Talking about Black Muddy River yesterday inspired me to revisit the song and pick this version for today.
Black Muddy River was played a total of 66 times between 1986 and 1995. Interestingly, only 5 of those performances occurred after Brent died (one each in 90 and 91 [both with Bruce], and three in 95). I can’t help but wonder if there was some connection between this song and Brent that the band made it too difficult to play without him there. It’s a bit cryptic that it was played at the last show at Soldier Field. In hindsight it might seem like an omen with walking along by the Black Muddy River as a metaphor for Jerry’s death. This is purely speculation on my part, but who knows.
Regardless of any wild conjectures I may dream up, I can safely say that Black Muddy River is one of my top Dead ballads (and I’m a sucker for ballads). Speaking of Bruce and Black Muddy River, he’s performed it on his own and just kills it. A very nice Mandolin Rain/Black Muddy River can be found on the Here Comes The Noisemakers live album from several years ago.