Saint James Infirmary
I will be using the Blues Keys of A Minor: A C D Ef E G A
Blues Chords of:
Am A C E
E7 E G Sharp B D
F7 F A C E Flat
The melody is 8 bars long, unlike many songs in the classic blues genre, where there are 12 bars. It uses a steady slow 4/4 time signature. The Louis Armstrong version has a tempo or pace is that of a slow walk, a funeral march, a dirge. It can be done in a stride rhythm style with the left hand like Doug Duffey does solo below in 1991, along with his skilled extensive melodic improvisation.
I take lessons at the Vancouver Music Academy, near Fourth Plain Blvd. and Covington St (94th Ave.)., in the unincorporated Orchards area of Northeast Vancouver, Washington.
My piano music teacher, Howard, has me doing a finger exercise in C Key and the chords and melody for playing St. James Infirmary.
The song I asked to work on first was St. James Infirmary, based on old folk ballads. The second song will be Summertime, by George Gershwin.
Various Lyrics for Saint James Infirmary:
"Well, folks, I'm goin' down to St. James Infirmary
See my little baby there
She's stretched out on a long, white table
Well, she looks so good, so cold, so fair
I went down to the St. James Infirmary to see my baby there.
She was lyin' on a long white table, so sweet, so cool, so fair.
Went up to see the doctor, "Shes's very low" he said.
Went back to see my baby. Great God! She was lyin' their dead.
Let her go, let her go, God bless her
Wherever she may be
You may search this whole wide world over
But you'll never find another sweetheart like me, yeah
Take apart your bones and put 'em back together
Tell your mama that you're somebody new
Feel the breeze blowin', tell 'em all "Look out, here it comes"
Now I can say whatever I feel like to you
Then get me six craps-shootin' pallbearers
Let a chorus girl sing me a song
Put a red-hot jazz band at the top so that we can raise
Hallelujah as we go along, well
Well, folks, now that you have heard my story
Say, boy, hand me another shot of that rye
And if anyone else should ask you
Just tell 'em I've got some of those St. James Infirmary blues."