St. James Infirmary
September 6, 2010 8:56 PM   Subscribe

 
i guess we all use You Tube for interesting content and i just got ended You Tube after watching lots of videos but none worth sharing here on
Metafilter.
posted by tustinrick at 9:03 PM on September 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


My favorite version of this song is the bluegrass stomper by The Devil Makes Three.
posted by sophist at 9:22 PM on September 6, 2010


Fred was almost sixty when that show was made and he could still move like gravity and inertia were at half strength.
posted by octothorpe at 9:24 PM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


octothorpe, that was the motivation for the post. I was actually going to post Arlo's version, but in doing a bit of surfing found this version with Fred, Jones and Barrie, a fantastic trio!
posted by HuronBob at 9:30 PM on September 6, 2010


Fred was almost sixty when that show was made and he could still move like gravity and inertia were at half strength

Ginger Rogers doing the Charleston at a fair old age makes me very happy and somewhat jealous.
posted by shinybaum at 9:35 PM on September 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thank you! It isn't all how great of dancers they are, it's how effortless they make that greatness look.
posted by MaritaCov at 10:00 PM on September 6, 2010


This will always be the definitive version for me, but here are 121 others.
posted by erniepan at 10:01 PM on September 6, 2010 [10 favorites]


erniepan... thanks....
posted by HuronBob at 10:09 PM on September 6, 2010


There are some good ones there, erniepan.

However, it doesn't include what I believe is the very best version – the one by the inimitable Danny Barker, which still gives me chills though I've listened to it many, many times. That recording is absolutely hilarious, and yet painfully tragic, all at the same time, and I think it captures that tune more successfully than any other ever could.
posted by koeselitz at 10:16 PM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


"... because I'm a chronic alcoholic..."
posted by koeselitz at 10:16 PM on September 6, 2010


One of my alltime favorite songs. If you haven't seen erniepan's link, it's worth checking out.

One of my throwaway email addresses used to be down at thest.jamesinfirmary dot com. This post reminded me to renew. :)
posted by dobbs at 10:42 PM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


St. James Infirmary is something of a mystery. There is a blog and a book written by Robert W. Harwood:
I went down to
ST.JAMES INFIRMARY
Investigations in the shadowy
world of early jazz-blues in
the company of Blind Willie
McTell, Louis Armstrong,
Don Redman, Irving Mills,
Carl Moore, and a host of
others, and where did this
dang song come from anyway?
The blog is here and the intro, first chapter, appendices and bibliography of the book are here [pdf].

The first time I saw the song it was performed by Lily Tomlin with "Howard Shore and His All Nurse Band" on SNL. Googling for that I came across SJI here on Mefi previously, previously, previously and previously - take that Lady Gaga.
posted by vapidave at 10:47 PM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


vapidave..... thanks for the backstory on this.

mods... it appears that my searches didn't reveal the previous postings.... do with this as you wish.
posted by HuronBob at 10:55 PM on September 6, 2010


This makes me think I should get out and see some live dance performance, because 1) I never do, and 2) watching this makes me feel really happy
posted by Lukenlogs at 11:21 PM on September 6, 2010


let me add my voice to the chorus of gratitude to erniepan for the wonderful link
posted by key_of_z at 1:51 AM on September 7, 2010


There's a gesture that Jones does and Astaire mimics at around 2:15- he breathes on his knuckles then brushes his lapel with them. What does that come from? It signifies "that was easy" right? Is it that you've just punched someone out, and you making yourself tidy? I remember mimicking it myself as a little kid. Haven't seen anyone make the gesture in years.
posted by bendybendy at 5:06 AM on September 7, 2010


bendybendy, I always interpreted that gesture as one of nail buffing, as in, oh, I've scuffed my manicured nails, better buff 'em shiny again after breathing a bit of moisture on them. Comes from the days when more folks used chamois buffers and wax to shine up their nails.

Can't say I can find any documentation on that though.

Lovely link... really elevated the Hell out of my morning. Thanks HuronBob and erniepan.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:48 AM on September 7, 2010


This is my Friday night (hic) favorite version - not particularly good but it reminds me of nights out in my beloved New Orleans and has spiffy banjo.
posted by vapidave at 6:48 AM on September 7, 2010


Somehow missing from the list of 121 (though mentioned in the comments) is the fabulous version by Anna Domino and Snakefarm. Gotta love that baseline.
posted by The Bellman at 7:41 AM on September 7, 2010


The Bellman, if you send an undocumented
version to the site owner he'll give you access to the rest of his woonderful site.
posted by dobbs at 8:04 AM on September 7, 2010


The nail-cleaning gesture (Cab does it around 0:55) I took as being a gesture of having slightly scuffed up the hand beating someone down, too.

But also, in this video, I took it to be a transfer between the narrator and the dancer, as in that they are both playing the same character. The camera's switch at the same time helps I think.

"Let Her Go" is also nicely snychronised. I like this video a lot, cheers.
posted by mjg123 at 4:45 PM on September 7, 2010


There's a gesture that Jones does and Astaire mimics at around 2:15- he breathes on his knuckles then brushes his lapel with them.

The Italians use that gesture to signal " You can't top that, I'm the best".
posted by francesca too at 5:34 PM on September 7, 2010


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDYGIeZDMyg
This is my all-time favorite version by the New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
posted by domo at 8:16 PM on September 8, 2010


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