The story of “Cool Water” of Bob Nolan.

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.

Bob Nolan Sons Of The Pioneers (httpnashvillesongwritersfoundation.com)
Bob Nolan Sons Of The Pioneers (httpnashvillesongwritersfoundation.com)

Cool Water

Bob Nolan
Bob Nolan

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.”



Tex Ritter And The Dinning Sisters - Cool Water
Tex Ritter And The Dinning Sisters – Cool Water

 

Some versions:
Bob Atcher 1940 First recording on June 13, 1940
Sons of the Pioneers April 1941
Dude Martin and His Round-Up Gang June 11, 1946
Tex Ritter and The Dinning Sisters August 1948
Marty Robbins September 1959
Eddy Arnold August 6, 1963
Tom Jones March 24, 1967
Johnny Nash March 1969
Wylie & The Wild West 1996
Cow Bop 2011
A Little Farther West January 6, 2017

 

DJ O.J Sikes

Western Music Time





Bob Nolan – Cool Water 
All day I’ve faced the barren waste
With out the taste of water… cool, water
Ole Dan and I, with throats burned dry
And souls that cry
For water… cool, clear water

The nights are cool and I’m a fool
Each star’s a pool of water… cool, clear water
And with the dawn I’ll wake and yawn
And carry on
To water… cool, clear water

The shadows sway and seem to say
Tonight we pray for water…. cool, clear water
And way up there He’ll hear our prayer
[Lyrics from: https:/lyrics.az/bob-nolan/-/cool-water.html]
And show us where
There’s water… cool, clear water

Keep a-movin’ Dan. Don’t you listen to him Dan
He’s the devil, not a man
He spreads the burnin’ sand with water
Say Dan can’t you see that big green tree
Where the water’s runnin’ free
It’s waiting there for you and me
And water…. cool, clear water

Dan’s feet are sore he’s yearnin’ for
Just one thing more than water…. cool, clear water
Like me I guess he’d like to rest
Where there’s no quest
For water… cool, clear water

cool water sons of the pioneers
cool water sons of the pioneers