|1925 cover of Baxter & Moore's|
Gambler's Blues sheet music
On the left you can see the 1925 cover for the original sheet music for Gambler's Blues, which later became known as St. James Infirmary. The song had long been popular, but it developed through an oral rather than a written tradition.
Ostensibly composed by Carl Moore (lyricist) and Phil Baxter (music), this first sheet music is one small step in the evolution of the song we know now as St. James Infirmary.
Both Moore and Baxter are fascinating characters who figure largely in my book I Went Down to St. James Infirmary. They are the first in a long line of musicians claiming ownership of the song Gambler's Blues / St. James Infirmary. However, they were certainly not the composers ... but, then, where did the song come from?Baxter and Moore copyrighted Gambler's Blues in 1925 (in Little Rock, Arkansas), three years before Louis Armstrong released his definitive version in 1928; Armstrong's was the first recording released with the title St. James Infirmary. Two titles, basically the same song.