#3 Bob Nolan – Cool Water

Bob Nolan And Sons Of The Pioneers
Bob Nolan And Sons Of The Pioneers

Bob Nolan wrote the Western classic, “Cool Water” as a poem when he was a high school student in Tucson, AZ. In spite of the title, the song is not about water; it’s about the absence of water, a mirage. Most listeners assume that the reference to “Dan” in the lyrics is to a pack mule or a horse, but on a radio show in the 1940s, when introducing the song, Nolan explained that Dan is a burro. Nolan also wrote the line, “…where the water’s running free, and it’s waiting there for me and you.” And that’s the way the Sons of the Pioneers and many others sang it. They still do! But that line was misunderstood by a number of singers and they re-wrote it in a mistaken attempt to create a better rhyme, resulting in “…waiting there for you and me.”

Bob Nolan – Cool Water lyrics

All day I face the barren waste without the taste of water
Cool water
Ole Dan and I with throats burned dry and souls that cry for water
Cool clear water

Keep a-movin’ Dan don’t you listen to him Dan he’s a devil not a man
And he spreads the burning sand with water
Dan can you see that big green tree where the water’s runnin’ free
And it’s waitin’ there for me and you

The shadows sway and seem to say tonight we pray for water
Cool water
And way up there He’ll hear our prayer and show us where there’s water
Cool clear water

Keep a-movin’ Dan don’t you listen to him Dan he’s a devil not a man
But he spreads the burning sand with water
Dan can you see that big green tree where the water’s runnin’ free
And it’s waitin’ there for me and you

[Instrumental]

Dan’s feet are sore he’s yearning for just one thing more than water
Cool water
Like me I guess he’s like the rest where there’s no quest for water
Cool clear water

Water.

Single 1948
Single 1948

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