And finally, just to bring to a conclusion my unintended mini-series on versions brought to my attention by my communication with Jason Baldinger, a couple more quick notes.
First, one of the versions he said he’d played, and that I didn’t know, was by Tony Rice. (Rice’s work “spans the range of acoustic music, from straight-ahead bluegrass to jazz-influenced new acoustic music, to songwriter-oriented folk,” according to his site). Upon inquiry, I was informed that it was very, very similar to “Doc Watson’s 1964 version” — which I didn’ know either. I’ve now gotten hold of and listened to both, and it’s true, they are much the same. For one thing, while both use the title “St. James Hospital,” both are actually the tune and lyrics more commonly title “One Morning In May,” far closer “The Unfortunate Rake” than to “SJI.” (I believe Watson has also recorded “SJI” a couple of times, but that will have to wait.) Both go with the singer/one guitar arrangement; Rice’s version is a bit more upbeat and sort of a gallop. Neither, however, was really my kind of thing.
Lastly, Baldinger mentioned a rendition of “Those Gamblers Blues” by Elton Britt, which was “just a slight varient” on Jimmie Rodgers take. And indeed this bio on the CMT site starts off by noting Britt’s “Jimmie Rodgers imitation.” He had hits of his own, and is alleged to have been a better yodeler than Rodgers, but the bottom line is I haven’t tracked down this version yet. Baldinger’s description did add that it’s “a little peppy country-politan number complete with the Jordinaires,” which sounds worth hearing but … well, I’ll get to it at some point, I guess.