Drinking in the Lyrics 4

So, here we are just a few hours from our first anniversary and I thought I’d draw attention to a song that is all about booze, without perhaps seeming to be so. The Band’s magnificent song is not the only one about the Colarado gold rush city of Cripple Creek but it is the only one about my little Bessie and the Booze. There are many theories about the meaning of ‘Up on Cripple Creek’ and my personal favourite is that ‘Bessie’ is not a woman (though Bessie Smith would make a good theory) but the name our drunkard (was Robbie Robertson writing it for Richard Manuel?) gives to his favourite liquor. Bessie might be gin, whisky, or beer, but she’s sure a drunkard’s dream. ‘And I swore as 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.’ So, in our search for the perfect pint, it is perhaps time for us all ‘to go and see my little Bessie again.’ And while we’re at it, listen to two drugged out boozers on the Band’s track ‘4% Pantomime’, where Richard Manuel duets with the Belfast Cowboy!