The Band Up on Cripple Creek

The Who Substitute
The Who Substitute
May 16, 2018
Jackie Wilson Higher and Higher
Jackie Wilson Higher and Higher
May 20, 2018

The Band Up on Cripple Creek

The Band Up Cripple Creek

Roots Rock

The song was written by The Band’s guitarist Robbie Robertson.  In 1969, it was released on their album titled The Band and also as a single (with “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” on the B-Side). The song went to #25 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #10 on the Canadian RPM Singles Chart. Robertson says the song is his mind trying to imagine the life and mind of a man who lives in the middle of a field, with one light on upstairs, and a truck parked out front. On the track, Robertson plays rhythm guitar, Rick Danko is on bass guitar, Levon Helm does the lead vocals and plays drums, Richard Manuel plays piano, and Garth Hudson plays the clavinet (am amplified clavichord) and organ. This was one of the first uses of a clavinet with a wah-wah pedal. It later became ubiquitous in ’70s funk, disco, rock and reggae music.

The Band formed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. in 1964. They came together as they joined rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins’s backing group The Hawks (circa 1958-1963). Hawkins was originally from Arkansas and then settled in Ontario. They broke with Hawkins and then toured and recorded with Bob Dylan. Helm said that because they were “the band” behind a number of artists, he decided to name them The Band. They went on to play folk rock, country rock, and  roots rock (that is, music looking towards rock’s roots in blues, folk, and country music).

Here are the lyrics to “Up Cripple Creek” by The Band:

“When I get off of this mountain
You know where I want to go
Straight down the Mississippi river
To the Gulf of Mexico
To Lake Charles Louisiana
Little Bessie, girl that I once knew
She told me just to come on by
If there’s anything that she could do

Up on Cripple Creek, she sends me
If I spring a leak, she mends me
I don’t have to speak, as she defends me
A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one

Good luck had just stung me
To the race track I did go
She bet on one horse to win
And I bet on another to show
The odds were in my favor
I had ’em five to one
When that nag to win came around the track
Sure enough we had won

Up on Cripple Creek, as she sends me
If I spring a leak, as she mends me
I don’t have to speak, as she defends me
A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one

I took up all of my winnings
And I gave my little Bessie half
And she tore it up and threw it in my face
Just for a laugh
Now there’s one thing in the whole wide world
I sure love to see
That’s when that little love of mine
Dips her doughnut in my tea

Up on Cripple Creek, as she sends me
If I spring a leak, as she mends me
I don’t have to speak, as she defends me
A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one

Now me and my mate were back at the shack
We had Spike Jones on the box
She said, “I can’t take the way he sings
But I love to hear him talk”
Now that just gave my heart a throb
To the bottom of my feet
And I swore as I took another pull
My Bessie can’t be beat

Up on Cripple Creek, as she sends me
If I spring a leak, as she mends me
I don’t have to speak, as she defends me
A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one

As there’s a flood out in California
And up North it’s freezing cold
And this living on the road
Is getting pretty old
So I guess, I’ll call up my big mama
Tell her I’ll be rolling in
But you know, deep down
I’m kind of tempted
To go and see my Bessie again

Up on Cripple Creek, she sends me
If I spring a leak, she mends me
I don’t have to speak, she defends me
A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one”

Check Out The Groove Pad for More 1960s Music

The Pass the Paisley Groove Pad is a resting stop, a place to chill out and listen to the featured song on the stereo. If the mood strikes you, click on the juke box to access and listen to the 50+ free online songs there. The TV has several channels, with selections updated twice a week. Every now and then, Pass the Paisley hosts an all-request of 1960s and 1970s songs for a Be-In at the juke box in the Groove Pad. Keep on truckin’. Hope you enjoyed “Up Cripple Creek” by The Band.

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