—— folk family and jam

St James Infirmary blues

Went down to Old Joe's bar-room
The corner by the square
The drinks they were on the table
The usual crowd was there

In the corner stood old Joe McKinley
Eyes blood-shot red
Drinking down that old rotgut whisky
And these were the words he said.

Let her go let her go, God bless her
Wherever she may be
Search this whole world all over
Never find a man as good-looking as me

I went down to St James Infirmary
To see my baby there
She was stretched out on that cold white table
She was young, tender and fair

Let her go ...

From  Well, you won't believe this, but I got it from Alex Campbell.  He (of all people) made a record (Way out West) with cowboy songs - le cowboy écossais they call him in France, apparently.  Wabash cannonball; railroad Bill; Orange Blossom Special and so on.  And this was one of them.  Gerry Loughran on the guitar.  (Dave Liebermann played some wicked guitar on the other tracks)

This was one of the staple ingredients in a jam session with Steve and me. The song I have recorded most often.
Actually of course it's not a blues at all.  Louis Armstrong recorded it (1928), called it a blues, but that doesn't mean it is.  8 bars.  A minor.  But it's good. 
It's in the same family (story wise) as all the other stories of young people dying of some unmentionable disease.  The Trooper Cut Down in his Prime.  The Streets of Laredo.   
The first known version (the unfortunate rake) is about someone dying of some venereal disease - the clap - that he's caught from the whores he hangs out with.  (And let that be a warning).  The cause of death in subsequent versions, being unmentionable, varies - shot in the breast; gambling and drinking; who dies varies - a sailor, a soldier, a cowboy, a cowboy's girl-friend etc. 
The lyrics here don't really make much sense.  Never find a man as good-looking as me? 
But other versions don't seem to be much better, so.