I should probably warn you, this is a sad and disturbing story. Little Rose Marie, a record by Bill Woods, one of the founders of the legendary Bakersfield music scene, memorializes six-year-old Rose Marie Riddle, brutally raped and murdered at the hands of Richard Arlen Lindsey and his wife, Dixie.
According to court documents, while driving through Kern County on the afternoon of January 12, 1961, Lindsey told his wife, 7 months pregnant at the time, that he wanted a little girl for sexual purposes. They drove into the Shafter labor camp, about 20 miles northwest of Bakersfield, and Dixie spoke to some children playing outside, saying that she wanted to hire someone to clean up her house. No doubt money's tight in a labor camp so one of the kids went into a nearby house and returned with young Rose Marie, who unfortunately got into the car with the Lindseys.
The Lindseys dumped the body in a nearby field and drove north. Three days later, they were arrested in Livermore, California and eventually plead guilty to kidnapping, rape and murder charges. The trial proceeded with truly breath-taking speed and Lindsey's death sentence was handed down by the court only 18 days after the murder. Less than 10 months later, the state of California executed Richard Arlen Lindsey in the San Quentin gas chamber on November 14,1961.
As for Lindsay's wife, Dixie was given two life sentences. Whether she was ever paroled or not, I don't know. As mentioned earlier, Dixe was 7 months pregnant at the time of Rose Marie's murder and she gave birth to a son, later given to her mother to raise, on March 22, 1961.
Bill Woods, who gave Buck Owens his first paying job in the music business when he hired Buck to play guitar for Bill Woods & The Orange Blossom Playboys, recorded this song to help raise some money for the Riddle family.
In 1972, Merle Haggard paid tribute to Bill Woods and his contributions to the Bakersfield sound with his recording of Bill Woods From Bakersfield, a song written by the great Red Simpson.