The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #637   Message #46314
Posted By: Roger in Baltimore
20-Nov-98 - 10:26 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Desert Pete (Billy Edd Wheeler)
Subject: Lyr Add: DESERT PETE (Billy Edd Wheeler)
Dear Ewills,

I found these lyrics at Lyric World. A good site for "Top 40" lyrics. You can reach them at

Artist: The Kingston Trio (peak Billboard position # 33 in 1963)
Words and Music by Billy Edd Wheeler

I was travelin' west of Buckskin on my way to a cattle run
'Cross a little cactus desert under a hot blisterin' sun.
I was thirsty down to my toenails, stopped to rest me on a stump,
But I tell ya I just couldn't believe it when I saw that water pump.

I took it to be a mirage at first; it'll fool a thirsty man;
Then I saw a note stuck in a bakin' powder can:
"This pump is old", the note began, "but she works, so give 'er a try.
I put a new sucker washer in 'er. You may find the leather dry."

"You've got to prime the pump, you must have faith and believe.
You've got to give of yourself 'fore you're worthy to receive.
Drink all the water you can hold. Wash your face. Cool your feet.
Leave the bottle full for others. Thank you kindly. Desert Pete."

"Yeah, you'll have to prime the pump, work that handle like there's a fire.
Under that rock you'll find some water I left in a bitters jar.
Now there's just enough to prime it with, so dontcha go drinkin' first.
You just pour it in and pump like mad. Buddy, you'll quench your thirst."

Well I found that jar and I tell ya, nothin' was ever prettier to my eye,
And I was tempted strong to drink it, 'cause that pump looked mighty dry.
But the note went on: "Have faith, my friend. There's water down below.
You got to give until you get. I'm the one who ought to know."

So I poured in the jar and I started pumpin' and I heard a beautiful sound
Of water bubblin' and splashin' up outta that hole in the ground.
I took off my shoes and I drunk my fill of that cool refreshing treat.
I thank the Lord and thank the pump and I thank old Desert Pete.


Transcribed by Ronald E. Hontz

Even in 1963 I knew this wasn't a folk song (and I was easily fooled back then).

Enjoy the song.

Roger in Baltimore