St. James Infirmary Blues lyrics on This Is Louis Armstrong by Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong

St. James Infirmary Blues lyrics

Facebook "St. James Infirmary Blues" is an American folksong by Joe Primrose (aka Irving Mills). Louis Armstrong made it famous in his influential 1928 recording. The song was popular in the 1920s, and over a dozen versions were released by 1930. The Duke Ellington Orchestra recorded the song multiple times using pseudonyms such as "The Ten Black Berries", "The Harlem Hot Chocolates" and "The Jungle Band". Cab Calloway performed a version in the 1933 Betty Boop animated movie, 'Snow White'. More recently, The White Stripes covered the song on their self-titled debut album, as did Van Morrison on his 2003 album, 'What's Wrong with This Picture?'.

St. James Infirmary Blues was traced back to 19th century England as a folksong called “The Unfortunate Rake” which spawned several versions based on the same story line but with variations in the lyric.
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It was down in Old Joe's barroom,
On the corner by the square,
The usual crowd was assembled
And big Joe McKinney was there.

He was standing at my shoulder.
His eyes were bloodshot red;
He turned to the crowd around him,
These are the very words he said:

"I went down to the St. James Infirmary
I saw my baby there,
She's laid out on a cold white table,
So so cold, so white, so fair."


Chorus"Let her go, let her go, God bless her;
Wherever she may be
She may search this wide world over
She'll never find a sweet man like me."
When I die, I want you to dress me in straight-laced shoes
Box-back coat and a Stetson hat
Put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain,
So the boys will know that I died standin pat.

I want six crap shooters for pall bearers.
Chorus girl to sing me a song.
Put a jazz band on my hearse wagon.
Raise Hell as I roll along.

Roll out your rubber tired carriage,
Roll out your old time hat.
Twelve men going to the graveyard
And eleven coming back.

Now that I've told my story,
I'll take another shot of booze.
And if anyone should happen to ask you,
I've got those gamblers' blues.

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Louis Armstrong St. James Infirmary Blues lyrics added on 11th Jul 2012




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