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COOL WATER (recording dates, etc, courtesy of Ian Sparrow)


His brother, Earl, said that Bob Nolan had written Cool Water as a poem in the tenth grade in high school in Tucson. Although "Cool Water" was the title, he was writing about lack of water, a mirage and a hopeless thirst. The song is still being recorded today because of its universal appeal to the senses. The lyrics are timeless. (By the way, Bob in Teleways Transcription #71, said Dan was a burro.)


Shaded boxes signify where the song was recorded incorrectly - as far as Bob's original composition goes.



Rex Allen Sr. (live)

Rex Allen Jr.

The Ames Brothers

The Andrews Sisters

The Arbuckle Boys

Eddy Arnold

Eddy Arnold


Bob Atcher & Bonnie Blue Eyes

Gene Autry

Moe Bandy

Andy Baron

Arizona Johnson

Bill Barwick

Billy May Orch. with B. Morse (instrumental)

Bar D Wranglers

Bar J Wranglers

Curtis Biever

Bill Black's Combo


Johnny Bond

Booher Brothers


Booth Brothers The Boston Pops Orchestra (instr)

Brazos West

The Bunkhouse


Hi Busse


Walter Brennan

Teresa Brewer

Marsha Britton

The Browns


The Bunkhouse Trio



Cactus Pryor

CM Riders

Ken Carson

Johnny Cash

Dec. 5, 1956


Bryan Chalker

Judy Coder & Pride of the Prairie

  Lee Conway

Jason "Buck" Corbett


Country Gentlemen

Cow Bop

Cowboy Envy

Coyote Creek

Floyd Cramer


Bing Crosby & Andrews Sisters

Ken Curtis

Dale & Grace

Daughters of the Purple Sage

David John & The Comstock Cowboys

Denver Darling

Gene Davenport




Cliff Deegan &

His Western Riders

Diamonds Don Edwards


Desert Bloom (1986 film)

The Down Homers

Craig Duncan


Bob Dylan

Mike Ecstein

Ramblin' Jack Elliott
Paula Erlene


Ranch Gals

John Farnham

Shug Fisher

Rich Flanders

Fleetwood Mac

The Flying W


Foggy River Boys

Dick Foran

The Gatlin Brothers

The Four Tunes

Igor Glenn

Dick Goodman

& The Westernaires

Lorne Greene

Monte Hale

Art Greenhaw &

Light Crust Doughboys

Wilbert Harrison

Hawking Brothers

Jim Hendricks


Jim Hendricks


Peter Hill


Frank Ifield

Burl Ives

Roy Jackson

& his Northwesterners

Cliff Japhet

 Henrik Johansen's Jazzband (instr)

Tom Jones

Patti Labelle & the Bluebells

Frankie Laine (1)

Frankie Laine (2)

Sleepy LeBeef

A Little Farther West




Guy Lombardo     The Longines Symphonette Ron Lloyd Nellie Lutcher Keith Manifold

Dan McCorison

Grady Martin


George Melachrino


The Mills Brothers

Joni Mitchell - Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson & Don Cherry

Vaughn Monroe

Patsy Montana

Johnny Nash

The New Pioneers

Bob Nolan 1953 RCA

Bob Nolan 1976 & Marty Robbins

Bob Nolan 1978 Elektra

The Norman Luboff Choir


Ojai Valley Boys

Dave Pell Octet


Jim Owen

Pals of the Golden West

Cactus Pryor

The Rangers


Johnny Ray

Red River Dave & Sula's Texas Rangers

The Replacements

The Rhythm Pals

The Rhythm Wranglers

Riders in the Sky

Tex Ritter & Stan Kenton

Tex Ritter & the Dinning Sisters

Marty Robbins

Marty Robbins at the Fremont

Jimmie Rodgers

Jimmie Rodgers (2)

Roy Rogers & Dale Evans

Roy Rogers

The Open Spaces




Rusty Richards

American Cowboys

Tapio Rautavaara

The Rooftop Singers

The Saloon Drifters

Jack Scott

Dinah Shore

& Rusty Richards

Side by Side

 John Sidle

(Trails West 

Jon Smith




  Hank Snow

The Sons

of the Purple Sage

The Sons of the San Joaquin

Sons of the San Joaquin & Daffy Duck

Sourdough Slim

Cliffie Stone

Sunshine Girls (with Cliffie Stone's Harmony Homesteaders)


Tex Travers

Randy Travis

& Roy  Rogers

Marilyn & Wes Tuttle (1)

Marilyn & Wes Tuttle (2)

Billy Vaughn


Viva Las Vegas

The Wagonmasters

Jimmy Wakely

  Ozzie Waters (transcription) 

Ozzie Waters

The White Sands Panhandle Band

Slim Whitman

Hank Williams

Hank Williams (2)

Tex Williams

 Foy Willing (1)

Foy Willing (2)

Foy Willing (3)

Foy Willing - Lang Worth

Willis Brothers

Bob Wills & his Texas Playboys

 Kai Winding



and The Wild West


















1936 Standard transcriptions

1938 with the Stafford Sisters

1940 Orthacoustic Transcription

1942 Roy Rogers program

1943 10-2-4 Ranch

1945 Along the Navajo Trail

1945 RCA


1947 c Teleways audition

1951 Lucky U radio

1952 Lucky U radio

1950s Smokey the Bear radio




1959 RCA


1960s Roy Rogers TV

1972 Reunion



1976 Hollywood

Walk of Fame

  July 27, 1980 with Rome Johnson

1983 Silver Spur


1989 Sing & Swing

1994 - 60th Anniversary

1999 My Best to You



75th Anniversary







Bob's Original Composition

When Cool Water was first published back in the 1930’s, the publisher had taken it upon himself to change a lyric line. This exasperated Bob at the time. He’d originally written it as a poem and had set it to music years later. Bob said, “You know, I made the publisher pull all the remaining copies off the market until he fixed the problem”. He explained, “The lyrics go:


Dan, can you see

That big green tree

Where the water’s running free

And it’s waiting there for me

And you.”


Bob continued, “And you is just a little addition. It’s not supposed to rhyme with anything. The publisher took it upon himself to change it from me and you to you and me and I was very upset about it. Unfortunately, before we could pull the sheet music off the market, a lot of it had been sold and, as the years went by, people like Rex Allen and Marty Robbins and a few others recorded it with those lyrics reversed.” Then he smiled, “However, as the royalties came rolling in, I became more tolerant.” (Bob Nolan to Dick Goodman. Note: Rex Allen did not record the song commercially but he sang it often on his radio programs and in live performances.)


We are greatly indebted to Roberto Costa (Brazil) for most of the recordings, to Larry Hopper (NJ) for isolating the recordings that used Bob Nolan's original chorus. Thanks also to OJ Sikes (New Jersey), Anne & Peter Greb (Germany), Michelle Sundin (Texas), Bob Serkey (NJ), John Fullerton (MO), Dick Goodman (AZ), Ian Sparrow (UK), Dan Vena and countless fans for sending us so many examples of Cool Water. Thanks, too, to all the artists who generously allowed us to use their recordings. A special thanks to OJ and Roberto for spending all those hours cleaning old tracks for us.