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John Hiatt — Crossing Muddy Waters
Album: Crossing Muddy Waters
Avg rating:
7.3

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1347









Released: 2000
Length: 3:58
Plays (last 30 days): 0
My baby's gone and I don't know why
She let out this morning
Like a rusty shot in a hollow sky
Left me without warning
Sooner than the dogs could bark
and faster than the sun rose
Down to the banks in an old mule car
she took a flatboat across the shallow

Left me in my tears to drown
she left a baby daughter
Now the water's wide and deep and brown
She's crossing muddy waters

Tobacco standing in the fields
be rotten come November
And a bitter heart will not reveal
a spring that love remembers
When that sweet brown girl of mine
her black eyes are ravens
We broke the bread and drank the wine
from a jug that she'd been saving

Left me in my tears to drown
she left a baby daughter
Now the water's wide and deep and brown
She's crossing muddy waters

Baby's crying and the daylight's gone
That big oak tree is groaning
In rush of wind and river of song
I can hear my sweetheart moaning
Crying for her baby child
or crying for her husband
Crying for that river's wild
to take her from her loved ones

Left me in my tears to drown
she left a baby daughter
Now the water's wide and deep and brown
She's crossing muddy waters

Left me in my tears to drown
she left a baby daughter
Now the water's wide and deep and brown
She's crossing muddy waters
Comments (176)add comment
John is such an enigma.  So enjoyed him in concert recently with Lyle Lovett. It was such a personal concert and venue.  I felt like they were talking right to us, like we were their friends.  John doesn't have the best voice in the world, but his music makes up for it 70 times over.  He can play anything on a guitar, that I can tell.  And he can improvise.  Guess what, he whistles too!  Really loudly!  And right on key.  He's so cool.
Segue from Sonny Landreth to John Hiatt.  I saw Hiatt perform last month.  His guitar player?  Sonny Landreth.  RP is all knowing
John Hiatt's wife ran off with Muddy Waters?
What a scandal!

(In the words of a certain well known British jury; "I'll just get me hat and coat...")
 
{#Devil_pimp}
You will have a tough time making a charge of cynicism against Hiatt - he has consistent track record of commercial indifference. 

ppopp wrote:
Cynical attempt at writing a popular red-neck song.

 

 poetdancer wrote:
John Hiatt is touring with Sonny Landreth - they'll be in San Francisco at the end of January. Catch 'em live if you can.
https://www.johnhiatt.com/tour.html

 
Saw them 10 years ago and it was excellent show in an old ballroom. God almighty, I wish more of these RP bands would tour.    
 VH1 wrote:
She probably had her reasons! Great - a choobedoobedoobe kinda song about suicide! Yabbadabbadoo!{#Snooty}

 
Man, I incredibly don't understand this reaction. Is there just a short list of pre-approved templates for songs about death? The melody is fast-paced, but I sure wouldn't say it's upbeat, exactly.
 Shmelo wrote:

Gross.



 
Be careful!  Nothing rankles the ire more of RP listeners than disliking one of the cult heroes played here.  Hiatt is definitely one of them.  I agree.  I just can't stand his voice.   
John Hiatt is touring with Sonny Landreth - they'll be in San Francisco at the end of January. Catch 'em live if you can.
https://www.johnhiatt.com/tour.html
I saw him play here last week doing an acoustic show with Lyle Lovett, boy he sure can whistle!
 VH1 wrote:
She probably had her reasons! Great - a choobedoobedoobe kinda song about suicide! Yabbadabbadoo!{#Snooty}

 
Doesn't sound to me like she killed herself, just left.

I'm in the "love JH" crowd. Saw him once with Richard Thompson and Roger McGuinn. Hiatt and Thompson scorched, and McGuinn was dreadful. Two out of three ...
 Shmelo wrote:

Gross.




 

Let me correct your misspelling:  Groß 
She probably had her reasons! Great - a choobedoobedoobe kinda song about suicide! Yabbadabbadoo!{#Snooty}

Gross.


 ppopp wrote:
Cynical attempt at writing a popular red-neck song.

 
Huh?  That's just absurd.
 fitzworld wrote:
The melody is repetitive and boring and the lyrics are worthless. Please don't play garbage like this.

 
Not sure who shit in your Cheerios a few years ago when you wrote this, but I hope it's all better now. 8—->9.
It's a beautiful, sad tune, but I hear him singing "He's crossing Muddy Waters" and I think it should be the theme music for a film noir of betrayal and revenge involving blues musicians.  "You gonna double-cross me?  Nobody crosses Muddy Waters!"
Saddest song ever.
Beautiful traditional folk style song by one of the greatest living songwriters. 
Cynical attempt at writing a popular red-neck song.
Two of my many favorites, make a great couplet here!  Almost always great selection wizardry :o)
 
 fitzworld wrote:
The melody is repetitive and boring and the lyrics are worthless. Please don't play garbage like this.

 
I couldn't agree with you less.  9
 Propayne wrote:
Beautiful melody (love the chorus) and poignant lyrics.

John Hiatt is a treasure. 

 
..... yes, yes & yes :)
Beautiful melody (love the chorus) and poignant lyrics.

John Hiatt is a treasure. 
The melody is repetitive and boring and the lyrics are worthless. Please don't play garbage like this.
45rpm, not 33rpm...
I saw JH with Sonny Landreth around 2003. A smoking show.
 Cynaera wrote:
With very few exceptions, John Hiatt is my favorite artist. Saw him at the LB Day Amphitheatre in Salem, Oregon, and he played opposite Robert Cray and the late Stevie Ray Vaughn (who did a breathtaking set - RIP, Mr. Vaughn. Hold that guitar close, because you'll want it when you come back.) No matter what people say about JH - he's in my pocket. "Slow Turning," "Your Dad Did," "Drive South," "Memphis In the Meantime"...

I'm learning not to be so critical of a vocal, or a weird guitar part. If the music as a whole moves me, I'm just cuddly with joy.  And John Hiatt makes me cuddly with joy. Listen to "Your Dad Did" - especially if you have children, but even if you don't, you'll laugh at the lyrics, and might even relate to them.

God - good and bad, I just LOVE RadioParadise!{#Sunny}
 
{#Yes}   {#Meditate}
 Jazbo wrote:
So sad, so moving and beautiful..... so 9.
 
Perfectly sharing my opinion and feelings.  And the mandolin is of shimmering beauty.
 Byronape wrote:
Don't cross Muddy Waters.

 Buy a shirt.

 
 
Precious! And, I don't think John would even think of it. Then again, maybe he did!
Don't cross Muddy Waters.

 Buy a shirt.

 
Bonnie Raitt has covered Mr. Hiatt's songs.

When I saw him perform live once, he thanked Bonnie and after saying this one put his kids thru college he launched into "Thing Called Love". 

Isn't he Bonnie whtsinsname's partner? (My name is Bonnie too). {#Hearteyes} 

Love it.

Beautiful.
Sad song but 9+
This song following Mary Gauthier's "Mercy Now"? GO FOR THE HEARTSTRINGS WHY DONTCHA BILL?? {#Cry}
10{#Arrowu}11

Seems that his voice is much more musical here than it is in most of his other works.

7{#Arrowu}8
So sad, so moving and beautiful..... so 9.
 Stingray wrote:
Does anybody know a single hookline from him?

 
Put the cow horns back on the Cadillac and change the message on the code-a-phone...

Just when you think you've got it whipped, the bearded lady comes and does a double-back flip...


Now, there's only two things in life, but I forget what they are...

And yeah, my favorite one also:  Help the starving people to get well - But let my brother's hamster burn in hell.

So rare that such a great writer performs his own material. What a treasure.
Like this more as I hear it — now, along with "Cry Love," my fav JH song. Thanks RP for introducing me.
Saw JH & Lyle Lovett together last weekend - their acoustic tour, alternating whose song.  Though I'm more of a LL fan, Hiatt's guitar playing was excellent.  And their relaxed bantering made for a very enjoyable evening.  I found myself wondering 'could it really have been 21 years since "Thing Called Love" came out'.
Big Hiatt fan, big budget meeting in an hour.  I will ignore the lyrics and consider this a good sign and not a bad omen!
Terrific album and terrific song.

Love the chorus. 
 Jeff09 wrote:
It's sort of sad to read the comments of people who have no sense of connection to our own actual culture's deep folk and blues traditions and their modern spinoffs.  This song and album are so good.  Stretch people...there's so much out there.

 
Amen brother!  {#Yes}
It's sort of sad to read the comments of people who have no sense of connection to our own actual culture's deep folk and blues traditions and their modern spinoffs.  This song and album are so good.  Stretch people...there's so much out there.

 jasonv wrote:
this is painful to me
 
Pain is gain, pal.  Quit your cryin'.


this is painful to me
 Propayne wrote:

My all time favorite: "But let my brother's hamster burn in hell"

 
or

"Put the cow horns back on the Cadilac and change the message on the code a phone"

goosebumps
Saw JH play this in ABQ a few weeks ago opening for Los Lobos. Hiatt was on top of his game and this song was quite moving.
 dmax wrote:

If YOU don't know these lines then you're the one that's missing something.
Off the top of my head, no research:

He's sad, but he ain't sorry; it's just the wreck of the Barbie Ferrari.

Would you like a beer with your TV dinner? You may already be a winner.

She said the same things to me

Don't you know we're riding with the King?

Are you ready for a thing called love? Don't come from me and you it comes from up above.

You love your wife and kids...Just like your dad did.

It breaks my heart to see those stars / smash a perfectly good guitar

Though she knows it'll never work - She loves the jerk...
 
My all time favorite: "But let my brother's hamster burn in hell"

With very few exceptions, John Hiatt is my favorite artist. Saw him at the LB Day Amphitheatre in Salem, Oregon, and he played opposite Robert Cray and the late Stevie Ray Vaughn (who did a breathtaking set - RIP, Mr. Vaughn. Hold that guitar close, because you'll want it when you come back.) No matter what people say about JH - he's in my pocket. "Slow Turning," "Your Dad Did," "Drive South," "Memphis In the Meantime"...

I'm learning not to be so critical of a vocal, or a weird guitar part. If the music as a whole moves me, I'm just cuddly with joy.  And John Hiatt makes me cuddly with joy. Listen to "Your Dad Did" - especially if you have children, but even if you don't, you'll laugh at the lyrics, and might even relate to them.

God - good and bad, I just LOVE RadioParadise!{#Sunny}
 Stingray wrote:

Does anybody know a single hookline from him?


 
If YOU don't know these lines then you're the one that's missing something.
Off the top of my head, no research:

He's sad, but he ain't sorry; it's just the wreck of the Barbie Ferrari.

Would you like a beer with your TV dinner? You may already be a winner.

She said the same things to me

Don't you know we're riding with the King?

Are you ready for a thing called love? Don't come from me and you it comes from up above.

You love your wife and kids...Just like your dad did.

It breaks my heart to see those stars / smash a perfectly good guitar

Though she knows it'll never work - She loves the jerk...

Excellent song. Love the chorus.
Bill is playing my favorite "Sunday morning set." One of the benefits of being in the same time zone as RP : )
 Stingray wrote:
Does anybody know a single hookline from him?
 

Listen to Little Village's "Solar Sex Panel" and get back to me.
Prolly my favorite John Hiatt tune!{#Bananajam}
Stingray wrote:
Does anybody know a single hookline from him?

C'mon - you're trolling, right? John Hiatt writes beautiful impressionist lyrics that paint huge wonderful images. Hooklines are for pop songs.

"Sorrow floats..."

words borrowed by John Irving
~The Hotel New Hampshire~

This is soooo good.  . . . .I don't know why I don't think of John H. when I walk into a CD store.
Why haven't I got this album yet:?
 Stingray wrote:

Why John Hiatt always, truely always-always stops short
before a real punchline wants to leave his lips.

Poor guy - finally a lack a the ultimate talent!

Does anybody know a single hookline from him?

Not that he's bad, certainly not - just.... he can't cross that
muddy water
.

 

I couldn't disagree with you more.  I find this song heartbreaking to listen to.  Production of "memorable hooklines", as you put it, is not the mark of an artist, but the mark of a superior craftsman.  I have great respect for superior songcraft (see my other posts here), but that's something else entirely.  This song bleeds all over the floor as far as I'm concerned.  (And I mean that in a good way.)

Why John Hiatt always, truely always-always stops short
before a real punchline wants to leave his lips.

Poor guy - finally a lack a the ultimate talent!

Does anybody know a single hookline from him?

Not that he's bad, certainly not - just.... he can't cross that
muddy water
.



My baby's gone and I don't know why
She let out this morning
Like a rusty shot in a hollow sky
She left me without warning
Sooner than the dogs could bark
and faster than the sun rose
Down to the banks on an old mule cart
she took a flatboat across the shallow

CHORUS:
Left me in my tears to drown
she left a baby daughter
Now the river's wide and deep and brown
She's crossing muddy waters

Tobacco standing in the fields
be rotten come November
And a bitter heart will not reveal
a spring that love remembers
When that sweet brown girl of mine
her hair black as a raven
We broke the bread and drank the wine
from a jug that she'd been saving

CHORUS

Baby's crying and the daylight's gone
That big oak tree is groaning
In rush of wind and a river of song
I can hear my true love moaning
Crying for a baby child
oh crying for her husband
Crying for that river's wild
to take her from her loved ones

CHORUS TWICE



i love this.
How could anyone piss him off?


 lmic wrote:
The final stanza is confusing - does she die after she leaves him?
 
Hiatt's first wife committed suicide by drowning herself, leaving him and their baby daughter. I'm almost positive I learned that from an interview with him, a long time ago.

muddy waters
Not a big fan of Hyatt, being more respectful than enjoying, but this piece is quite nice.
 annersjen wrote:
Sadly, the song is autobiographical, although from many years prior to its release

 
Oh....?

lmic wrote:
The final stanza is confusing - does she die after she leaves him?

I've always interpreted this song to mean that she died suddenly, not left him voluntarily.


 annersjen wrote:
Sadly, the song is autobiographical, although from many years prior to its release
  The final stanza is confusing - does she die after she leaves him?
This just made my day :-)

Sadly, the song is autobiographical, although from many years prior to its release

 Excelsior wrote:
This is disgraceful. 
 

you're an idiot.
Following Mary Gauthier, Mercy Now — this just went from an 8 to a 9.  John Hiatt is a master songwriter.  Thanks John!
This is disgraceful. 
 stevetheshoe wrote:

I went thru your song rankings and it's obvious that you don't like anything recorded after you were born.

 
LMAO

 Excelsior wrote:
{#Puke}
 
I went thru your song rankings and it's obvious that you don't like anything recorded after you were born.

Is that Kermit the Frog on vocals threre? {#Lol}
{#Puke}
mbolch30307 wrote:
Beautiful segue from "Mercy Now." Great job, Bill! :notworthy: :notworthy:
Hear! Hear!
mbolch30307 wrote:
Beautiful segue from "Mercy Now." Great job, Bill! :notworthy: :notworthy:
Agree completely
Beautiful segue from "Mercy Now." Great job, Bill! :notworthy: :notworthy:
She must have been looking for answers
This is such nice version of this song =) Oscar
You gotta be careful when crossing Muddy Waters. I heard he took down a man twice his size with one swing of his guitar.
Love it! first heard on KPIG down south...ah the memories...
that's what European people keep in mind when thinking of southern music from US.... sounds nice.
Love the structure of this, not to mention the guits and lyrics. Great stuff. Great segue, gut wrenching, in the finest tradition.
Great song from a great album.
This song breaks my heart every time.
Love this. I listen to it in my truck all the time.
Mmmm this song comes perfectly after Mercy Now! I love it!
softjeans wrote:
This may be my favorite John Hiatt song...but for some reason it's not available on iTunes, even though plenty of other John Hiatt is. Does anyone out there in virtual Paradise know why?
Perhaps it's because Apple has a cozy relationship with the RIAA and other DRM advocates. Not to mention, Ipods are typical overpriced Apple trash; but, that is best saved for another forum. More appropriately, I would like to comment that I enjoyed this and will listen closer to his other songs.
slowhand wrote:
One of the best songwriters alive. Great tune!
I really like Hiatt's voice. Saw Hiatt with Lyle, Guy, and Joe onstage last Friday night. They were small from the nosebleed section, but a great show nonetheless. Maybe PBS will run a similar show, close-up, sometime soon. :bananajam:
:eh:
One of the best songwriters alive. Great tune!
Without a doubt this is Hiatt's best album, and that's saying a lot. Every song is brilliant.
I love John Hiatt! His songwriting and musical style remind me of myself and my life. Thanks for playing him!
:puke: :puke: :puke:
Defines the term haunting. Truly awful. RParadise wrote:
Defines the term Haunting. Truly wonderful.
Fording Joan Rivers?
anniebear wrote:
I REALLY enjoy this bittersweet song! Poignant, well paced, well sung and such nice mandolin!
Amen sister!
What did Muddy Waters ever do to her? :roflol:
I love his voice....strikes my soul. :good-vibes:
The solo tour he did after this album came out was outstanding. One of the best shows I've seen in a long time.
spek10 wrote:
Never paid much attention to Hiatt, but after hearing this, I'll buy some of his stuff.
Good idea! You won't regret it, buy lots of his stuff. He's great.... :yes:
This tune from John = Most Excellent!!! Love This Album. A Mark Of A True American Singer-Songwriter!! More Hiatt on RP. Peace - Joe G 'Bear' BTW - Happy B-Day to Me!!! 01-25-67 01-25-2006 Means I'm Jack Benny's age? =D
I think there are some other songs on this disc that are just as good (Gone, Before I Go)... but this is definitely his best album, imo. softjeans wrote:
This may be my favorite John Hiatt song...but for some reason it's not available on iTunes, even though plenty of other John Hiatt is. Does anyone out there in virtual Paradise know why?
This may be my favorite John Hiatt song...but for some reason it's not available on iTunes, even though plenty of other John Hiatt is. Does anyone out there in virtual Paradise know why?
Never paid much attention to Hiatt, but after hearing this, I'll buy some of his stuff.
Darrooon wrote:
Yeah, "A little mercy now", and "Crossing muddy waters". Songs for Louisiana today. :(
Yeah, good set Bill, as usual.
I REALLY enjoy this bittersweet song! Poignant, well paced, well sung and such nice mandolin!
Yeah, "A little mercy now", and "Crossing muddy waters". Songs for Louisiana today. :(
i always think this is kenny rogers when i hear it...great songwriter though.
great instrumentation... but i just can't get past his voice on this one.
I can't help but wonder how Mr. Waters feels about all this... Love John Hiatt. Love him. Excellent tune.