St. James Infirmary Blues
October 6, 2016 8:05 PM   Subscribe

There's a lot to worry about these days, what with weather and politics. Here's a bit of a distraction, The Silk Road Ensemble performing the classic St. James Infirmary Blues. Open a bottle of something smooth and spicy and enjoy.
posted by HuronBob (14 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Klezmer blues with Yo Yo Ma? Sure, why not...
posted by jim in austin at 8:18 PM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

Needs a "saintjamesinfirmary" tag to connect it to this previously
posted by Ranucci at 8:27 PM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Very interesting rhythmic background in this version! Many of you know this through the Betty Boop cartoon, featuring Cab Calloway's version of the song. (Song; Full Cartoon)

I stayed in the St. James hotel in New Orleans not too long ago; they claimed that the original part of the hotel was the original St. James Infirmary. However, the truth may be more complicated.

In any case, Rancucci's "previously" reference above--which I remember!--is required listening. What a song!
posted by kozad at 8:33 PM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

Thank you for this, that was gorgeous! Rhiannon Giddens has a hell of a voice.

One of my favorite Silk Road Ensemble performances is Ascending Bird, which is a gorgeous piece that sounds perfectly like a bird in flight, and which benefits tremendously from being played by such a rich and diverse collection of instruments (though it also sounds lovely when it's just strings).
posted by yasaman at 8:50 PM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

Oh, man, thank you. I love Rhiannon Giddens and my middle school orchestra nerds are really going to enjoy this the next time I have a couple extra minutes to throw some cool YouTube on the screen in class the day after a concert.
posted by charmedimsure at 8:57 PM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

I once touched Yo-Yo Ma's cello. True story.
posted by prufrock at 9:26 PM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

I once touched Yo-Yo Ma's cello. True story.

and...????? more please...
posted by HuronBob at 9:30 PM on October 6, 2016

That Betty Boop/Cab Calloway song is about the trippiest thing I've seen in ages. Yikes!

Long John Baldry does a pretty smoking version of the song that I've always preferred. Can't find a link to it, unfortunately.
posted by ashbury at 9:33 PM on October 6, 2016

I remember Lily Tomlin singing the song on SNL, with her and the whole band dressed as nurses.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:46 PM on October 6, 2016

As I have always loved this song, and neither St. James Infirmary post mentions one of my favorite versions, here's Christabel and the Jons, from their record Love and Circumstances.
posted by workerant at 6:05 AM on October 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sorry I did not realize that you linked to Robert Harwood's book which I just finished reading. I used to read Rob Walker's blog which how I learned of Harwood's excellent book.
posted by DJZouke at 6:36 AM on October 7, 2016

And then I had to find an hour more of that wonderful woman singing.
posted by phlyingpenguin at 6:45 AM on October 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

Cab Calloway's version will always be my number one, ahead of Louis Armstrong.

Nevertheless, any version with Ms. Giddons in it is going to be wonderful.
posted by tommasz at 6:57 AM on October 7, 2016

Well. That made my day.

Thanks for posting it.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:04 AM on October 7, 2016

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