Arlo Guthrie, in a recent interview published in the International Herald Tribune:
“Pete [Seeger] and my dad both realized the history of people in song was being lost,” Guthrie says with genuine emotion. “When I look at what I’m doing here, I agree with them philosophically. It’s why I do songs like ‘St. James Infirmary’ and ‘Goodnight Irene’ ” on the new album. “I’m not just a singer-songwriter doing songs in the key of me.”
The new album to which he refers is a live recording, called In Times Like These. I have not checked out the “SJI” version that’s on it, but over the last two years I’ve gotten quite a few notes from Guthrie fans have let me know how much the enjoy his live take(s) on the song. I certainly endorse the motives Guthrie suggests for playing the tune, and I’m glad he’s out there keeping it alive.
“St. James Infirmary,” Arlo Guthrie (live 2007)