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Spirit & Heritage In Song – ‘Cool Water’ – 1936

 

Spirit & Heritage In Song is a series highlighting Traditional American Music.

In the last half century many of these traditional songs have been forgotten in the crush of contemporary music and international cultural influences. Yet these songs, ballads, melodies and hymns reflect the events, cultural backgrounds, aspirations, land and faith that make up the soul of the American People far more than the strains of moderne music that have washed upon the nation’s shores. This series is offered as a reminder of the Spirit of America as given voice in music.

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Bob Nolan


Cool Water

A “western” song popular in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s reflecting America’s love of the West, wide-open natural spaces, adventure and romantic ideals of the cowboy way of life.

“Cool Water” is a song written in 1936 by Bob Nolan. It is about a man and his mule, Dan, and a mirage in the desert.

The best-selling recorded version was done by Vaughn Monroe and The Sons of the Pioneers in 1948. The recording was released by RCA Victor Records. The record was on the Billboard magazine chart for 13 weeks beginning on August 6, 1948, peaking at #9.

Hank Williams recorded the song in 1948 or 1949 for the Johnny Fair Syrup Company radio show on KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana. The recording is available on The Complete Hank Williams boxed set, released on Mercury Records in 1998. It also appears in the film Rango, set in an Old West town populated by animals that is suffering from drought. Every Wednesday, the townspeople perform a ritual they believe will return water to their town, during which the song plays over a PA system. Wikipedia

 

Leonard Slye, aka Roy Rogers

The year 1936. Britain’s King George V passes away, the Winter Olympics are held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany and the Summer Olympics in Berlin, the Imperial Way Faction coup in Japan fails, the Hoover Dam is completed, Italy annexes Ethiopia, Gone with the Wind is first published, a major heat wave strikes North America and thousands die, Max Schmeling knocks out Joe Louis in the 12 round of their heavyweight boxing match, the Spanish Civil War begins, the last public execution in the U.S. is held in Kentucky, Franklin Roosevelt attends the dedication of Thomas Jefferson’s head at Mt. Rushmore, the Rome-Berlin Axis is formed, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is opened, Hitler makes it mandatory that boys 10-18 join the Hitler Youth, King Edward VIII abdicates the throne of England, five million die in the West China Famine, and Polaroid sunglasses are first marketd.

 
 

Various renditions of the song.

 


Hank Williams – Cool Water



 


Frankie Laine – “Cool Water”



 


Sons Of The Pioneers – Cool Clear Water – Vintage 78rpm Gramophone



 


See other songs of the American Spirit in History and at Music

 

Lyrics

All day I’ve faced a barren waste
Without the taste of water, cool water
Old Dan and I with throats burned dry
And souls that cry for water
Cool, clear, water

Keep a-movin, Dan, dontcha listen to him, Dan
He’s a devil, not a man
He spreads the burning sand with water
Dan, can ya see that big, green tree?
Where the water’s runnin’ free
And it’s waitin’ there for me and you?

The nights are cool and I’m a fool
Each star’s a pool of water
Cool water
But with the dawn I’ll wake and yawn
And carry on to water
Water, water, water

Keep a-movin, Dan, dontcha listen to him, Dan
He’s a devil, not a man
He spreads the burning sand with water
Dan, can ya see that big, green tree?
Where the water’s runnin’ free
And it’s waitin’ there for me and you?

Cool, clear, water
Cool, clear, water

 
 
 

Plow & Hearth

 

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