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  • Writer's pictureSam Baker

St. James Infirmary

Live at the Saxon August 2019

Chip Dolan on keys

Jimmy Shortell on horn

St. James Infirmary is one of my foundation songs. I don't know when I first heard it. When I was a child for sure. The great Louis Armstrong recorded it in '28. That may or may not have been the version I first heard. He played it as a dirge. A slow walk down Bourbon. It was the first song Tony Bennett recorded. Like I said. Foundation. I tweaked verses to make me happy.

send me 16 coal black horses

to pull one black curtained hack

and send me 16 weeping women

cause she is traveling and never coming back


when I die dress me in cool white linen

hand made boots a john b stepson hat

put a 20 dollar gold piece on my watch chain

so the boys will know that I died

standing pat

Jimmy and Chip are smoking hot. I don't think we rehearsed it before we played it live. This song is a part of our musical DNA. It comes from a deep place.

Tracing the origins is virtually impossible. Everybody adds. Everybody subtracts. Scraps of melody from Scotland or Ireland or England. But what makes it for me- is that beautiful NOLA stroll. Armstrong's trumpet calling us to prayer. That slow walk down Bourbon Street. That heavenly sway...

let her go let her go

God bless her

now kick it around


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