St. James Infirmary Blues

At first I heard the St. James Infirmary Blues by Louis Armstrong in the fifties. But then, 20 years later, my own wife nearly died during giving birth to our second daughter. I was in the hospital in that night and the floor was covered with blood.

Café Blues
photo by frizztext: Café in New York with a Louis Armstrong portrait on the wall
“It was down in Old Joe’s barroom / On the corner by the square / The usual crowd was assembled / And big Joe McKinney was there… I went down to the St. James Infirmary / I saw my baby there / She’s laid out on a cold white table / So so cold, so white, so fair.”
St. James Hospital was a leper hospital in London. Written in England in the 18th century as “The Unfortunate Rake”, the ballad was sung both in the UK and the US.


  • Some cases of serious hospital situations, caring for a loved one, in your memories?
  • Yourself in a hospital, seriously ill, once – but now outside again, surviving?

Louis Armstrong’s version – with movie:

Joe Cocker’s version:

listen to an audio-file: Gypsy Jazz Version!

I like the Gypsy musician’s blog at

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