Another Old Song, Another Sorry Lament: St. James Infirmary

You’ll forgive me for singing another sad song. You can’t blame me. There I was in the beginning of the summer thinking that we were finally going to come out of this covid mess, and maybe finally get back to living normally and doing all those things we said we wanted to do. But no. It wasn’t in the cards. It seems a variant slipped into the deck. So, mask up, and sing a sad song. It ain’t over ’til it’s over. And it ain’t over. As Buck Owens said, “Let the sad song play on”.

Here it is again, as part of the Bumbastories St. James Infirmary Compendium,

the St. James Infirmary

St. James Infirmary is an old American folksong, over 150 years old, from the beleaguered city of New Orleans. Not too many songs last so long, and certainly few songs have been recorded so extensively. I like Louis Armstrong’s and Cab Calloway’s versions the best. Cab Calloway even recorded a film version of the song, which is a knockout, and which is on utube. Cab Calloway, the original heidi-heidie-ho man, was a knockout performer.

St. James’ Infirmary is about as sad as a song can be, which I suppose, in a perverse way explains its great appeal. The reference is to an actual hospital or infirmary in New Orleans, which may or not be the photo shown below. The song also features a reference to Old Joe’s Barroom. A photo of a barroom is shown below, but it is definitely not a photo of Old Joe’s Barroom, and was thrown in only to confuse you a bit

Definitely not Old Joe’s Bazrroom

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