"St. James Infirmary Blues" is based on an 18th century traditional English folk song called "The Unfortunate Rake" (also known as "The Unfortunate Lad" or "The Young Man Cut Down in His Prime"). There are numerous versions of the song throughout the English-speaking world. It also evolved into other American standards such as "The Streets of Laredo."
Folks, I'm goin' down to St. James Infirmary,
See my baby there;
She's stretched out on a long, white table,
She's so sweet, so cold, so fair.
Let her go, let her go, God bless her,
Wherever she may be,
She will search this wide world over,
But she'll never find another sweet man like me.
Now, when I die, bury me in my straight-leg britches,
Put on a box-back coat and a stetson hat,
Put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain,
So you can let all the boys know I died standing pat.
An' give me six crap shooting pall bearers,
Let a chorus girl sing me a song.
Put a red hot jazz band at the top of my head
So we can raise Hallelujah as we go along.
Folks, now that you have heard my story,
Say, boy, hand me another shot of that booze;
If anyone should ask you,
Tell 'em I've got those St. James Infirmary blues.
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