Saint James Infirmary

DESCRIPTION: Big Joe McKennedy is in the bar, reporting that he "went down to St. James Infirmary, And I saw my baby there, Stretched out on a long white table...." He gambled, and now must pay. He prepares to die, makes requests for his funeral, (blames the woman)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1925 (Scarborough)
KEYWORDS: disease death funeral drink
FOUND IN: US(MW,SE,So,SW)
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 94, "How Sad Was the Death of my Sweetheart" (1 short text, with few of the familiar words but the correct plot and the "Let her go, let her go" chorus)
Sandburg, pp. 228-231, "Those Gambler's Blues" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Peters, p. 257, "Gambler's Blues" (1 text, 1 tune)
Thorp/Fife XIII, pp. 148-190 (29-30), "Cow Boy's Lament" (22 texts, 7 tunes, the "N" text being in fact a version of this piece)
Darling-NAS, pp. 9-10, "Gambler's Blues" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 76, "St. James Infirmary" (1 text)
DT 350, STJAME

Roud #2 (!)
RECORDINGS:
Louis Armstrong & his Hot Five, "St. James Infirmary" (OKeh 8657, 1929; rec. 1928)
Rube Bloom & his Bayou Boys, "St. James' Infirmary" (Columbia 2103-D, 1930)
Dock Boggs, "Old Joe's Barroom" (on Boggs2, BoggsCD1)
Chick Bullock, "St. James Infirmary" (Velvet Tone 7063-V, 1930/Diva 6037, n.d.)
Martha Copeland, "Dyin' Crap Shooter's Blues" (Columbia 14427-D, 1929; rec. 1927)
Snooks Eaglin, "St. James Infirmary" (on ClassAfrAm)
Rosa Henderson, "Dyin' Crap Shooter's Blues" (Pathe Actuelle 7535/Perfect 135/TMH 7535, 1927)
Mattie Hite, "St. Joe's Infirmary" (Columbia 15403-D, 1930)
Frankie Marvin, "Those Gambler's Blues" (Crown 3076, 1931)
Viola McCoy, "Dyin' Crap Shooter's Blues" (Romeo 453 [as Fannie Johnson]/Cameo 1225/Lincoln 2690, 1927)
Pete Seeger, "St. James Infirmary" (on PeteSeeger32)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Bad Girl's Lament (St. James' Hospital; The Young Girl Cut Down in her Prime)" [Laws Q26] (theme)
cf. "Dying Crapshooter's Blues" (theme, floating verses)
cf. "Dear Companion (The Broken Heart; Go and Leave Me If You Wish To, Fond Affection)" (the "let her go" lyrics)
cf. ""Sweet Heaven (II)" (the "let her go" lyrics)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Old Time Gambler's Song
NOTES: Many early jazz & popular recordings attribute authorship (of the popular version) to "Joe Primrose," a pseudonym for Irving Mills. His copyright, though, seems to have been registered in 1929, or after Armstrong's influential recording. Presumably he was registering ownership rather than authorship. - PJS
Last updated in version 4.0
File: San228

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