This song was published in Carl Sandburg’s book “The American Songbag,” in 1927 as “Those Gambler’s Blues.” Most references that I could find regarding the song “St. James Infirmary” say that it was written and copyrighted by Joe Primrose in 1929. It’s definitely the same song, and Carl Sandburg not only didn’t mention Joe Primrose in 1927, he spoke of the song as if it was already an old song with apparently no known author.

I haven’t recorded it but I’m including an easy Melody & Accompaniment arrangement with strumming and a fingerstyle Travis Picking arrangement.

 

Melody & Accompaniment:

 

Travis Picking: