Cool Water (song)

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"Cool Water"
Songwriter(s)Bob Nolan

"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. Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as No. 3 on the Top 100 Western songs of all time.[1]

Original version[edit]

It was first recorded by The Sons of the Pioneers on March 27, 1941 for Decca Records (catalog 5939)[2] and this briefly charted in 1941 with a peak position of No.25.[3] However, 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 as catalog number 20-2923. The record was on the Billboard chart for 13 weeks beginning on August 6, 1948, peaking at No. 9. The Sons of the Pioneers also recorded the song without Monroe, again for RCA Victor. [4]

Film appearances[edit]

Other artists[edit]

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.

Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters recorded the song on September 5, 1952 with Matty Matlock and His Orchestra.[5]

Frankie Laine and The Mellomen took it to No. 2 on the British charts in 1955.

Marty Robbins recorded the song on his 1959 album Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs.

Burl Ives recorded this song on his 1961 album Songs of the West.

Odetta recorded the song in 1963 on her One Grain of Sand album.

The Rooftop Singers recorded the song in 1963 on their Grammy nominated Walk Right In album.

Tom Jones included a version on his 1967 album Green, Green Grass of Home.

Other covers of the song were done by Riders in the Sky, Jack Scott, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Slim Whitman, Lorne Greene, Johnnie Ray, Mason Williams, Johnny Cash, Leo Kottke and Joni Mitchell among others.


Frankie Laine version
Chart (1955) Peak
United Kingdom (NME) 2[6]
United Kingdom (Record Mirror) 1[7]


  1. ^ Western Writers of America (2010). "The Top 100 Western Songs". American Cowboy. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014.
  2. ^ "The Online Discographical Project". Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 400. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research.
  5. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  6. ^ "Artist Chart History Details: Frankie Laine". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
  7. ^ McAleer, Dave. "Every No.1 in the 1960s is listed from all the nine different magazine charts!". Dave McAleer's website. Archived from the original on 10 May 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2010.


External links[edit]