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Over the years fans of Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers have created poems about them. Some have written poetry honouring Bob Nolan exclusively and some just mention him in passing. Others have sketched him. This page is reserved for all we have been sent. If you have a poem or a sketch about Bob and/or the Pioneers that you would like to appear on this page, please contact us.



William G. Bowen

LaVida Dalugge Brickner

Bob Serkey



The Birth of the Pioneers (Martha Retsch)

Bob Nolan (Billy Beeman)

Bob Nolan (David V. Ford)

Desert Dream (Dale Arnsberger)

For Bob Nolan (Robyn Craft)

Hats off to the Pioneers ("Tex")

Meet the Sons of the Pioneers (Herb Weil)

Quietly Canadian (Mike Puhalo)

The Show (Beula Garland)

The Sons of the Pioneers (Dorothy Andrews)

The Sons of the Pioneers (Betty Jean McCullough)

Sons of the Pioneers (Faye Flanagan)

Sons of the Pioneers (Jean Moir)

10-2-3 Show (Louis Tobin)

Those Sons (June Schmude)

To Bob Nolan (Jean Moir)

To the Sons of the Pioneers (Ruth Danekas)

To the Sons of the Pioneers (Buddy Massey)



Little Cowboy (Brian Bergquist) listen

Storybook Cowboy (Rudy Sooter) listen

Song for Bob Nolan (Ray Kraft)



The background music you hear as you read these poems, "Storybook Cowboy", may be the first song written about Bob. Rudy Sooter refers to the days in the early 1930s when they worked together and Nolan was still a lifeguard at Santa Monica, writing poetry in his spare time.


Storybook Cowboy

(by Rudy Sooter about Bob Nolan)


I went to a round-up away out West where they round up the cows, you know.

I told the boss Id do my best so he says Go to work, by Joe."

He says, Well saddle a horse for you, were glad youre here and so

I hit the saddle like the cowboys do and what happened I never did know.


Im a storybook cowboy from down on the beach

I write about cowboys and such

Id like to know how to bulldog a cow

Cause I think a bronc is too much.


But I woke up somehow, at last, and I never did understand

Why both my hands were full of grass and my ears were plum full of sand.

The boss walked up and he looked at me. He smiled and crossly said,

Youre the best thats tried that horse, says he, All the rest of them now are dead.


Im a storybook cowboy from down on the beach

I write about cowboys and such

Id like to know how to bulldog a cow

Cause I think a bronc is too much.


Now I didnt give up like you thought I would; Im workin for the same old boss.

After 14 years, my courage got good and yesterday I rode that hoss.


Im a storybook cowboy from down on the beach

Now I like broncos the best.

Ive learned how its done so Ive bought me a gun

And I think Ill stay out in the West.



Little Cowboy

(by Brian Levi Bergquist 2012)


Little Cowboy, leavin' on a train
Always wishin',..But never thinkin'
That you'd be back home again...
Little Cowboy, leavin' on a train
Tumbleweeds rollin' 'long the track
Driftin' by the prairie grain....
Lonesome journeys, Cool Water refrains
Little Cowboy, Tumblin' Tumbleweed
...You're back home again.

We all know,
..How lonesome pines
For you, how landscapes became your home
Tumbleweeds and Cactus trees
Became your writing tome...
Words flowed free..by the big green tree
For the lonesome lad of the tumbleweed
...Poet Laureate of The West
Cool Water legacy.

You grew up,
..A cowboy on the silver screen
On stage, part of The Sons of The Pioneers
A great word herder on the writing scene
All, to public and private cheers...
A man of few words, most left on the page
For the lonesome lad of the tumbleweed
The Cool Water Cowboy
The Western Landscape Sage.

Little Cowboy, leavin' on a train
Always wishin',...But never thinkin'
That you'd be back home again...
Little Cowboy, leavin' on a train
Tumbleweeds rollin' 'long the track
Driftin' by the prairie grain..
Lonesome journeys, Cool water refrains
Little Cowboy, Tumblin' Tumbleweed
...You're back home again
..Little Cowboy, Little Cowboy, Little Cowboy


Bob Nolan

(Billy Beeman, 1993)


From the palette of your lyrics

Your music fills the canvas of my mind.

I listen and the majesty and mystery of nature I behold.

The beauty of the moment is suspended now forever in your lines

From beyond reality

In Heaven's master gallery,

Your masterpiece will touch a kindred soul.



Bob Nolan

(David V. Ford)


Along the purple hills

Where the "Cool Water" flows

When it's "Twilight on the Trail"

And the sun is hanging low.


You can hear the coyotes howling

In the wind just like a song

And feel a strange presence

As you slowly ride along.


Then suddenly it occurs to you

That everything you see

Comes to you in song

From within your memories.


From the days of your childhood

When the western was still king

And you'd listen to the Pioneers

And the songs that they would sing.


Those songs were written by a man

Who really knew the land

And wrote his feelings down in verse

So that we all could understand.


Folks might forget his name

But they'll never forget his songs

Whenever they hear "Cool Water"

They'll be sure to sing along.


Whenever they see an angry bronc

They'll think of "Skyball Paint"

And how he used to buck and kick

He was a Devil's saint.


When they see a "Tumbling Tumbleweed"

Going across the desert floor

They'll think of Bob Nolan

And he'll live forever more.




For Bob Nolan

 (Robyn "Cowgirl" Craft)


He rides high on his mighty steed
So tall and strong as all heroes seem
He is a master at words and each time he speaks
I stop and listen, holding on with each heartbeat
I close my eyes, see his face and hear his voice
Oh how he sings straight through to my heart and soul
He'll forever be my hero, this rugged cowboy
It's been a long time since he road into the desert
But each day at dusk I feel the breeze of his presence
My eyes are steady, searching the horizon
I see the silhouette of a man riding like the wind across the sand
I find myself always looking westward
For my hero, I know, he's still riding through the desert
When a cowboy is your hero, you know he never dies
He simply rides into the sunset whenever it's his time
So I'll keep my eyes on the horizon, hoping for a glance
Of my hero cowboy riding across the sand
Tall and strong he rides upon his steed
Singing about Cool Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds


Desert Dream

 (Dale Arnsberger)


Down the trail of yesterday rode the Pioneers

Their saddle leathers were creakin'

They hadn't been soaped for years

Bob turned in his saddle, smiled a bit and beckoned to his pals

"Let's sing some songs for this old fan

"To shorten up the miles."

Their ghostly laughter stirred the dust of happy bygone days

Hugh tuned his fiddle and the sky lit up

As the sun sent down its rays

Karl's taut strings on his old guitar vibrated to the touch of his hand

Lloyd and Tim started tunin' it up --

Their hummin' sounded grand

And ol' Pat Brady was beatin' the bass

his fingers nimble and fast

I was in for a treat, Pioneer friends, a treat from out of the past!

They harmonized on "Tumbleweed Trail" as I just sat there and listened

Lloyd sang then of a "Still Water Pool" and tears from my eyes started to glisten

I sat transfixed, my feelings mixed

"Twas like an answer to a prayer

The clouds whirled around with a rich yodeling sound

As they sang Bob's "Way Out There".

I wiped my eyes and did my best the flowing tears to hide

But the boys were no help as they broke into

The words of "One More Ride'

Bob's voice rang out with a ghostly shout

"Let's hit the saddle and go!"

They rode away at the close of day in the sunset's afterglow

They headed West and that was best because they belong up there

The whispering beat of their horses' feet

Disappeared like the end of a prayer

I stood up then and looked around at the scene so lonely and still

Where a few minutes ago -- or was it so?

The boys gave my heart such a thrill.

The guys were gone, plumb disappeared

I realized this with a start

And I'll tell you, friends,

Their going away left "Teardrops in my Heart".




Ray Kraft recalls, "Driving across the Mojave one night, great white owl flew across just in front of my windshield, the moon was full and the desert blue, and I composed this "Song for Bob Nolan."



Ray Kraft


Blue moon

on the Mojave

autumn chill

in the air

white owl

wingin' so softly

I feel

your spirit there


Timber sighs

in the Sierra

summer storm

in the sky

rainbow rim

over the meadow

I see

you passin' by


They say, when a man

rides his last long trail

over the hills

to the West

that his heart

will roam eternity

in the places he

loves the best


In the voice

of the prairie

in the hush

of the snow

in the song

of the campfire

I hear

you singin' low


I hear you

singin' low.



Their fans and the staff of the Sons of the Pioneers' fanzine, Tumbleweed Topics, added their bits of doggerel and rhyme:


Meet the Sons of the Pioneers


Tim Spencer always knows the score,

Bob Nolan music, why ask for more.

Of appeal to fans, and especially ladies,

Is the shimmy dance of old Pat Brady's.

As champions on the fiddle and guitar,

I hand you those brothers - Karl and Hugh Farr.

I'm not a poet and haven't got time

To put Lloyd Perryman into a rhyme

But for music and singing, I say give three cheers

To the best of them all - the Sons of the Pioneers.


(Herb Weil, assistant to the Sons of the Pioneers' manager, Sam Houston Allen, 1939)



Sons of the Pioneers

(Faye Flanagan, 1943)



He's a good guy in the public eye

This son of the Lone Prairie-e-e

His songs are best in the wooly west

My gosh, he's "tops" with me.



Now there's a man and I'm his fan

This songster of the west.

His subject's clear and all sincere

That's why folks say he's the best.



From the Lone Star state came the voice that's great

And a talent for draggin' a bow.

His playin's sweet, knocks ya off your feet

That voice is all the go.



Oh, Mr. Farr, with yore gallopin' guitar

All the girls are crazy 'bout you

You're the musical hero they'd like for a beau

So be careful, my buckaroo.



Now here's a nice guy and it ain't no lie

That he's from Arkansas.

He may be from the hills  but his playin' fulfills

All they require in the musical law.



He's the funniest man in all of this land

He's a clown of the Cow Countre-e-e

As good a galoot as there is in the chute

Pat, you're okeh with me.



10-2-4 SHOW

(Louis Tobin, 1943)


I shut the gate, and slam the door

For I can hardly wait to hear the 10-2-4

They come on the air here at a quarter to eight

But I listen to them early or late.


Bob Nolan will sing us a song or two

About winding trails, 'neath the skies of blue

Of the Tumbleweed patch where the cattle feed

That's where he got his name, "ole Tumbleweed'.


Pat Brady, the comedian of the "boys"

Brings us thrills, laughs and joys

His old "bull fiddle" is all he owns

When he goes by the name of "Truthful Jones".


Tim Spencer, songs of the pioneering west

Is the kind of songs that I love best

Stories new, or stories old

Only by him can they be told.


The man No. 4 is Mr. Karl Farr

The man who plays the gallopin' guitar

He never sings but a tune he'll play

In his light, fantastic Cherokee Way.


Lloyd Perryman is youngest of them all

Curley hair and 'bout six feet tall

The girls all smile for they think he's grand

This rollicking boy with the Pioneer band.


Hugh Farr is the fiddlin' fool

"Foghorn" Farr, never broke a rule

When he looks like he wants to bite

His looks are good, and his acts are right.




 (Jean Moir, 1943)


Deliver from "great lovers"

And gagmen's corny puns

Give me a group of six fellows

Who are known as the Sons.


Wakely fans proclaim that they

Don't' sing like Johnny, Dick or Jim

But I don't care as long as they

Have Bob and Lloyd and Tim.


Some others may not like them

But they certainly get my cheer

Six handsome cowboys known as

The Sons of the Pioneers.





 (Ruth Danekas, 1943)


Here's to the Sons of the Pioneers

May they be with us many years

They drive away the dreary gloom

Where once were frowns, now smiles bloom

And laughter glimmers thru our tears

Because their music brings us cheer.


Now here's a toast to Bob, Karl and Hugh

To Tim and Pat - and Shorty, too

We like to hear them play and sing

For happiness to us they bring

Although our days be dull and blue

They cheer us up, each buckaroo.


So let's rise up, each loyal fan

To keep them reigning in this land

Let's see each movie once or twice

And even of'ner would be nice

Let's send best wishes and loud cheers

To our Sons of the Pioneers.



The Show

(Beula Garland, 1944)


Howdy, Pardners, I reckon you all

Are waitin' for the show to begin?

I know that our pals, the Pioneers,

Are ready and waitin' with a grin.


Pull back the curtain, Pardner,

So we can see our favorite boys.

You don't know how excited we are

To see that MC grin of Roy's.


He announces that the first song

To come off the music shelf

Is "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" sung

By Tumbleweed Bob himself.


Wal, no, Bob, we sure enjoyed that

And now, we'll hear from Brother Farr

I guess you know that's Karl

The man with the Gallopin' Guitar.


And chiming in with his fiddle

Is that other Farr brother, Hugh

I also like to hear that big, deep

Bass voice of his, don't you?


Now, Pat, if you'll come out here

And sing us a funny song

Then Tim Spencer can do his stuff

And nothin' will go wrong.


Here, let us introduce our Ken

"Shorty" Carson, a new Pioneer

A boy we are mighty glad

To have join us all here.


Then MC Roy says, "Let us all

"Pay tribute to an absent one

"Who's working for Uncle Sam.

"Lloyd Perryman, always a loyal Son."


And now the show is over

We've enjoyed it every bit

And our Sons of the Pioneers

Have made another hit.



To the Sons of the Pioneers

(Buddy Massey, 1944)


The Sons of the Pioneers, I think they are tops

When they're on the air, my work all stops

They yodel and sing my blues away

Those noted musicians of today.


I like the way Bob Nolan sings

Back to life the West he brings

Tim Spencer's songs of the early West

Will always get the most request.


Pat Brady's yarns are rather tough

And it seems I never hear enough

And if it's music you like from a steel guiar

there's never been anyone could beat Karl Farr.


Lloyd Perryman, top singer on my list,

More songs from him we all insist.

Then down Texas way came Karl's brother, Hugh

I like his fiddling and lots of it, too.

Then there is Ken Carson, the new Pioneer

A little more from him we would love to hear.



To Bob Nolan

(Jean Moir, Ontario, 1944)


Slicked-back hair and eyes of brown

A nicer guy just can't be found

His smile chases care away

He's better looking than Boyer.


He rides with an easy grace

His "boys" ably follow the pace

And when his voice is raised in melody

Well - Frank Sinatra, who is he?


He's the most wonderful person that I know

he has more talent than many a hero

That the "boys" are all swwell, I will agree

But Bob Nolan is the one for me!



The Birth of the Pioneers

(Martha Retsch, 1944)


I'll try to put into this rhyme

The story of just how

The group that's known as the Sons

Was born, beginning now!


One of the boys who helped to start

This group upon its way

Was Len Sly who sang tenor, and

Who's Roy Rogers today.


Bob Nolan helped to organize

This group known far and wide

The leader and a baritone

a Songwriter besides.


Another one who helped a lot

To organize the Sons

Tim Spencer is the man I mean

His work is never done.


A fiddle layer came along

was added to the gang

When Hugh Farr plays the fiddle

he goes over with a "bang".


Who's this gallopin' into sight

A man with a guitar

He plays both sweet and swingy tunes

Of course, you know, Karl Farr.


Comedian, pat Brady, was

The next to join this crew

but now he's serving Uncle Sam

As a private buckaroo.


Lloyd Perryman then came along

And quite soon made a hit

He, too, is helping Uncle Sam

And doing quite a bit.


A tenor very soon was found

To replace an absent one

Of course, you all know who it is,

None other than Ken Carson.


Shug Fisher soon came into view

To help close up the space

Duration comedian he will be

And he sure does slap that bass.


The Pioneers are all swell guys

Their singing is just grand

In movies, stage or radio, they're

the best group in the land.






If you like poems that never rhyme

And are nothing but a waste of time

Just come along and lend your ears

While I tell about the Pioneers.


Now when these boys begin to sing

Your troubles melt like snow in spring;

And happiness seems near at hand

Instead of in some far-off land.


These well-known favorites, you see

have glorified the West to me.

They make the cowboy's life a dream

Six swell boys fit in this scheme.


So now I think I'll have you meet

Those buckaroos who can't be beat.

I'm happy to present each one

The Sons of the Pioneers, one by one.


If you like music soft and low

Or ragtime swing or dosie doe

You'll find none better to reign or rule

Than HUGHEY FARR, the Fiddlin' Fool.


And next we come to brother KARL

That Pioneer with the Texas drawl

The guitar champ, known far and near

To young and old, a treat to hear.


A poet and dreamer, we all agree

He knows the West from A to Z

The Lochinvar of the hills and plains

BOB NOLAN belongs to the open range.


And now a truly western son

One whose songs our praise has won.

He wrote and sang his way to fame

VERN "TIM" SPENCER is the name.


A golden voice to bring you song

We are thankful KEN has come along

To harmonize with Tim and Bob

CARSON sure does one grand job.


"Bring on the Food" is his favorite theme

SHUG FISHER'S the cook, and so it seems

Food and "Shug" go hand in hand,

His cookin's the pride of this hungry cowhand.


So there you have the very best

That entertain from East to West.

In closing let us give three cheers





The Sons of the Pioneers

(Dorothy Andrews, 1946)


From Bob Nolan's famous pen

Many songs appear

Along with Tim and Hugh

He makes music swell to hear.


Hugh is the guy with the fiddle,

One who can't be beat.

The Pioneers begin their cheers

When Hugh turns on the heat.


Like his brother, Karl has been

An entertainer grand.

There is no better strummer

In any cowboy band.


Lloyd is always ready with

His tenor voice so sweet

And, with that personality,

Why, say, he can't be beat.


Tim has written many songs

He's known most every place.

Not only does he write and sing

he plays guitar and bass.


And then there's Pat Brady

Who adds humor to the show

you'll find them all a-driftin'

Wherever "tumbleweeds" may grow.



Those Sons

(June Schmude, 1947)


They sing the songs we love the best

These Pioneer Sons from out of the west

If they sing sweet or they swing out

With a polka or a song to shout

That fiddler is our old pal Hugh

Brother Karl does right well too

Then Tim joins in his tenor sweet

Oh! guys and gals if that ain't neat

I'm not a poet I admit

My singing, too, amazes me

But Lloyd and Pat are quite a hit

They join with Ken in harmony

Then there's Bob, that baritone

Rates first with me always

To sing with the trio, I prefer him alone

I'll listen the rest of my days.




The Sons of the Pioneers

(Betty Jean McCullough, 1947)


Oh! the wonderful Sons of Pioneers,

Men and women all flock to hear

Their singing and playing is so grand

You hear them praised all over the land

Everyone exclaims when they see them, too,

They are such a handsome crew

The name of this gallant crew again, my dear,

Is the wonderful "Sons of Pioneers"

There are six altogether, you see

And all sing so beautifully

Their leader is six feet tall,

And friends, that isn't all

He has eyes so brown and sparkly

And brown hair that gleams so darkly

I hope someday to meet him and,

Have the privilege to shake his hand

Until that great day I fear

I'll listen on the radio to hear

Bob Nolan and "Sons of the Pioneers".




Quietly Canadian

(Mike Puhallo)


We started in the fur trade days,

but most Americans don't have a clue.

Why them trappers' gatherings,

was called a Rendezvous!

Will James, Bob Nolan and Lorne Greene

were by far the best

at quietly, redefining

the old American West.

Half of Hollywood is now owned

by "Canadian Club"!

And Cadillac Fairview

has New York pretty much sewed up.

In the Prohibition days,

they tried to drink "Canada Dry".

We sold them a river of whiskey

then took over on the sly.

Now Ian Tyson is still teaching them

what the West is all about.

While Shania is getting ready

to buy old Nashville out.

For about fifty years

it's been a Hollywood fact,

you have to learn to speak "Canadian"

or you don't get to act!

The Eagle may have landed

but the folks down on the farm

know he coldn't even scratch his butt

without a Canadian Arm!


(p. 55 "Piled Higher and Deeper on the Cariboo Trail", Hancock House Pub. 2001)






by William G. Bowen


by LaVida Brickner


by Bob Serkey