To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
6 messages

Lyr Req: Kern River (Merle Haggard)

02 Feb 05 - 05:42 PM (#1397136)
Subject: Lyr Req: Don't Go Swimming in Kern River
From: Joe Offer

In the Haunted Falls/Haunted Wood thread, Michael Morris used the phrase, "Don't go swimming in the Kern River." Seems to me there's a song about that, with that either as the title or as a pertinent phrase. I searched Mudcat and Google, but couldn't find it. Anybody know of the song and its lyrics, or am I all wet?
I think maybe it was written by Jim Ringer or Buck Owens or Marle Haggard, but that's a wild guess.

The Kern River is a wild and beautiful river that runs from Lake Isabella in the southern Sierra Nevada, through a narrow canyon to the southern part of the Central Valley of California. It's a slow, meandering stream by the time it hits Bakersfield, and then I don't know where it goes.

As you drive up the highway into Kern river Canyon, there's a huge sign that warns you how many people have died in that river. It's beautiful, but deadly. And if the water doesn't get you, the rattlesnakes may.

So, anybody know the song?

-Joe Offer-

02 Feb 05 - 05:47 PM (#1397142)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Don't Go Swimming in Kern River
From: Amos

Some photos of the Kern.

Still looking. It goes down through a canyon into the Kern River Valley and past Bakersfield still in a sort of canyon.


02 Feb 05 - 05:48 PM (#1397143)
Subject: ADDPOP: Kern River
From: Joe Offer

Aw, it was too easy. I should have checked Cowpie first.
-Joe Offer-

Kern River
Merle Haggard


    D                      A
I'll never swim Kern River again.
It was there that I met her.
A                               E      E7
It was there that I lost my best friend.
And now I live in the mountains.
C#m                      D
I drifted up here with the wind.
And I may drown in still water,
         E                      A
But I'll never swim Kern River again.

I grew up in an oil town,
       D                A
But my gusher never came in.
And the river was a boundary
A                               E    (E7) E9
Where my darlin' and I used to swim.

One night in the moonlight
D                              A
The swiftness swept her life away.
And now I live on Lake Shasta and
A    E                      A
Lake Shasta is where I will stay.


There's the South San Joaquin,
          D                         A
Where the seeds of the dust bowl are found.
And there's a place called Mount Whitney
A                                     E   (E7) E9
From where the mighty Kern River comes down.
Well, it's not deep nor wide,
A          D                      A
But it's a mean piece of water my friend.
And I may pass on the highway,
         E                     A
But I'll never swim Kern River again


02 Feb 05 - 05:50 PM (#1397147)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Don't Go Swimming in Kern River
From: Joe Offer

Yeah, I suppose you could say it's a canyon at Bakersfield, but it has gradual slopes and the river is a mere trickle there. It sure is wicked when the river is at flood stage, though. The river divides the reasonably-civilized city of Bakersfield from Oildale, a rough-and-tumble place where the oil workers would get drunk and get arrested. I wonder if that's the part of the river he's talking about, the place where it divides the rich from the poor.
Oh, last time I was in Oildale was maybe ten years ago. Buck Owens still had his recording studio in an old movie house there.
-Joe Offer-

02 Feb 05 - 05:56 PM (#1397150)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Don't Go Swimming in Kern River
From: Amos

Below Bakersfield there's a diversionary dam, I have read, and I think at that point it is no longer a river except in flood emergencies...

but I am guessing here.


02 Feb 05 - 06:06 PM (#1397158)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Don't Go Swimming in Kern River
From: MartinRyan

How old is the song?