Cookies on oxfam

We use cookies to ensure that you have the best experience on our website. If you continue browsing, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all our cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more Accept

  • Grows vegetables
  • Fills classrooms
  • Drills wells
  • Empowers women
  • Fights poverty
  • Free Uk delivery on all gifts
    Or you can add a donation at checkout
  • Personalise your gift at checkout
    Add a personal message, ecard or card front
  • Add a 'Little Extra' at checkout
    Add-on gifts available (including chocolate!)

Keep up with Oxfam's Online Shop

Subscribe to our newsletter for all our latest updates, offers and promotions.

© 2015. Oxfam is a registered charity in England and Wales (no 202918) and Scotland (SC039042). Oxfam GB is a member of Oxfam International.

I Went Down to St. James Infirmary

£22.00

Product description

I Went Down to St. James Infirmary: Investigations in the shadowy world of early jazz-blues in the company of Blind Willie McTell, Louis Armstrong, Don ... where did this dang song come from anyway?

Infused with humour and supported by meticulous research, this ground breaking book explores the turbulent and mysterious history of one of the most important and influential songs of the twentieth century. I Went Down to St. James Infirmary looks at the people and the times in which St. James Infirmary achieved its initial popularity and explores what happens to a traditional song when it becomes a piece of merchandise. The song St. James Infirmary is the quintessential jazz-blues song of the early twentieth century.

Major performing and recording artists have covered it, from Louis Armstrong and Jimmie Rodgers to Van Morrison and the White Stripes. Saturated with ego-driven angst and once considered obscene because of the song's stark depiction of death and the portrayal of a seedy underworld inhabited by gamblers, pimps, loose women, and every sort of rounder, it has been adapted, rewritten, borrowed, stolen, attacked, revered, and cherished. In its heyday of the 1920s and 30s, when recordings and sheet music of St. James Infirmary were first packaged and marketed, the public could not get enough of it. Nearly a hundred years later, its allure remains. The song has been shrouded in mystery as well as scandal. Who is the woman stretched out on a long white table? Who is the narrator and why is he, robust and vain, more concerned about his own funeral arrangements than with hers? And there are the questions about the song itself. Where did it come from? To what lineage does it belong? Who was Joe Primrose and how did he gain copyright to a song that had been circulating the country for decades?

Here is the story of a song as it travelled from its folk origins and into the recording studios, performance stages, and law courts of America's jazz age. With a supporting cast of fascinating characters whose stories are as interesting as the song itself, I Went Down to St. James Infirmary will entertain and inform the reader as it unravels the riddles of one song while casting light on the production of music yesterday and today.

Item details

Author(s):
Harwood, Robert
Condition:
Used: good
Format:
Paperback
Publisher:
Harland Press

Standard UK Delivery (£3.95 per order)

Delivery FAQs

Ts & Cs
Delivery FAQs

Free returns

within 28 days.
Returns policy

About this item

I Went Down to St. James Infirmary: Investigations in the shadowy world of early jazz-blues in the company of Blind Willie McTell, Louis Armstrong, Don ... where did this dang song come from anyway?

Infused with humour and supported by meticulous research, this ground breaking book explores the turbulent and mysterious history of one of the most important and influential songs of the twentieth century. I Went Down to St. James Infirmary looks at the people and the times in which St. James Infirmary achieved its initial popularity and explores what happens to a traditional song when it becomes a piece of merchandise. The song St. James Infirmary is the quintessential jazz-blues song of the early twentieth century.

Major performing and recording artists have covered it, from Louis Armstrong and Jimmie Rodgers to Van Morrison and the White Stripes. Saturated with ego-driven angst and once considered obscene because of the song's stark depiction of death and the portrayal of a seedy underworld inhabited by gamblers, pimps, loose women, and every sort of rounder, it has been adapted, rewritten, borrowed, stolen, attacked, revered, and cherished. In its heyday of the 1920s and 30s, when recordings and sheet music of St. James Infirmary were first packaged and marketed, the public could not get enough of it. Nearly a hundred years later, its allure remains. The song has been shrouded in mystery as well as scandal. Who is the woman stretched out on a long white table? Who is the narrator and why is he, robust and vain, more concerned about his own funeral arrangements than with hers? And there are the questions about the song itself. Where did it come from? To what lineage does it belong? Who was Joe Primrose and how did he gain copyright to a song that had been circulating the country for decades?

Here is the story of a song as it travelled from its folk origins and into the recording studios, performance stages, and law courts of America's jazz age. With a supporting cast of fascinating characters whose stories are as interesting as the song itself, I Went Down to St. James Infirmary will entertain and inform the reader as it unravels the riddles of one song while casting light on the production of music yesterday and today.

Author(s):
Harwood, Robert
Condition:
Used: good
Format:
Paperback
Publisher:
Harland Press

Delivery & returns

This item will be dispatched to UK addresses via second class post within 2 working days of receipt of your order. Standard UK delivery is £3.95 per order, so you're only charged once no matter how many items you have in your basket. Any additional courier charges will be applied at checkout as they vary depending on delivery address.

This item will be dispatched to UK addresses via second class post within 2 working days of receipt of your order. Standard UK delivery is currently free, no matter how many items you have in your basket. Any additional courier charges will be applied at checkout as they vary depending on delivery address.

You can find out more about delivery and returns in our help section.

We offer a no quibble returns policy as follows:

Wedding dresses: 28 days

Overseas returns: 31 days

Everything else: 28 days


This item is also available for international delivery by airmail, carrying a mandatory delivery charge of:

Europe: £6.50

Outside Europe: £11.50

Volunteer listed

Wonder how this unique item ended up online?

Most of the second-hand items you see online have been donated, by supporters like you, to our high street stores. Each item is then priced, photographed and listed on this site by our amazing team of volunteers from across the country.

After you have bought your item, our team of volunteers package and dispatch it from the Shop straight to you or your chosen recipient.

All profits from the sales of our goods go towards funding Oxfam's work around the world. We rely on your donations to sell online so please keep the cycle of goodness going!

To find out more about volunteering with Oxfam, please visit our how to volunteer page.

Oxfam Bookshop Bloomsbury Street

Oxfam Bloomsbury is Oxfam's flagship bookshop, in the very heart of literary London. The shop is barely a minute away from the British Museum and five minutes from Soho. We offer a huge range, with a large specialist art section, rare and collectable, academic, fiction and CDs and vinyl to name but a few. Oxfam is the UK's largest second hand bookseller and we have something for everyone, so come and browse!


View Shop