St. James Infirmary Blues    (1928)

It was down in Old Joe's barroom
On the corner by the square
Drinks were being served as usual
And a goodly crowd was there

When up stepped old Joe McKinney
His eyes were bloodshot red
As he poured himself more whiskey
This is what he said

I went down to the St. James Infirmary
I saw my baby there
Stretched out on a cold white table
So sweet, so cold, so fair

So let her go, let her go, God bless her
Wherever she may be
She may search this wide world over
But she'll never find a sweet man like me

When I die, bury me in straight laced shoes
A box back coat and a Stetson hat
Put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain
So the boys know I died standin' pat

There are sixteen cold black horses
Hitched to her rubber tired hack
There are seven women goin' to that graveyard
And only six of 'em are coming back

Now that you've heard my story
Pour me one more shot of booze
And if anyone comes askin' about me
Tell 'em I got, Saint James Infirmary blues

Lyrics by Joe Primrose (Irving Mills).
Recorded by Louis Armstrong; many others.
"St. James Infirmary Blues" is an American folksong of anonymous origin, based on an 18th-century traditional English folk song called "The Unfortunate Rake".


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