Watch the St. James online guitar lesson by Jeff McErlain from Soloing the Changes

"St. James Infirmary" is a classic American folk song that is a jazz/ blues standard. It's not known who originally wrote the song, but it's most closely associated with Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway and their separate versions. The song has been performed by countless artists and is one of my favorites to perform as it's nice and moody, people love it, and it fits right into a blues set. The lyrics are pretty grim, but fun - check out the Betty Boop cartoon from 1933 in which Koko the Clown sings the song. It's cool and surreal and uses Cab Calloway's version.