COOL WATER - chords, tab and comments
This is the second song I picked up when my parents finally forgot about me playing my maternal grandfather's violin (it was a Stradivarius Cremonensis, and he was first violinist for the The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra until his death, though his trade was being a painter), and gave me a guitar. My mother demanded me to fix that song: she'd once heard it with her favorite singer Harry Belafonte. Hmmm, she must have been dreaming; Belafonte has never recorded this song. But hundreds have done that, and I first got it with the LP "Twilight on the Trail"(Roulette 1959) by Jimmie Rodgers - the pop singer, not the country legend.
Robert Clarence Nobles(1908–1980) wrote this as a poem when he was a high school student in Tucson, Arizona. He later took the artist name Bob Nolan, and became a founding member of "Sons of the Pioneers", which recorded all his songs as well as other common western standards. The trademark of this group was vocal harmonies and exciting arrangements. Nolan was not a "songwriter", he was a "composer".
Legacy: the song was first recorded on June 13th 1940 by Bob Atcher, then Sons of the Pioneers in April 1941. Many artists have "improved" Nolan's finishing line of the refrain to make a "better" rhyme ("you and meeee"), which is a disrespect. And old Dan is not a flippin' horse nor mule. He's a donkey. According to Nolan himself: a "burr"!
all day I face the barren waste
A E E7 A ...A7
without the taste of water cool water
old Dan and I with throats burned dry
A D A E E7 A
and souls that cry for water cool clear water
keep a-movin' Dan don't ya listen to him Dan
A E A ...A7
he's a devil of a man and he spreads the burning sand with water
Dan can you see that big green tree?
where the water's running free
and it's waiting there for me and you