As to Steve Noonan’s “Buy for Me the Rain,” I seem to have a genetic affinity for it even though I’ve never met a single person who’s aware of this original version and none of the few people I’ve played it for were too impressed. That the song does have broad appeal is proved by the success of the 1967 cover by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which was a big hit.
Yet to me this version—lost in obscurity like Noonan himself—is infinitely more delicate and affecting. Love, time, loss—all here in a simple, haunting, melancholy tune with starkly poetic lyrics as in a centuries-old English folksong. True, the last chorus slides into the maudlin-morbid; I wish it could somehow be rewritten.