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Shadow on the Wall

(Bob Nolan)

 

Id been walking through the darkness,
Id been lost beyond recall
And Id never seen my shadow on the wall
Till I saw the Great Light shining
On the glory road ahead.
Then I turned and saw my shadow on the wall.

Refrain:
Let me walk in the light of the Lord
And my shadow will walk with me.
Let me follow the light of the Lord.
There my shadow will surely be
And the closer that I come to Him
The larger be my shadow on the wall.

In the greatness of my shadow
Is the greatness of my Lord
For tis He who makes my shadow grow so tall,
Makes my soul rejoice with gladness
And my heart to swell with pride
For His light has cast my shadow on the wall.

In the sunburst of the dawning,
In the moonbeams silver glow,
In the sudden flash of lightning He may call.
Let me then be standing straighter
Than Ive ever stood before
And Hell know me by my shadow on the wall.

 

 

        One of Bob Nolan's later songs, "Shadow on the Wall" was not registered for copyright until September 24 1985, five years after his death, when Bob's daughter discovered his home demo acetate. Bob Nolan sang and whistled, accompanied only by his little Gibson guitar. He had an old home recording machine and he made his own wax demo 78s on it. Many years later, his grandson rented a record player and transferred the old demos to tape with indifferent success. The words above were transcribed from this tape. We were unable to find sheet music or even lead sheets and the song was never commercially recorded.

        Unfortunately, perhaps ninety per cent of Bob Nolan's song lyrics were destroyed in a garage fire. For years, Bob had kept letters, photos, scraps of paper on which he had written lyrics and mementos of his career, etc,  in what he called his "treasure chest". He told his friends, "I'm keeping everything for my grandson." After both Bob and his wife died, his daughter confessed to Elizabeth that she had "cleaned house" and threw out much of what her father had collected. "If I'd known that anybody at all would have been interested, I'd have saved it. Western music was a thing of the past and I had no idea that anyone would remember him." Well, they do, Bobbie. They do.

        "Often there were a lot of people around the house and P-Nuts would cook for everybody. Bob would sit there and think and, apparently, if he thought about something he wanted to work on, he'd take a chair, go out into the yard and sit in the corner, facing the corner of the yard. It was a silent admonition, "Don't disturb me right now." He'd do that when the house was full of people!" (Bob Nolan's daughter, Roberta Nolan Mileusnich)
        Although Bob Nolan admitted he was repulsed [his word] by organized religion, he did write a number of songs in that vein. His own personal belief was that God is Nature. He said he attempted to put his philosophy into words in one of his last songs, "The Relative Man".

 

Recording