Airtran isn’t the greatest airline in the world. However, one thing they have that is nifty is XM Satellite Radio for you to listen to as you wing your way across the land. On the way home from Vegas (baby), I tuned in to the folk channel and listened to Arlo Guthrie from the Judy Collins Wildflower Festival. He did a great version of “St. James Infirmary,” and I thought I’d like to mangle one of my own.
Well, I got home, and I couldn’t remember the stupid tune. I have the words in Carl Sandburg’s American Songbag, but even though it’s a standard that’s been done by everyone from Louis Armstrong to the White Stripes, my brain went blank on the music.
iTunes to the rescue!
I did a search on it and found snippets from a bazillion artists (enough to know that it has been done a bazillion different ways), and away I went.
Now, the thing about this song is that it’s called everything from “St. James Infirmary” to “St. James Infirmary Blues” to “Those Gambler’s Blues” to just “Gambler’s Blues”. And, of course, the words are all slightly different. There are two versions of the lyrics in the Sandburg book, and I chose to mix the first three verses from the second version with the last three verses from the first version and call it “St. James Infirmary” instead of “St. Joe’s Infirmary”. And the main reason I did that is to confuse the hell out of you! Aren’t you impressed?
Anyway, right-click and save to download my version of it: