Pouring Water On A Drowning Man – Otis Clay | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: *Did Not Chart; 1970

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Born in Rosedale, Mississippi in 1942, Otis Clay had a few years of gospel singing under his belt by the time his family settled in Chicago 15 years later. Over the next few years, Clay vocalized with a number of sacred groups. He recorded some sides for Okeh Records in 1962, none of which were released. That event occurred the following year as a member for the Gospel Songbirds. A stint with the legendary Sensational Nightingales came next, however, the era of gospel groups was waning, and Otis soon switched to the secular side of the street. Several sides into his new venture, the label’s owner died suddenly of a heart attack in 1966. Clay notched up a couple of minor R&B charters before his label went belly up in 1968. His next stop was Cotillion where he burned his way through a cover of the Sir Douglas Quintet’s She’s About A Mover. His next-to-last single for Cotillion was a cover of James Carr’s #23 R&B hit from 1966: Pouring Water On A Drowning Man.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Sly Johnson

Lyrics Written by:

  • Drew Baker
  • Danny McCormick