St. James Infirmary Compendium

I was watching a video recording of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings the other day. They are wonderful by the way if you’re not familiar with them. In a brief interview after the concert sweet Gillian comments about her music: “I just love sad songs”.images-1

I think we all do. Many of the great songs are very sad. So many tell tales of woe. Anyhow, this is another compendium thing because Bumba has posted St. James Infirmary  1….2….3.4 .....times already. However, today’s version isn’t really The St. James Infirmary per se. Firstly it says St. James Hospital. And it tells a different story – a folk story that appears in other places as Streets of Loredo and other titles. Such is the nature of folk music that it shifts around and changes like that over time. The story/song tells about walking past the St. James hospital one sunny day and chancing upon a dying cowboy. The cowboy calls us over and sings this song, this really sad sung. Doc Watson does St. James Infirmary this way. He plays it a bit better than I do (understatement of the year!). But what the heck, if you’ve never heard it…. And what the heck, even if you’ve heard it before…

Warning: It is quite sad, especially the way Bumba sings sometimes. Sad. But, as I was saying, what the heck.

16 thoughts on “St. James Infirmary Compendium

  1. I’m a big Kathleen Edwards fan, but roots rockers like Lucinda, Gillian, etc. are all awesome and empowering. Not in a great place to listen to music right now, but looking forward to listening later!

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting. By the bye, recently I’ve been having these serious thoughts, (OK, I’ve always had these serious thoughts) about the effect of a good name on a baseball player’s success. To wit, Babe, Hank, Duke etc. Names are important as you know, but in baseball you can’t get to first base without a good name.

      1. Sounds like a Funny Names Theory I’d be interested in writing. Remind me to run this past Rob and Mark since they’re the true baseball connoisseurs. Those short, strong one-syllable men’s names also seem to be very popular in the US Senate – Ted, Thad, Mitch, Tom, Chuck, Mark, etc. There are some interesting theories that could be made about this stuff for sure.

        1. There’s also the statistic that the presidential candidate with the longer name is the winner – which held true until Bush – well, except for the Florida count.

  2. I suspsect sad songs touch more than happy ones – because the sad places are the most tender. I love Gillian. She’s near the top of my list along with Lucinda, Patti, and Emmylou. 🙂 Thanks, Stephen.

  3. Sometimes a good sad song is just what we need. I’m at the airport now, so I can’t listen to the song (don’t have my headphones). I’ll have to pull this post back up when I get home and give it a listen. Hopefully my flight won’t make me sad before then…

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