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The Touch of God's Hand

(Bob Nolan)


The prairie sun sends down its ray
To warm my heart through every day,
The starlight beam that guides my way
Is just the touch of Godís hand.
The scattered pearls of morning dew,
The rainbow mists on hills of blue,
The silver veil of moonbeams, too,
Is just the touch of Godís hand.

The desert breeze that brushed my hair,
The leaf that fell from who knows where,
The scent of wild flowírs in the air
Is just the touch of Godís hand.
The wasteland call that fills the sky,
The hum of wild wings sailiní by,
The warm earth bed on which I lie
Is just the touch of Godís hand.

The desert yields a water pool
Where wild things meet, their thirst to cool,
And Iím a carefree, happy fool,
I know the touch of Godís hand.
The rain that falls I love so dear,
And joy is mine just liviní here,
I know He must be standiní near,
Iíve felt the touch of Godís hand.

        Bob said he wrote these verses in 1930 before the Sons of the Pioneers were formed; before he joined any group. (p. 6, Tumbleweed Topics Vol. 1 No. 10) It was not written for radio or a movie. Because it was not included in the 1934 Standard Radio Transcriptions, it leads us to believe that Bob had not yet written music for it. The song was registered for copyright on March 3, 1936. The Sons of the Pioneers recorded it for ARC in 1937 and the sheet music was published in their third songbook, "Songs of the Prairie Folio No. 3" 1937 by Cross and Winge.

       As he so often does, Douglas B. Green says it best: "Bob Nolan had a strong spiritual side, and it expressed itself again and again in his portraits of the west as a holy place. Of the many spiritual cowboy songs he wrote, THE MYSTERY OF HIS WAY, LORD YOU MADE THE COWBOY HAPPY, HE WALKS WITH THE WILD AND THE LONELY, among others as great, THE TOUCH OF GODíS HAND is as fine an expression of the cowboy finding Godís grace in the wild and woolly west as has been written. Legend has it that Nolan wrote it on cocktail napkins in a tavern Ė inspiration, any songwriter will tell you, is where you find it Ė but whether this is fact or folklore, this song remains one of the most beautiful and expressive of his canon."

        It was also an exquisite portrait of the desert he loved, painted with words on the canvas of his heart.



1937 12 16 ARC

1937 Col unissued

1940 Orthacoustic "Symphonies of the Sage"

1947 RCA Victor

c. 1955 Smokey the Bear radio transcription

1978 Elektra

Rex Allen

Ken Curtis

Jimmy Wakely (1949)


Bob's first view of the desert, in his own words.


Chords courtesy of Carlos Fiorelli

 TRANSCRIPTIONS with "The Touch of God's Hand"


Typed copy of the lyrics from the repertoire box.

LEAD SHEET: courtesy Jeff Conroy of Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, © 1936 by AMERICAN MUSIC, INC.


Songs of the Prairie Folio No. 3


Dean L Simmons Recordings

Rare mono 78 RPM Metal Acetate made special for Mary Lewis Jan. 22, 1947


Chords courtesy of Carlos Fiorelli



Orthacoustic "Symphonies of the Sage"(059460)

Teleways Transcriptions: #81 and 204

Lucky U Radio broadcasts courtesy of Larry Hopper:

12 December 1951. Transcription Disc TR-141, 142
9 January 1952. Transcription Disc TR-182, 183
10 January 1952. Transcription Disc TR-186, 187
18 August 1952. Transcription Disc TR-479, 480
11 December 1952. Transcription Disc TR-599, 600
16 April 1953. Lucky U Transcription Disc TR-782, 783


Smokey the Bear 1956: Show #2

                          1958: Show #2