A few years ago we did a weeks worth of Stagolee tracks to much success, this year I hope to collect a number of versions of St. James Infirmary Blues as well as Dying Crapshooter Blues. I’m working on compiling a list of what i have (around 70-80 tracks so far), but unlike Stagolee which for as much as it was sung – it had a much more limited audience than St. James. I’m going to contact Rob Walker who wrote an amazing essay on the subject and who also maintains No Notes dedicated to the song and music in New Orleans.
Please send mp3s to pkpatnaik @ prewarblues.org
below is a the St. James Infirmary section of Betty Boop’s Snow White
Truth be told I’m currently obsessed with Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak and the Ohio Player’s Fire – but I’ll refrain from posting selections from those albums today. There’s been a couple of requests for the Lonnie Johnson songs I’ve mentioned recently – so here is a trio of sides from easily the most versatile bluesman around. Death Valley Is Only Half Way To My Home is one my favorite blues songs of all time – and one of the most moving pieces of music I’ve ever heard.
I don’t really know anything about today’s singer – Genevieve Davis – outside of this track she recorded with Louis Dumaine’s Jazzola Eight is flat out fantastic. The song is a familiar theme of northern disillusionment that followed both great migrations northward best represented in the blues world in Lonnie Johnson’s Southland Is Alright By Me. Davis doesn’t go into the theme as deeply as Johnson – but her lyrics are particularly effective lines like “did you ever dream lucky/wake up gold [referring to her honey] in hand/and you didn’t have a dollar to pay your house rent man.” Davis’ work on the song is done pretty quickly at around the minute and the half mark – leaving the rest of the song up to the Jazzola Eight who really knock it out of park – incredible work and some of the best examples of pre-war New Orleans jazz that I’ve heard. It is also the first by the Eight that I’ve heard. If anyone has their solo or backing work – I’d love to hear it.