“Up On Cripple Creek” by The Band

Song of the Day

September 1, 2017

Written by Robbie Robertson
Produced by John Simon
Recorded at Pool House, West Hollywood, CA, Late 1968
Released on the album The Band in September 1969

Released on The Band’s self-titled second album, “Up on Cripple Creek” was written by Robbie Robertson when he contemplated about what the “guy in that house out there in the middle of that field was thinking”. The song went on to become a Top 40 hit and one of the group’s most famous works.

The Band in 1969

While most members of The Band are Canadian, drummer Levon Helm was from the American south and his lead vocals added much credibility to this Southern roots track with the story taking place in Louisiana. Musically, this song is notable as one of the earliest to use a Hohner clavinet, with keyboardist Garth Hudson creatively playing with a wah-wah pedal for a unique effect.

Listen to “Up On Cripple Creek”:

Song Lyrics

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 George, Louisiana, little Bessie, girl that I once knew
And she told me just to come on by if there’s anything she could do

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

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
Odds were in my favor, I had him five to one
When that nag came around the track, sure enough we had won

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 onee

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

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

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 fall to the bottom of my feet
And I swore and I took another pull my Bessie can’t be beat

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

As a flood out in California and up north it’s freezing cold
And this living off 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 kinda tempted to go and see my sweet 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

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One Comment

  1. You might want to get the name of the song correct: It’s “Up On Cripple Creek” as it reads in the lyrics you posted.

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