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Western Harmony & Hot Swing, Vols 1 & 2 -The Sons of the Pioneers


· Label: British Archive of Country Music (BACM)

· Format: 2 audio CDs



(album covers courtesy of OJ Sikes)

Album Review by OJ Sikes:


      Right after filming their last Charles Starrett picture for Columbia, late in 1940 the Sons of the Pioneers moved to Chicago to work on the WLS Barndance. During the next year or so, they recorded 14 sides for Decca and some 200 Orthacoustic transcriptions. Over 55 of these transcriptions have been released on CD in recent years by Soundies, but now BACM has issued 64 more on 2 separate CDs.        

      Each CD contains 32 songs. Vol.1 has 4 instrumentals featuring the Farr Bros., mostly Hugh on Texas fiddle tunes. Vol. 2 has 9 instrumentals, several featuring Karl's guitar, and moving more into the swing the Farrs were noted for. The vocals on Vol. 2 are less well-known than those on Vol.1, but there are some wonderful exceptions: "You Don't Love Me But I'll Always Care," "I Love the Prairie Country," "Moonlight Melody" & "Hill Country."  

      Vol.1, with more vocals, also has more familiar songs like "Lone Buckaroo," "Sunset on the Tail," "On the Rhythm Range," "I Belong to the Range," "Moonlight on the Trail," "Rocky Road in the Rockies" and much more, e.g. I love Tim Spencer's rendition of "When a Cowboy Starts to Courtin'." The big hits are not here, but that's the beauty of these CDs. These are the lost gems. In fact, only one of the songs, "Cielito Lindo" on Vol.1, was recorded commercially at the time.

       Chances are you'll want both. But if you have to make a choice, and you're a Farr Bros. fanatic, you'll want Vol. 2. My preference would be Vol .1, but go for both if you can. BACM is a small outfit set up only to preserve some of the old Western & country recordings that have been neglected by the large companies that dominate the re-issues market. They make only a limited number of these CDs, so get your order in early. Highly recommended. $16 (without plastic jewel case) from British Archive of Country Music, "Greenacres" 451 Folkestone Road, Dover, Kent CT17 9JX, U.K.


Track List: (from http://bacm.users.btopenworld.com)


Vol. 1

Rise And Shine/ Lone Buckaroo/ Riding on the Rocky Range/ Get Along Pinto Pony/ Cottage In The Clouds/

Cielito Lindo/ Sunset On The Trail/ Sally Goodin’ (Instr.)/ Come And Get It/ Where The Rio Rolls Along/

Ridin’ The Range With You/ Cody Of The Pony Express/ Ridin’ On The Sunshine Trail/ I Belong To The

Range/ On The Rhythm Range/ She’s The Lily Of Hillbilly Valley/ When The Prairie Sun Says Good

Morning/ Boggy Road To Texas (Instr.)/ Curly Joe From Idaho/ Blue Mountain Sweetheart/ No Good Son Of

A Gun/ A Cowboy’s Prayer/ Great Big Taters In The Sandy Land (Instr.)/ When A Cowboy Starts To

Courtin’/ Wonder Valley/ Bon Ton Schottische (Instr.)/ We Sat Beneath The Maple On The Hill/ The Quilting

Party/ What Wonderful Joy/ Moonlight On The Trail/ What You Gonna Say To Peter/ Rocky Road In The Rockies


Vol. 2

You Don’t Love Me But I’ll Always Care/ Hoppin’ High (Instr.)/ Crawdad Hole/ Farr Into The Night/ Whistle

And Wait For Katy/ Close To Heaven/ They Drew My Number/ Don’t You Wish You Had Someone (Instr.)/

When We Get Old And Grey/ More Fried Chicken, Uncle Joe? (Instr.)/ Blue Eyed Little Nell of Narraganset

Bay/ I Love The Prairie Country/ Jim Jam Jiggin’ (Instr.)/ Moonlight Melody/ Shadows Of The Wildwood/

Comin’ Through The Korn (Instr.)/ I Ain’t A-Worryin’/ When They Ring Those Golden Bells/ Climbing Up The

Golden Stairs/ Tom And Jerry (Instr.)/ Hill Country/ Blue For You/ Li’l Liza Jane/ Sweet And Low/ Frankie

And Johnnie (Instr.)/ The Capital Ship/ Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight/ Dreamy Reverie (Instr.)/ The

Gypsy’s Warning/ Under The Willow She’s Sleeping/ Silver Threads Among The Gold/ Someone Like You (Instr)