I'm a big fan of any song or cycle of songs that are carried on through the years and build upon each other. Lyrics swapped, and spun around to play with the years of use and meaning that preceeded it.

I wrote a bit about Stagger Lee and its versions a few years ago, and always intended on learning more about St. James Infirmary after reading about it in Deep Blues.

Rob Walker has written a very fine and detailed story about St. James Infirmary in his Letter From New Orleans section on his site.

I'll try and dig a version of the song up, I remember hearing the White Stripes do it, but I can't remember if they really messed with the structure and just sampled bits like the Clash did with "Stagger Lee" on "Wrong 'Em Boyo".