I have mentioned the name Max Morath a couple of times in recent posts. His name will come up at least once or twice more in the near future because he is a really interesting individual with much to offer fans of "St. James Infirmary" and the period in which the song originated.
Max has a DVD, available at places like eBay, that I watched this evening and which I recommend wholeheartedly. Morath is a well-known ragtime pianist, but is also a remarkable raconteur and performer. On this DVD, a one-man show recorded in concert in 1992, Morath is clearly in his element, talking, jesting, educating, playing, singing. I was utterly impressed with the way Max inhabits the songs he sings and plays. He knows how to get to the center of a tune, how to transcend the notes and get to the heart of the characters he sings about. It's been a long time since I have enjoyed so many belly laughs in such a short time (the film runs about 116 minutes). For a well-spent fifteen dollars, you will learn a lot about the popular music of the early 20th century, and thoroughly enjoy yourself in the process. A delight!