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My Love's a Voice in the Green Willow Tree

(Bob Nolan) 

 

My love’s a voice in the green willow tree.

I sing to her and she sings to me.

Sweet are the words like a whispering sea,

Soft on the leaves of the green willow tree.

Lovers may part and be lost evermore.

My love’s a constancy I adore.
I hear the voice in the green willow tree.

I hear the promise she made to me.

Wait for me, darling, and someday you’ll see

I’ll come to you and the green willow tree.

 

 

        "My Love's a Voice in the Green Willow Tree" is from Bob's later years. He worked harder than ever polishing his verse but there was no market for most of his romantic songs. This one was fortunately saved from a home made 78 rpm recording machine, copied onto tape by Calin for his mother (Bob's daughter). They found no sheet music, lyric sheet or written verses; just Bob and his little Martin guitar.

        Bob had an old home recording machine and he made his own wax demos on it. Many years later, his grandson rented a record player and transferred the old demos to tape. “I remember years ago, soon after Bob died, that my mom went down to see P-Nuts and brought back a box of old 78s. These records were one-time studio recordings of songs that he wrote and never were recorded [commercially]. But we went out and got a 78 record player, needles - which were hard to find - and hooked it up to a cassette recorder and recorded all the records. As you can imagine the quality was very poor. A little curl of wax built up before the needle so the sound was virtually destroyed.” (Calin Coburn, July 2, 2000)

        Who was this woman he always was writing about in his love songs? Many of Bob's fans have searched for clues but perhaps his grandson is right -

“I must also wonder where his music and lyrics came from at such an early stage in his life. Who was that love he longed for all those years? Or was it, as I've always thought, a search for a true love that he never ever found? I have a theory, though. He may have started to write about the love of a particular woman – maybe Pearl, maybe someone else before her or someone after her - his first love. But, as the years went by, he wrote about the love that he once felt; the desire to have that first love still in his life. That sort of love never comes twice in anyone’s heart, a love that is so clear and clean of all life’s trials and tribulations. In those younger years there are no responsibilities. Money isn’t factored into life yet. You are immersed in nothing but youth and love. That feeling and yearning after long years becomes an entity of its own. So, maybe there was no one woman he was writing about, rather a feeling that he had once experienced in his youth. And in his songs that feeling lives on.” (Calin Coburn, Bob Nolan's grandson)