♫ Cracklin’ Rosie ♫

Two reasons for this song tonight … first, I love the song, the tune, the rhythm … it just rather makes you want to tap your foot, else get up and dance a bit, yes?  The other reason is that it is stuck in my head, thanks to our friend rawgod, who told me a story about the origins of the song.  Now, the official version, the one Neil told people, goes like this, according to both SongFacts and Wikipedia …

“Cracklin’ Rosie” is a bottle of wine. Neil Diamond got the idea for the song from a folk story of an Indian tribe in Northern Canada who had more men than women. He told David Wild at Rolling Stone: “On Saturday nights when they go out, the guys all get their girl; the guys without girls get a bottle of Cracklin’ Rosie, that’s their girl for the weekend.”

But rawgod has a different version, and I believe his, for he has never given me a reason to doubt his word.  And, I found a tidbit of information to make me think rawgod’s is the true version.  He gave me permission to tell his story here …

“… listen to the words of the song mentioned in the subject line, and if you want read the “meaning” of the lyrics. They will tell you a story. I will tell you the truth.
Unfortunately I cannot remember the date, but early in his career Neil Diamond was doing a cross Canada tour, travelling by train “by himself” from town to town. Of course, one night he stopped in Winnipeg, where I lived. After seeing him in concert, I was walking around downtown Winnipeg, more or less aimlessly, I guess, when who should I see but Neil Diamond. In Manitoba, all wine and spirits are sold in government controlled stores, and they conveniently, at the time, had a store just across from the Canadian National Railway depot. Neil was walking past that store when he checked his watch, and dashed into the store. Of course I followed him in (how could I not), hoping to maybe actually speak to him, or get his autograph or something, but he was almost panicking. Looking at his watch over and over, he asked the clerk what was the cheapest bottle of wine they sold. “Cracklin Rose,” was the answer (pronounced Ro-zay, from the acute accent over the e). In those days all liquor was kept behind the counter to prevent shop-lifting, I guess, and the clerk showed him a bottle. Neil asked “How much?” and the clerk answered something like $2.95. “I’ll take one,” he said and threw a bunch of change on the counter. He took the bottle of wine in its plain brown paper bag, and headed out the door, ran across Main St., and disappeared into the bowels of the train station.
Apparently he got there in time to catch his train, though just barely.

“Cracklin’ Rose, you’re a store bought woman,” and “a poor man’s lady.” They “got on board.” I think they had a very fine time together. When the song came out in 1970 it was his first million seller, and except for the store clerk who probably had no idea who Neil Diamond was at the time, and of course Neil himself, I was the only witness to the true birth of that song.”

Now, rawgod is as honest as they come, even to the point of being painfully so sometimes, but I also found a comment on a website dedicated to Neil Diamond this comment:

maudie says:
September 13, 2006 at 2:27 pm
I read in the notes to “In mY lIFETIME” album that the song is about a cheap bottle of wine that was sold up in Canada. I don’t think Neil would say that if it weren’t what he sang about.

Time doesn’t permit me to dig deeper, and I’m sure you’d like to get to listening and tapping your feet, right?  Thank you, rawgod, for giving this song some additional meaning!  I appreciate it!

Cracklin’ Rosie
Neil Diamond

Cracklin’ Rosie, get on board
We’re gonna ride till there ain’t no more to go
Taking it slow
Lord, don’t you know
Have made me a time with a poor man’s lady

Hitchin’ on a twilight train
Ain’t nothing there that I care to take along
Maybe a song
To sing when I want
Don’t need to say please to no man for a happy tune

Oh, I love my Rosie child
She got the way to make me happy
You and me, we go in style
Cracklin’ Rose, you’re a store bought woman
You make me sing like a guitar hummin’
So hang on to me, girl
Our song keeps runnin’ on

Play it now
Play it now, my baby

Cracklin’ Rosie, make me a smile
Girl if it lasts for an hour, that’s all right
We got all night
To set the world right
Find us a dream that don’t ask no questions, yeah

Oh, I love my Rosie child
You got the way to make me happy
You and me, we go in style
Cracklin’ Rose, you’re a store-baught woman
You make me sing like a guitar hummin’
So hang on to me, girl
Our song keeps runnin’ on

Play it now
Play it now
Play it now, my baby

Cracklin’ Rosie, make me a smile
God if it lasts for an hour, that’s all right
We got all night
To set the world right
Find us a dream that don’t ask no question, yeah

Songwriters: Neil Diamond
Cracklin’ Rosie lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

14 thoughts on “♫ Cracklin’ Rosie ♫

  1. That is the best Neil Diamond story that I’ve ever heard! Many, many thanks to rawgod for allowing you to share it. It doesn’t seem that long ago that you featured Neil Diamond, but once was certainly not enough. One of the best friends that I ever had was a male nurse, who loved to tell the story about his living in Greenwich Village and being at the Stonewall Inn when it was raided by the police back in June of 1969 and was part of the riots that took place following the raid. Another thing he loved was Neil Diamond, a love that we shared as well as attending many concerts together. He loved the 1970 “Tap Root Manuscript” album and his favorite two songs on it were this one and “Done Too Soon”. He moved to his home state of Oregon in 2005, to help his sister care for their dying mother. After she died, he only returned for visits, having inherited the family home with the sister and then buying her out. On one of his last visits, he brought a bottle of Cracklin Rose wine from a winery near his home, he thought it too funny and it had become his favorite for obvious reasons. I no longer recall the winery’s name, but remember that it was a husband and wife that owned the vineyard, produced the wine and sang the Blues. I miss his calls and visits, I doubt there is another like him anywhere. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • And you have added even more to the story! Thank you! You’re right … I played September Morn on 10 January … just two weeks ago. That was, in fact, what prompted Jerry (rawgod) to tell me his Cracklin’ Rose story! I hope this walk down memory lane brought only happy memories. Hugs! ❤

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      • Many times a memory is both happy and sad, happy because you experienced it and sad because it can never be repeated. My only trip to Oregon was when my friend was undergoing chemo for the cancer that would eventually claim his life. He faced death with his usual bravery and humor, that I doubt I would be able to muster. When the cancer was winning the battle; I cried, he didn’t. He often repeated the Seussism : “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Thank-you!

        Liked by 2 people

        • I wondered … I had the sense that your friend had died, but didn’t wish to ask and perhaps stir sad memories. But, I love the Seussism … something we should all remember when hard times come, as they always will. Thanks for sharing this, Ellen. ❤

          Like

    • Hi Ellen, I can guarantee your Cracklin Rose wine was not the one Neil Diamond drank that night. The wine made in Manitoba had changed its name before the song even came out. It had such a bad rep by that time, as the party wine of poor people, that they decided to try to upgrade it. Not being a wine drinker, I cannot tell you what the new name was, or even if it was the same wine, but I guess their plan succeeded. All the stories stopped being told.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m quite sure that it was not the same Cracklin Rose, the Oregon produced wine was not cheap but it was very good! What a fortunate stroke of serendipity, how many people can claim seeing Neil Diamond buying cheap wine! And, how fortunate am I to be hearing about it too! Thank-you!

        Liked by 1 person

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