Why do I love this track? To begin with - Mandolin Rain. I love the simple melodic intro to this track, piano, organ, followed by stripped back pad synths and simple piano as the first verse begins.
There's something about the longingness in the voice and the feeling behind the lines "Listen to the tears roll down my face as she turns to go" and "Listen to my heart break every time she runs away" that get me every time. Simple and heartfelt.
The references to the rain will always hold a special place for me. The rain is one of those sounds and atmospheres that I just love.
In this medley the feeling winds down after around 5 minutes in, as the segway to Black Muddy River kicks in around 5:48. The response from the crowd is testament to the feeling this segway creates.
Black Muddy River was originally performed by The Grateful Dead. Perhaps this will lose me kudos with some, however I prefer Bruce Hornsby's particular take on this track. It is more stripped back and emotionally bare which for me seems to work better with the lyric.
"When I can't hear that song for the singer
And I can't tell a pillow from a stone"...
"I will walk alone by the black muddy river
Sing me a song of my own..."
It is just such a reflective, bare, and heartfelt performance. The clip below provides a glimpse, however the live version on "Here Come The Noise Makers" (Live Disc 2) is the version which really moves me. Enjoy.