I confess: I was surprised at the lopsided vote for the St. James Infirmary, given recent trends in TOTM polls. But that doesn't mean I’m not happy with the popular choice. Far from it: this is a tune with all sorts of possibilities for creative concertinists.
The only concertina version I know is played and sung by Will Duke on the superb Anglo International CD set curated by our own Alan Day. If you don’t have the CD set, buy it, even if you play English or Duet; there’s much great music there.
I’m not a singer, and for us who are vocally impaired, this month's challenge will be to take this simple, short tune with only one part and make it interesting for more than 30 seconds. That means going beyond the simple melody with creative chording, runs and variations. Liberate the jazz and blues musician in you!
If you’re a singer, all the better. I can only imagine the great sound Jody Kruskal could squeeze out of this song.
Here’s a clip that will give you a flavor of the tune in its early form.
One of my favorite versions is the classic by Cab Calloway.
Is it notation you want? Here ya go.
But remember: even more than usual, the notation is meant as just a starting point.
And once again: perfection is not the goal here. Nor is the TOTM just for experienced players. It's fun and educational for players at every level.
So what are you waiting for?
Edited by Jim Besser, 28 February 2014 - 11:36 AM.