Inquiries into the early years of SJI

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lyrics to St. James Infirmary - Denton and Haskins edition

In reference to the posting above, here are the lyrics from the version of "St. James Infirmary" as published (and copyrighted) by the music publisher Denton and Haskins in 1930. (You might find it interesting to compare them with Dorothy's version, found here.)

I'm a gambler, never did refuse a bet
Played for millions in my time
But I've had the biggest loss that I ever met
Tho' I didn't lose a dime
Lady Luck threw me as a pal
When she took my lovin' gal

I went to Saint James Infirmary
My baby there she lay
On a long cold marble table
I looked and turned away

What is my baby's chances?
I asked old Doctor Tarp
He said "By six this evening,
She'll be playing a golden harp"

Back to St. James Infirmary
I saw my baby's face
So white, so drawn and faded
Of her good looks not a trace

I started in a prayin'
Right there upon my knees
"Good-Bye, my lovin' baby"
My heart began to freeze.

1 comment:

grthink said...

Hi there,

I couldn't find a more appropriate place to post from ,so I hope this is okay...

I recently started listening to the Scatman Crothers version of SJI -- it's been on repeat on my ipod for the past two weeks, and has (perhaps worryingly) become the song I sing to my son when putting him to sleep.

Unfortunately, I can't find any info about that particular version anywhere. I've transcribed the lyrics, using clues from other versions, and am currently working on an art project based on them (non-literal interpretation, BTW).

But if anyone could offer any history on the recording, and where the variations on the lyrics came from, I'd really appreicate it. My email address is pretty easy to find -- just google 'grthink' and wherever you land will have contanct details.

Thanks in advance.