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Author Topic: St. James Infirmary: Origins and Related Songs  (Read 5200 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: St. James Infirmary: Origins and Related Songs
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2012, 04:26:00 AM »
Slideaway's performance elsewhere of this song reminded me that since this topic last saw the light of day five years ago, an entire blog plus book is devoted to the topic.

http://iwentdowntostjamesinfirmary.blogspot.co.uk/search?updated-max=2012-01-06T21:30:00-05:00&max-results=13

Offline Lyle Lofgren

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Re: St. James Infirmary: Origins and Related Songs
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2012, 08:42:00 AM »
And if you need more, don't forget the Smithsonian-Folkways album "The Unfortunate Rake," fortunately still available (like all of the Folkways catalog):

http://www.folkways.si.edu/albumdetails.aspx?itemid=2229

Lyle

Offline Kokomo O

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Re: St. James Infirmary: Origins and Related Songs
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2012, 09:28:47 AM »
The revival of this thread sent me to my own collection to see what I might have that hasn't been mentioned, and I came upon Big Kid's Barroom from Mike Seeger's Early Southern Guitar Sounds, a great album if there ever was one. The liner notes have this to say:
 
This is very similar to a version of this old song that Jimmie Rodgers recorded in 1930, ?Those Gambler?s Blues.? His accompanist, a Hawaiian-style musician, played it in a minor key with an entirely different guitar style. Annie Lee Trivette of Fleetwood, North Carolina, sang it (with a style that I can?t entirely emulate) at the 1941 Galax Fiddler?s Convention. I was there but only eight years old and wish I could remember her. She may have used a flat pick, but I use alternating downward thumb and upward first-finger motions. Her style and my emulation, played fast with occasional accented strokes, allow for free vocal phrasing, especially useful for previously unaccompanied songs. I play the song in A major on a medium sized Galiano ladder-braced guitar, most likely made by Oscar Schmidt in the early 20th century [photo p. 10].

By the way, I'm not necessarily persuaded that the Galiano that's pictured on page 10 of the liner note booklet is an Oscar Schmidt guitar; the body shape doesn't look it to me, and it doesn't sound like it to my ears either. Perhaps Neil Harpe will weigh in.

Offline Gary Blue

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Re: St. James Infirmary: Origins and Related Songs
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2012, 01:56:30 PM »
Hi Bricktown Bob,
I thought your suggestion that this should be a thread of its own was a good one, so I split it off from the Baseball thread.  I don't have much to add, unfortunately, except that I almost always prefer versions of this song performed by New Orleans musicians--they most often end up having that New Orleans celebratory funeral feel.  I think my favorite version is Snooks Eaglins', for a sung version.
All best,
Johnm

I have a dim recollection of the Snooks Eaglin version being used for a lager advert here in Britain around the mid-90s
Writer, Researcher, Producer and Presenter of the weekly radio show STAR BLUES (from Cambridge, UK)

Sundays from 10pm on Star107.9/1FM and streaming live from www.star107.co.uk

Offline ShellyLee

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Re: St. James Infirmary: Origins and Related Songs
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2015, 12:56:19 PM »
I have sort of copy of the sheet music and it says by Jimmie Rodgers and Shelly Lee Alley......  Shelly Lee Alley now is that a person or a place  ::)

It's in Dm for what thats worth.

Shelly Lee Alley is the composer of Gambling Barroom Blues. He wrote it for his friend Jimmie Rodgers. He also wrote Traveling Blues and played fiddle along with his brother Alvin on the original 1931 Jimmie Rodgers recording. Note: Shelly Lee Alley was my dad.

Offline Johnm

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Re: St. James Infirmary: Origins and Related Songs
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2015, 09:50:44 AM »
Welcome to Weenie Campbell, ShelleyLee, and thanks for clearing up the identity of Shelley Lee Alley.  Were your Dad and his brother natives of Mississippi like Jimmie, or did they meet him somewhere else?
All best,
Johnm

Offline Shovel

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Re: St. James Infirmary: Origins and Related Songs
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2015, 02:06:32 AM »


Seems JR's tune borrowed some lyrics from the Hokum Boys tune or they both borrowed them from elsewhere(s).  As much as music was genre'fied at the time, it's fun to think of Jimmie Rodgers kicking back listening to a stack of (pristine) Paramounts.  Not as fun as listening to JR sing Mean Mama Blues with Louis & Co. though.

Offline Johnm

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Re: St. James Infirmary: Origins and Related Songs
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2022, 09:47:44 AM »
Hi all,
This version by the Dixie Ramblers, mentioned earlier in this thread, just came up in my youtube feed.



All best,
Johnm

 


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