Cool water

“Cool Water,” a classic western song, was written in 1936 by Bob Nolan (1908-1980), a Canadian transplant to Arizona, who fell in love with the desert.  Nolan, an actor, poet, singer, and songwriter also wrote “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds,” and is credited with the creation of “western music” as a distinct genre.

Bob Nolan in "The Lights of Old Santa Fe," 1944

Bob Nolan in “The Lights of Old Santa Fe,” 1944

“Cool Water” tells of a man and his mule, lost in the desert and beset with mirages.  The song has been widely covered by artists as diverse as Hank Williams, Marty Robbins, Joni Mitchell, Burl Ives, Johnny Cash, The Muppets, and Fleetwood Mac.

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

The song came to mind for obvious reasons last week:  Gov. Brown to declare California drought emergency.  Nobody here needs the newspaper to tell us we’re in trouble.  A glance at the brown lawns in January, and the American River, running lower than I’ve ever seen it at this time of year will do that.

My thoughts have been filled with many songs, stories, and images of water that I will be sharing here.  I was planning on writing a longer post today, but I never got past this clip of Marty Robbins’ version of “Cool Water.”

I first heard the song on my absolute favorite album as a kid, Robbins’ Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs.  Even though he’s kidding around with his friends (I think it’s a clip from “Hee Haw”), if you listen, it sounds like a prayer.  I think I’ll leave it at that for today.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Music, News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Cool water

  1. Rosi says:

    Oh, gosh, I haven’t heard that song in years. One of my all time favorites. I think we will all be singing it this year. 8-{

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s