"St. James Infirmary Blues" as written by and Irving Mills A Joe Primrose....
It was down by old Joe's barroom, on the corner of the square
They were serving drinks as usual, and the usual crowd was there
On my left stood Big Joe McKennedy, and his eyes were bloodshot red
And he turned his face to the people, these were the very words he said

I was down to St. James infirmary, I saw my baby there
She was stretched out on a long white table,
So sweet, cool and so fair

Let her go, let her go, God bless her
Wherever she may be
She may search this whole wide world over
Never find a sweeter man as me

When I die please bury me in my high top Stetson hat
Put a twenty dollar gold piece on my watch chain
The gang'll know I died standing pat

Let her go, let her go God bless her
Wherever she may be
She may search this wide world over
Never find a sweeter man as me

I want six crapshooters to be my pallbearers
Three pretty women to sing a song
Stick a jazz band on my hearse wagon
Raise hell as I stroll along

Let her go Let her go
God bless her
Wherever she may be
She may search this whole wide
World over
She'll never find a sweeter
Man as me


Lyrics submitted by Stoney, edited by shaneged

"St. James Infirmary Blues" as written by Irving Mills Joe Primrose

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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St. James Infirmary Blues song meanings
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19 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentWhat is everyone's problem? This song deserves a thousand comments. It's such a good song. I'm a bit confused though, because the lyrics posted here don't match up with what he says on the album. And I think these are the lyrics that they have on the site too. Is there another version or what? Nevertheless this song rocks. It deserves more recognition than this.
    Sum1LsesChpstckon May 12, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAlthough it's great to hear that so many people like this song as much as I do, would somebody perhaps take a shot at explaining the meaning of the lyrics because I haven't a clue. Did Jack White write the verses that arent included here?
    red_martianon January 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentpreach it!this song is amazing and all the other versions of it ranging from the original cab calloway to bobby blue bland
    suicidesamuraion September 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song kick-ass
    what i think they did was put the Louis Armstrong lyrics on here instead of the White Stipes version. Someone needs to change it.
    pinkpanther233on January 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song traces it's way all the way back to Scotland where there are a couple of versions predating any American versions. At least one from the West Coast and another from Peterhead.

    There are people who argue that the song is from Liverpool. However the oldest versions seam to come from Scotland.

    The song is about a guy who finds his girlfriend has died of syphalis and that means that he is next. Some versions of the song talk of mercury which was a treatment for the disease (often the mercury killed before the syphalis).

    A very dark story. BBC Radio Scotland had a program on the 4th of January called Songlines that looked at the 200+ uear history of the song.
    fairyliquidizeron February 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a perfect example of Jack White's brilliant blend of delta blues and unique indie rock. he pulls it off perfectly, i never get sick of hearing this song, or the entire first album.
    turquoiseumbrellaon March 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe piano sounds like its from 1803, i love it

    and yes, like everyone was saying, this isn't a white stripes penned song, it is traditional, and the lyrics are the Joe Primrose version
    WeezDayon March 31, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is what I could understand after listening to the song a few times

    Take apart your bones and put them back together
    Tell your momma that you’re somebody new
    Feel the breeze blow and tell them all to look out here it comes
    Now I can say whatever I feel like to you
    They give me six crap shooting Pallbearers
    Let a chorus girl sing me a song
    Put a lay *can’t tell what he’s saying* don’t miss me grace
    Hallelujah as we go along
    JJJ567on June 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthanks fairy i knew it was a cover but i didnt know all of that shit. the syphilis parts super interesting tho
    adrinfgbithon July 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is awesome, and is one of the best songs on the album
    neverheardofhimon April 17, 2006   Link

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