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Janis Joplin – St. James Infirmary lyrics

I went down to old Joe's bar room
On the corner by the square.
Well, the drinks were bein' served as usual,
And this motley crowd was there.

Well, on my left stood Joe Mckennedy
And his eyes were bloodshot red.
When he told me that sad story,
These were the words he said:

I went down to the St. James infirmary,
I saw my baby there,
She was stretched out on a long white table,
So cold, and fine, and fair.
Go ahead!

Let her go, let her go, God bless her,
Wherever she may be,
She can search this world over
Never find another man like me.

Yes, sixteen coal black horses
To pull that rubber tied hack.
Well, it's seventeen miles to the graveyard
But my baby's never comin' back.

Well, now you've heard my story,
Well, have another round of booze
And if anyone should ever, ever ask you -
I've got the St. James infirmary blues!

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    It's not just about the demise of the young woman. Versions sung by men, relate her betrayal to him, revealed only when another (joe mckennedy) is mourning also. In a sense, the men are in deep mourning about the paths they took, gambling on love and probably vices. Multiple versions of this song have ancient history as being about a man lamenting his amoral path. (joe is hoping for some dignity restored in the way he is buried.) janis joplin's includes the young woman's last ride to the cemetery. All are very moving and it is befitting that the song made it's way to new orleans.
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