horses,
Hitched to a rubber-tired hack,
Carried seven girls to the graveyard,
And brought only six of them back.
Now when I die, please bury me
In my taxi driver's cap,
With half-a-dollar hangin' on my watch-chain,
So they'll know I died standin' pat.

I want six fiddlers for my pall bearers,
Eilish Moore to sing my funeral song,
With a ceilidh band playin' reels an' jigs,
Raisin' hell as we roll along.
Now I may be drowned in the ocean,
May be killed by the cannonball,
But let me tell you, buddy,
A woman was the cause of it all.

Well, now that you've heard my story,
Let me have one more pint of booze,
And if anyone should ever ask you,
I got the Sandy Bell's Barroom Blues.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Stewie
Date: 07 May 08 - 11:30 PM

Frank (Stringsinger), I think you'll find it was the other way round: 'St James Infirmary' predated 'Chittlin' Cooking Time'. See previous threads that link SJI to 'The Unfortunate Rake'. The first recording of 'Chittlin'' was in February 1937 by Fiddlin' Arthur Smith with the Delmores. Bill Cox recorded it in October of the same year. In his notes to the County LP reissue of Fiddlin' Arthur Smith recordings, the late Charles Wolfe wrote:


'Chittlin' Cookin' Time in Cheatham County' takes the melody of 'St James Infirmary', another jazz standard, with new words which, according to Kirk McGee, were written by him and 'a fellow named Busby' who hung around WSM.
.

--Stewie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 08 May 08 - 09:23 AM

Same tune as Cab Calloway's 'Minnie the Moocher'

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=08wOPt-2PeE

He did it years later in 'The Blues Brothers'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: Joe_F
Date: 08 May 08 - 09:28 PM

It seems to me remarkable, and remarkably unremarked on, that the "Let her go" stanza must be an interloper. How can it possibly refer to a dead person?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 May 08 - 01:10 PM

Good point, Joe. I wonder why I never wondered about that before!

If you can find Danny Barker's recording of this song, it's very much worth a listen. I'm not sure which album it's on; I hear it on the radio two-three times every month because it gets a lot of airplay on WWOZ-FM (also available at www.wwoz.org -- just a quick plug; I'm not even bothering to clickify). Danny interjects spoken interludes after just about every line of the song, and even though the recording is eminently musical, it's almost as much comedy routine as it is performance of a song. Also, since it's a solo recording, it's easy to hear and appreciate his simple but very elegant self-accompaniment on acoustic archtop jazz guitar

Danny was a long-time trad-jazz banjo and guitar player, who put in many years with Louis Armstrong's bands. From the late fifties though the sixties and beyond, he lived at home in New Orleans and performed regularly with his pianist/vocalist wife, Blue Lu Barker, for whom he wrote the classic "Don't You Feel My Leg." (Folkies are most likely to know that song as recorded by the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, vocal by Maria D'Amato Muldaur.)

Danny Barker is also responsible, almost singlehandedly, for the renaissance of New Orleans traditional Brass Band music. It was a dying art when he organized a group of teenagers and preteens as the Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band, teaching them the then-nearly-forgotten repertoire of traditional dirges and uptempo jazz-funeral hymns. Those young fellows grew up to become the leaders of a new generation of brass bands, notably including the Dirty Dozen, the first such ensemble to break through to wider recognition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 17 November 4:26 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.