hope I spelled it correctly, I had a chance of meeting Mr. Helm some 10+ years back he could not really speak then due to cancer operations, but still had a big smile and played his drums, I was sad to hear the news of his passing this morning, Hope ta see ya one day Pal, hope were on the same side of eternalness, I may be on the down side of the tracks,if ya need a player!!
Levon was a great musician, may he rest in peace. He sang some of my very favorite songs, especially "Up On Cripple Creek".
One my favorite memories of my daughter growing up was driving some place blasting "Up On Cripple Creek" on the car stereo and singing along. Melissa loved that song and it never failed to make her laugh out loud - especially "I picked up all of my winnings and gave my little Bessie half - she tore it up and threw it in my face just for a laugh."
Rest in peace Levon, I miss you already.
P.S. I never did figure out what the whole "that's when that little love of mine dips her donut in my tea" meant. It may not be true, but I'm guessing there's a little more to it than there seems . . .
Levon was great in Coal Miner's daughter.
I also liked most of the Band music.
Mostly all of you are completely and totally wrong about this songs history and meaning. I'll break "Up on Cripple Creek" down for you guys piece by piece. Lets start of with the title...Up on Cripple Creek. When Levon Helms says "When I get off of this mountain, you know where I'm gonna go." he is talking about Cripple Creek, Colorado being the "mountain". Then he says "Straight down the Mississippi river, to the Gulf of Mexico, to Lake Charles, Louisiana. Meaning: He's doing just that and going to Lake Charles, Louisiana... Then he says "Little Bessie, girl I once knew. She told me to come on by if there's anything that she could do" Meaning: He knows a girl there that said she would help him out if he ever need anything. Then there is the chorus and I'll explain it once and only once....So here goes.." Up on Cripple Creek she sends me" His friend Bessie makes him feel right at home while he's staying with her. "If I spring a leak, she me mends me." If he's feeling warn out and needs some time away from real life to get is morale up she helps him. "I don't have to speak, as she defends me" While he's staying with her, he feels like she protects him from the world. "A drunkard's dream if I ever did see one" He basically goes to stay with her so he can get drunk and not have to deal with his problems. Okay, that's the chorus. Now time for the second verse. "Good luck had just stung me, to the race track I did go" He's feeling lucky because he's drunk, so he goes to the horse races to gamble. "She Bet on one horse to win, and I bet on another to show" Bessie bet on one horse, he bet on another to win the race. "The odds where in my favor, I had 'em five to one." He knew he placed a really good bet and it was pretty much a sure thing statistically. "When that nag to win came around the track
Sure enough we had won." His "nag" is his sureness on the horse which had placed a bet, and he was right. "I took up all of my winnings
And I gave my little Bessie half" He collected on his bet and gave Bessie half the winnings. "And she tore it up and threw it in my face
, just for a laugh" He tried to be nice and give her some money for letting him crash at her house. She tore the money up because she didn't want his money, and she laughed about it. "Now there's one thing in the whole wide world I sure would like to see" If there is one thing he could ever want to happen. "That's when that little love of mine dips her doughnut in my tea" It's when Bessie makes everything taste sweeter including his drink and he wishes that it could be that way all the time. "Now there's a flood out in California and up North it's freezing cold." The weather everywhere else just sucks and isn't as nice as Lake Charles, La. "And this living on the road
is getting pretty old" But, at the same time he is stating to miss his home in Cripple Creek, Co. "So I guess, I'll call up my big mama, tell her I'll be rolling in." He's going to call his girlfriend or wife and tell he is coming back home. But you know, deep down, I'm kind of tempted to go and see my Bessie again." But, he'll always have the urge to go visit Bessie again. Well, that's pretty much it. Oh, and Garth Hudson plays a Hohner Clavinet D6 with a Vox Wah-Wah pedal hooked up to it.
I'll not argue the point as this is a tribute to Levon, not a discussion of the meaning of Up On Cripple Creek, but there are other points of view, some of which have been validated at least in part by Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, and musicologists' studies of various folk and bluegrass songs entitled or using Cripple Creek in the title or lyrics.
Suffice it to say it is a great song which may have been influenced by a number os sources.