St. James Infirmary

images-5It’s time for another St. James Infirmary post. If you haven’t heard, St. James Infirmary is one of the great American folk songs. Bumba and Maybank are hooked on it and here present another version recorded earlier this week. Sing along, play along.images-4 Listen to Louis Armstrong do it. Meanwhile you can check out our latest go at it.

What more to say about St. James Infirmary? Robert J. Harwood wrote a fine book about it. Dozens of great artists have recorded it in it’s various versions. Purportedly rooted in a 17th century English folksong and a London Hospital for lepers, St. James Infirmary morphed in America into a gambler’s lament, a cathouse anthem, a New Orleans classic. The sadness, the blunt commentary on the death of a young woman, the bar room ambiance, in short the glory/blues of timages-6he song are something to carry on. So,”put a $20 gold piece in my watch chain so the boys’ll know I went standin’ pat.”


13 thoughts on “St. James Infirmary

  1. Hi, Bumba, l love this song, but the first time I heard it is still the version I love the best, Eric Burdon and the New Animals on their “Every One of Us” album. Eric’s voice is just amazing, and this psychedelic blues version is incredible. But that’s just for me. There are too many versions of this song to talk about all of them, and thank you for Satchmo’s version. Keep up the good work, guys.

      1. Best of luck with that too. Met a number of 60s folk artists way back when, and loved when they played the songs of their predecessors. U. Utah Phillips was a big name to me, but that was so long ago…

  2. Sounds great. If I ever get down to New Orleans…. Thank you for visting and commenting. Some of those old songs are just amazing, and I suppose that’s why they’re still around. Likewise spirited jazz music is still alive and well.

    1. page 2, my forehead musta hit the keyboard. anyway, the group was the Royal Rounders. They were doing their ‘Tom Waits Tuesday’ (they know ALL of Tom’s songs) but slipped this one in – the fiddle player sang it. If you get to New Orleans try to catch these guys. The stand up bass player wore a battered top hat, and I think the keyboard/main singer’s name is Dave. It was summer and a local stray dog sat outside the front door listening.

    1. Wonderful, Marina. The other day I was going on about Hank Williams being the greatest singer ever, but Louis takes the cake – and he wasn’t even a real singer.

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