♫ Cracklin’ Rosie ♫

Well, since I played Neil Diamond the first three nights of this week, I guess we might as well make it officially Neil Diamond Week here at Filosofa’s Word!  Today, by the way, in case you hadn’t looked at the calendar, is the first of December, meaning our friend Clive will be starting his Advent Calendar of daily Christmas-themed tunes, but I refuse to start playing Christmas songs this soon!  Maybe around December 23rd, but not yet!  Anyway, digging back in the archives, I decided to play this one tonight, mainly because of the interesting story rawgod added to it when I first played it back in 2019!  I have another up my sleeve for tomorrow, so be sure to pop back in if you have time!


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

♫ Soolaimón ♫

When I first started doing music posts back in 2018, I said that I would only play songs I like.  A bit of a selfish wench, wasn’t I?  I still pretty much play my old favourites, but I’ve figured out that it gives me just as much joy playing songs that my friends enjoy as I get from playing my own favourites, so every now and then I step outside my own ‘zone’ and into yours.  On Sunday night, I played a Neil Diamond song, Forever in Blue Jeans … not my favourite, but one that I like.  It was a toss up between it and the one I played last night, I Am … I Said.  With that, I thought I was probably done with Neil Diamond for now, even though I still didn’t play my own favourite, Solitary Man.  But then, in the comments, Clive and rawgod mentioned a song that didn’t ring any bells, so I went in search of.  I found the song easily enough, but upon listening I realized that a) I had never heard it before, and b) I didn’t like it much at all.  And so today, I give you … Soolaimón by Neil Diamond!

Soolaimón was a track from Neil Diamond’s sixth studio album, Tap Root Manuscript, released in 1970. The album was one of the most experimental he ever recorded. It uniquely showcased African sounds and instruments. The album ended up being a commercial success, with Done Too Soon, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother and Cracklin’ Rosie among his other Top 40 single releases. The B-side to Tap Root Manuscript was titled The African Trilogy (A Folk Ballet). While world music became a genre in the 1980s and 90s, Neil Diamond was way ahead of the most recording artists. Yes, the Beatles had introduced the sitar on Revolver in 1966. But it was not until the 1979 when Peter Gabriel’s third solo  album included tracks like Biko that African and Brazilian sounds were woven into a Western recording artists’ album. Others who helped make world music more mainstream were Paul Simon with Graceland and David Byrne and Brian Eno. Tap Root Manuscript was one of the most novel experimental recording projects of its time. The Uni label was initially hesitant to release the album.

Soolaimón was a word Neil Diamond learned when he studied African culture at the Kenyon Mission, the United Nations and the African Studies department at UCLA. Soolaimón can mean “hello,” “welcome,” “good-bye” and “peace be with you.” The lyrics offer images of the cycles of night and day, and a sense of the sacredness of that cycle: “God of my day… Lord of my night.” There is an abiding trust that the “day shall provide.”

Soolaimón peaked at #1 in Tucson (AZ), Edmonton (AB) and Moscow (ID), #3 in Vancouver (BC) and Columbus (OH), #4 in Manchester (NH), #5 in San Bernardino (CA), Reading (PA) and Calgary (AB), #6 in Ottawa (ON) and Victoria (BC), #7 in Rochester (NY), Hilo (HI), Shreveport (LA) and Holland (MI), #8 in Hamilton (ON), and #9 in Atlanta, Syracuse (NY), Orlando (FL) and Allentown (PA).  It made it to #30 in the U.S., but other than the above, I can find no chart listings for the song.

Soolaimón

Neil Diamond

Come she come say
Ride on the night
Sun becomes day
Day shall provide

Soo, soolaimon
Soolai, soolai, soolaimon
Soo, soolaimon
Soolai, soolai, soolaimon
Soo, soolaimon
Soolai, soolai, soolaimon
Soo, soolaimon
Soolai, soolai, soolaimon

God of my want, want, want
Lord of my need, need, need
Leading me on, on, on
On to the woman, she dance for the sun
God of my day, day, day
Lord of my night, night, night
Seek for the way, way, way
Taking me home
She callin’

Bring home my name
On the wings of a flea
Wind in the plains
Dance once for me

Soo, soolaimon
Soolai, soolai, soolaimon
Soo, soolaimon
Soolai, soolai, soolaimon
Soo, soolaimon
Soolai, soolai, soolaimon
Soo, soolaimon
Soolai, soolai, soolaimon

God of my want, want, want
Lord of my need, need, need
Leading me on, on, on
On to the woman, she dance for the sun
God of my day
Lord of my night
Seek for the way
Taking me home

God of my want, want, want
Lord of my need, need, need
Leading me on, on, on
On to the woman, she dance for the sun

God of my day, day, day
Lord of my night, night, night
Seek for the way, way, way
Taking me home

God of my want, want, want
Lord of my need, need, need
Leading me on, on, on……..

Writer/s: NEIL DIAMOND
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

♫ I Am … I Said ♫ (Redux)

Yesterday’s Neil Diamond song put me in the mood for yet another!

This song was both written and recorded by Neil Diamond and released in 1971, reaching #4 in both the U.S. and UK, and #2 in Canada.  According to Diamond, this song took 4 months to write …

“It was consciously an attempt on my part to express what my dreams were about, what my aspirations were about and what I was about. And without any question, it came from my sessions with the analyst.”

Turns out, Neil had tried out to play rebel comedian Lenny Bruce in a film.  The rejection evoked such intense emotions that it led him to spend some time in therapy.  Feeling that he had failed, Neil was thrown into something of an existential funk and started the song. It would take months for him to finish the song, but in the end it would become a classic.

According to Diamond …

“It was consciously an attempt on my part to express what my dreams were about, what my aspirations were about and what I was about. And without any question, it came from my sessions with the analyst.”

I Am…I Said
Neil Diamond

L.A.’s fine, the sun shines most the time
And the feeling is “lay back”
Palm trees grow and rents are low
But you know I keep thinkin’ about
Making my way back

Well I’m New York City born and raised
But nowadays
I’m lost between two shores
L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home
New York’s home
But it ain’t mine no more

“I am”… I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair

“I am”… I cried
“I am”… said I
And I am lost and I can’t
Even say why
Leavin’ me lonely still

Did you ever read about a frog
Who dreamed of bein’ a king
And then became one
Well except for the names
And a few other changes
If you talk about me
The story is the same one

But I got an emptiness deep inside
And I’ve tried
But it won’t let me go
And I’m not a man who likes to swear
But I never cared
For the sound of being alone

“I am”… I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair
“I am”… I cried
“I am”… said I
And I am lost and I can’t
Even say why
“I am”… I said
“I am”… I cried
“I am”

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Neil Diamond
I Am…I Said lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Forever In Blue Jeans ♫ (Redux)

I had Neil Diamond in my mind today, and decided to play something by him, but I was torn between several.  I nearly choked on my coffee when I realized that I played this one only once, the Monday after Thanksgiving three years ago in 2019!  Even my intro blurb is still fitting and apt! 


You know that Monday-after-a-long-holiday-weekend feeling?  The one where the simplest tasks seem monumental, and you find yourself saying, “I really don’t want to be here” … and that’s true even for those of us who are retired!  Too much has been left alone over the 4-day weekend … vacuuming, laundry, bathroom cleaning, etc.  And there’s that great dilemma … how to disguise the remaining turkey in the fridge so it doesn’t seem so much like leftovers.  You just feel somewhat … out of sync.  So, I was in the mood for something light and fun tonight.

Released in 1979, Forever in Blue Jeans was co-written by Neil Diamond and his guitarist, Richard Bennett.  Says Diamond about the song: “the simple things are really the important things”.

Not surprisingly, the song has been used  a couple of times in ads for … blue jeans!  In one, Will Ferrell of M*A*S*H and Elf fame, impersonated Neil Diamond singing this in an ad for The Gap.

As always, I mis-heard not only the lyrics, but I always thought the song was titled Devil in Blue Jeans, so when I went looking for it tonight, it took me a while!

The song only reached #20 in the U.S., #16 in the UK.

Forever In Blue Jeans
Neil Diamond

Money talks
But it don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk
And long as I can have you here with me
I’d much rather be forever in blue jeans

Honey’s sweet
But it ain’t nothin’ next to baby’s treat
And if you’d pardon me, I’d like to say
We’d do okay forever in blue jeans

Maybe tonight
Maybe tonight, by the fire
All alone, you and I
Nothing around but the sound
Of my heart and your sighs

Money talks
But it can’t sing and dance and it can’t walk
And long as I can have you here with me
I’d much rather be forever in blue jeans, babe

And honey’s sweet
But it ain’t nothin’ next to baby’s treat
And if you’ll pardon me, I’d like to say
We’d do okay, forever in blue jeans

Maybe tonight
Maybe tonight, by the fire
All alone, you and I
Nothing around but the sound
Of my heart and your sighs

Money talks
But it don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk
And long as I can have you here with me
I’d much rather be forever in blue jeans

And if you’d pardon me, I’d like to say
We’d do okay forever in blue jeans, babe

And long as I can have you here with me
I’d much rather be forever in blue jeans, babe

Songwriters: Richard Winchell Bennett / Neil Diamond
Forever In Blue Jeans lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ You Don’t Bring Me Flowers ♫

You guys ready for some Barbra Streisand?  Yes, Clive, I know you’re not a fan, but grit your teeth and sit through this one … I’ve got one up my sleeve for you soon!  Meanwhile, this one is for David in hopes of putting a little bit of a smile on his face!


The song was written by Neil Diamond with Alan and Marilyn Bergman for the ill-fated daily TV sitcom All That Glitters. The song was intended to be the theme song, but Norman Lear, the show’s creator, changed the concept of the show and the song was no longer appropriate. Diamond then expanded the track from 45 seconds to 3:17, adding instrumental sections and an additional verse. The Bergmans contributed to the song’s lyrics.

In 1977, Diamond released the album I’m Glad You’re Here with Me Tonight, which included the track You Don’t Bring Me Flowers as a solo performance. Early in 1978, Barbra Streisand covered the song on her album Songbird.

These solo recordings were famously spliced together by Gary Guthrie, a producer at the radio station WAKY-AM in Louisville, Kentucky, who did it as a going away present to his wife, whom he had just divorced. Guthrie’s spliced-together duet version first aired on WAKY on May 24, 1978.  It was such a hit, that other stations began doing their own mix of the song.

Guthrie sent CBS his version of the duet on July 27, and by August 3, both Striesand and Diamond had agreed to the release of a duet version. However, rather than issue any of the spliced-together versions, Columbia Records had Streisand and Diamond record a brand-new “official” studio version, which was released on October 17, 1978.

The song reached number one on the Hot 100 chart for two non-consecutive weeks in December 1978, producing the third number-one hit for both singers. The single sold over one million copies, and eventually went Platinum.

In 1979, Guthrie sued CBS for $5 million, claiming that he was improperly compensated for his role in making the song a hit. The suit was unsuccessful, but acknowledgment and gratitude for Guthrie came from CBS with a Gold record plaque, flowers from Diamond and a telegram from Streisand.

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers
Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand

You don’t bring me flowers
You don’t sing me love songs
You hardly talk to me anymore
When I come through the door at the end of the day

I remember when
You couldn’t wait to love me
Used to hate to leave me
Now after lovin’ me late at night

When it’s good for you, babe
And you’re feeling alright

Well, you just roll over
And you turn out the light
And you don’t bring me flowers anymore

It used to be so natural (Used to be)
To talk about forever
But used-to-be’s don’t count anymore
They just lay on the floor ’til we sweep them away

And baby, I remember
All the things you taught me

I learned how to laugh
And I learned how to cry

Well I learned how to love
And I learned how to lie

So you’d think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye

You don’t bring me flowers anymore

Well, you’d think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye

You don’t sing to me

And you don’t sing me love songs

You don’t bring me flowers anymore

Songwriters: Alan Bergman / Marilyn Bergman / Neil Diamond
You Don’t Bring Me Flowers lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Spirit Music Group

♫ Sweet Caroline ♫ (Redux)

This one popped into my head a few nights ago, but I had already decided on another song by that time, so I saved it thinking I would play it one night later in the week.  And then, our friend Roger just happened to mention it in a comment talking about England’s Women Soccer Team who beat Germany in the finals of the Women’s Euro 2022 and will be going to the World’s Cup next year, or so says Roger, and “Sweet Caroline” is the “unofficial Team & Supporters Song.”  And so, with that in mind, of course I must play this one tonight!


Neil Diamond wrote this song about his wife … Marcia.  Yeah, I know … Caroline is not exactly the same as Marcia, but Neil apparently already had the music written and needed a three-syllable name, so he pulled the name Caroline out of his … er … hat, and thus was the song named.  Neil and Marcia divorced in 1995 … gee, I wonder why.

Now, according to SongFacts …

Neil Diamond is a great manipulator of the media, and has shifted his story about this song to fit the occasion. There was longtime speculation that the song is about Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the American president John F. Kennedy. Diamond has since revealed that this Caroline gave him the idea for the name, but had nothing to do with the song’s inspiration.

In 2007, however, Diamond performed the song via satellite at Caroline Kennedy’s 50th birthday party, and said that the song was about her. He told the Associated Press: “I’ve never discussed it with anybody before – intentionally. I thought maybe I would tell it to Caroline when I met her someday. I’m happy to have gotten it off my chest and to have expressed it to Caroline. I thought she might be embarrassed, but she seemed to be struck by it and really, really happy.”

Diamond added that he was a young, broke songwriter in the ’60s when he saw a cute photo of Caroline Kennedy in a magazine. Said Diamond: “It was a picture of a little girl dressed to the nines in her riding gear, next to her pony. It was such an innocent, wonderful picture, I immediately felt there was a song in there.” A few years later, Diamond wrote the song in a Memphis hotel in less than an hour. Caroline was 11 years old when the song was released.

Another interesting tidbit is that even though the song has nothing to do with Boston, the Red Sox, baseball or New England, it is played at Red Sox home games in Fenway Park before the Red Sox bat in the the 8th inning. Amy Tobey, who worked the music at Fenway, first started playing the song in 1997 – it’s often reported that she played it in honor of a Red Sox employee who named her newborn daughter “Caroline,” but Tobey told NPR that she simply liked the song. It caught on with the fans, becoming a popular selection between innings. When Charles Steinberg took over as Red Sox executive vice president of public affairs in 2002, he championed the song, and instituted it as an 8th inning ritual (strategically placed before the Sox come up to bat late in the game), where it has been played ever since.

After the bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, the New York Yankees – rivals of the Red Sox – began playing this song as a show of support for the city of Boston. On April 20, Diamond made a surprise appearance at Fenway Park where he performed the song in its traditional 8th inning timeslot. Diamond, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just two days earlier, appeared in street clothes rather than his usual lustrous performance garb as he led the crowd in a full version of the song.

This one’s for you, Miss JoyRoses …

Sweet Caroline
Neil Diamond

Where it began, I can’t begin to knowing
But then I know it’s growing strong
Was in the spring
And spring became the summer
Who’d have believed you’d come along

Hands, touching hands
Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I’ve been inclined
To believe they never would
But now I

Look at the night and it don’t seem so lonely
We filled it up with only two
And when I hurt
Hurting runs off my shoulders
How can I hurt when holding you

One, touching one
Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I’ve been inclined
To believe they never would
Oh no, no

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
Sweet Caroline
I believe they never could
Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Neil Diamond
Sweet Caroline lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ September Morn ♫ (Redux)

Okay, I have a number of friends a generation or so younger than I who laugh and say I’m showing my age when I say I like Neil Diamond, but they don’t scare me off.  I like Neil Diamond.  There, I said it.  Sweet Caroline, Cracklin’ Rosie, I am … I said, Song Sung Blue … and all the rest … they resonate.  Fine, throw those rotten tomatoes if you will, but I still like them.

I was feeling a bit nostalgic tonight … it’s been rather the week from hell and I am, as I told my daughter, rather mad at the world at the moment.  As I was reading and responding to comments tonight, a friend had mentioned the word “September” and that was all it took for my mind to start playing this song, September Morn, in my head.  “We danced until the night became a brand new day …” over and over.

There isn’t a lot of interesting trivia about this song, except perhaps this …

The Tennessee nursing student Holly Bobo was 20 years old when she vanished on April 13, 2011. As usual in cases of this nature, a number of “psychics” came forward with information that could assist the investigation. Authorities made it clear that these dubious tips were interfering with the investigation, but volunteer groups pushed to follow the leads.

Among the calls that came in was one from a person who insisted that the lyrics to “September Morn” contained clues to Bobo’s disappearance. Just what the lyrics supposedly revealed about the case was unclear, but it made news along with other odd claims.

Naturally, nothing came of it, although sometime later, one September in 2014, her remains were found.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I give you … Neil Diamond …

September Morn
Neil Diamond

Stay for just a while
Stay and let me look at you
It’s been so long, I hardly knew you
Standing in the door

Stay with me a while
I only wanna talk to you
We’ve traveled halfway ’round the world
To find ourselves again

September morn
We danced until the night
Became a brand new day
Two lovers playing scenes
From some romantic play
September morning
Still can make me feel that way

Look at what you’ve done
Why, you’ve become a grown-up girl
I still can hear you crying
In a corner of your room
And look how far we’ve come
So far from where we used to be
But not so far that we’ve forgotten
How it was before

September morn
Do you remember
How we danced that night away
Two lovers playing scenes
From some romantic play
September morning
Still can make me feel that way

September morn
We danced until the night
Became a brand new day
Two lovers playing scenes
From some romantic play
September morning
Still can make me feel that way

September morn
We danced until the night
Became a brand new day
Two lovers playing scenes
From some romantic play
September morning
Still can make me feel that way
September morning
Still can make me feel that way

Songwriters: Gilbert Becaud / Neil Diamond
September Morn lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Mr. Bojangles ♫ (Redux)

I realize that I only played this one in May of last year, so about 14 months ago, and I typically try not to redux a song I have played within the past year, but I’ll offer no apologies for this one tonight.  I am admittedly feeling low, feeling that not only the U.S., but much of the world is on a destructive trajectory and that humans are too self-focused to do anything about it.  My last shred of hope for the world seems to be turning to ash.  All evening, I have had this song in my head, and when I listened, watched Sammy Davis Jr., the man who I consider the ultimate entertainer …

At any rate … enough of my dourness!  When I played this song last year, my friend Jack from the UK informed me that Neil Diamond had also covered it, so in addition to my two original covers, I have added a third!  My favourite was and remains Sammy Davis Jr.’s though.

As a child, I was a fan of such musicians as Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr.  Because of my father’s work and contacts, I met people who most kids growing up in the 50s and 60s didn’t get to meet, and Sammy Davis was one such.  Having met him ‘up close and personal’ at around age 8 or 9, he was one of my favourites of the time.

Mr. Bojangles was the nickname used by Bill Robinson, a black tap dancer who appeared in many movies in the 1930s, including with Shirley Temple in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. After Robinson’s success, many black street dancers became known as “Bojangles.”

This was written and originally released by the singer/songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, who wrote the song in the mid-’60s and recorded it in 1968. Walker left his home in upstate New York and traveled the country playing music. He spent some time in New Orleans, where one day he was a bit tipsy and made a public display trying to convince a young lady that love at first sight was real. This landed him in jail, where his cell mate was an older black man who made a living as a street dancer and told Walker all about his life.

According to Walker …

“One of the guys in the cell jumped up and said, ‘Come on, Bojangles. Give us a little dance.’ ‘Bojangles’ wasn’t so much a name as a category of itinerant street entertainer known back as far as the previous century. The old man said, ‘Yes, Hell yes.’ He jumped up, and started clapping a rhythm, and he began to dance. I spent much of that long holiday weekend talking to the old man, hearing about the tough blows life had dealt him, telling him my own dreams.

And here it came, just sort of tumbling out, one straight shot down the length of that yellow pad. On a night when the rest of the country was listening to The Beatles, I was writing a 6/8 waltz about an old man and hope. It was a love song. In a lot of ways, Mr. Bojangles is a composite. He’s a little bit of several people I met for only moments of a passing life. He’s all those I met once and will never see again and will never forget.”

Sammy Davis, Jr. made this song a part of his stage shows and live performances for nearly two decades.  Mr. Davis’ version is not the one that hit the charts, but I include it here because … Mr. Davis is an entertainer in every sense of the word, and because … I like it, it brings back memories.

The version that charted, reaching #9 in the U.S. and #2 in Canada is the one by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, released in 1970, and I include that one as well. Listen to one, listen to both … whatever makes you smile today.  The lyrics are slightly different between versions, so I am including the lyrics only for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band version.

Mr. Bojangles
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

I knew a man Bojangles and he danced for you
In worn out shoes
Silver hair, a ragged shirt and baggy pants
The old soft shoe

He jumped so high
He jumped so high
Then he’d lightly touched down

Mr Bojangles
Mr Bojangles
Mr Bojangles
Dance

I met him in a cell in New Orleans I was
Down and out
He looked to me to be the eyes of age
As he spoke right out

He talked of life
He talked of life
He lightly slapped his leg instead

He said the name Bojangles and he danced a lick
Across the cell
He grabbed his pants for a better stance
He jumped so high
He clicked his heels

He let go a laugh
He let go a laugh
Shook back his clothes all around

Mr Bojangles
Mr Bojangles
Mr Bojangles
Dance

We danced for those at minstrel shows and county fairs
Throughout the south
We spoke in tears of fifteen years
How his dog and him
They travelled about

His dog up and died
He up and died
After twenty years he still grieves

They said I dance now at every chance and honky tonks
For drinks and tips
But most the time I spend behind these county bars
Cause I drinks a bit

He shook his head and as he shook his head
I heard someone ask please

Mr Bojangles
Mr Bojangles
Mr Bojangles
Dance

Mr Bojangles
Mr Bojangles
Mr Bojangles

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Jerry Jeff Walker
Mr. Bojangles lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ You Don’t Bring Me Flowers ♫ (Redux)

I played this one just about two years ago, July 2019, but tonight I’m brain dead, exhausted, and so I’m taking the lazy path and reduxing this one!  When I played it in 2019, I only played the duet version with both Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond.  While that remains my favourite, at the time David commented that he preferred the version with only Barbra, so tonight I offer up both!


The song was written by Neil Diamond with Alan and Marilyn Bergman for the ill-fated daily TV sitcom All That Glitters. The song was intended to be the theme song, but Norman Lear, the show’s creator, changed the concept of the show and the song was no longer appropriate. Diamond then expanded the track from 45 seconds to 3:17, adding instrumental sections and an additional verse. The Bergmans contributed to the song’s lyrics.

In 1977, Diamond released the album I’m Glad You’re Here with Me Tonight, which included the track You Don’t Bring Me Flowers as a solo performance. Early in 1978, Barbra Streisand covered the song on her album Songbird.

These solo recordings were famously spliced together by Gary Guthrie, a producer at the radio station WAKY-AM in Louisville, Kentucky, who did it as a going away present to his wife, whom he had just divorced. Guthrie’s spliced-together duet version first aired on WAKY on May 24, 1978.  It was such a hit, that other stations began doing their own mix of the song.

Guthrie sent CBS his version of the duet on July 27, and by August 3, both Striesand and Diamond had agreed to the release of a duet version. However, rather than issue any of the spliced-together versions, Columbia Records had Streisand and Diamond record a brand-new “official” studio version, which was released on October 17, 1978.

The song reached number one on the Hot 100 chart for two non-consecutive weeks in December 1978, producing the third number-one hit for both singers. The single sold over one million copies, and eventually went Platinum.

In 1979, Guthrie sued CBS for $5 million, claiming that he was improperly compensated for his role in making the song a hit. The suit was unsuccessful, but acknowledgment and gratitude for Guthrie came from CBS with a Gold record plaque, flowers from Diamond and a telegram from Streisand.

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers
Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand

You don’t bring me flowers
You don’t sing me love songs
You hardly talk to me anymore
When I come through the door at the end of the day

I remember when
You couldn’t wait to love me
Used to hate to leave me
Now after lovin’ me late at night

When it’s good for you, babe
And you’re feeling alright

Well, you just roll over
And you turn out the light
And you don’t bring me flowers anymore

It used to be so natural (Used to be)
To talk about forever
But used-to-be’s don’t count anymore
They just lay on the floor ’til we sweep them away

And baby, I remember
All the things you taught me

I learned how to laugh
And I learned how to cry

Well I learned how to love
And I learned how to lie

So you’d think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye

You don’t bring me flowers anymore

Well, you’d think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye

You don’t sing to me

And you don’t sing me love songs

You don’t bring me flowers anymore

Songwriters: Alan Bergman / Marilyn Bergman / Neil Diamond
You Don’t Bring Me Flowers lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Spirit Music Group

♫ Solitary Man ♫ (Redux)

The last time I played this was in September 2019, nearly 3 years ago, and at the time I apologized for playing it, for it is not Neil Diamond’s most popular or highest charting song.  But frankly it is among my favourites of his.  I find that when I am deep down a rabbit hole, this one seems to just pop into my head.  And so tonight, I offer it again, this time sans apologies, and I hope you like it, but if you don’t, stay tuned … it’s only Monday!

This was Neil Diamond’s first charting single as a recording artist, though he had moderate success previously as a songwriter writing songs for other artists, including the Box Tops and the Monkees.  Of Solitary Man he said …

“After four years of Freudian analysis I realized I had written ‘Solitary Man’ about myself.”

In a 2008 interview …

“Solitary Man was my first song where I tried to really raise the level of my songwriting. It was inspired by the Beatles’ song ‘Michelle,’ which was also written in a minor key. I don’t think I’d ever written a song in a minor key before, it was the first and it kind of broke the dam for me.”

The song would go on to be covered by many others, including T.G. Sheppard, Johnny Cash, HIM, and others, most of which I have never heard.

Solitary Man
Neil Diamond

Melinda was mine ’til the time
That I found her
Holding Jim
And loving him
Then Sue came along, loved me strong
That’s what I thought
Ya, me and Sue
But that died too

Don’t know that I will
But until I can find me
The girl who’ll stay
And won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man

I’ve had it to here
Bein’ where love’s a small word
Part-time thing
Paper ring

I know it’s been done
Havin’ one girl who’ll loves you
Right or wrong
Weak or strong

Don’t know that I will
But until I can find me
The girl who’ll stay
And won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man

Don’t know that I will
But until I can find me
The girl who’ll stay
And won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man
Solitary man
Solitary man

Songwriters: Neil Diamond
Solitary Man lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group