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¯ Q&A 2007.

¯ Q&A 2008.

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January 1, 2010

Before I forget, I wanted to alert you to an error that is on TV’s Encore Western station.

It seems that Encore will be running Roy Rogers videos in 2010 which is great. However—and to Sons of Pioneer fans this is a big however—they are confusing the SOPs with Willig’s group, which replaced the SOPs in Roy’s videos after around 1948 or so.

Encore brings in western singers who share stories about the old stars. E.g., Gene Autry stories are used to introduce singing clips from his movies. I enjoy them and to the best of my knowledge they are accurate.

A few days ago, two western singers observed how much they enjoyed working with the SOPs. They are relatively young so I assumed that these two people sang with the SOPs in Branson, Mo. Instead, they showed a clipping of Roy and Dale from the 1950s with Willig group. This isn’t a criticism of Willig but rather recognition that his group and the SOPs (Bob’s or the Branson bunch) are very different in quality and strength. Fans of the Sons of the Pioneers can see clippings of the group by watching older videos of Roy and Dale. So it isn’t a matter of lack of availability.

Florence M. Stone
Editorial Director
American Management Association
1601 Broadway
New York, New York 10019

January 11, 2010

As you may have heard, Jan 8 was the 75th anniversary of Elvis Presley's birth. Lona and I will have our tribute show for him this coming Monday. Elvis fans! Jan 8, 2010 marked the 75th anniversary of his birth.

Monday, Jan 11 -KMSU-FM Miss Lona and Jazz Tonight will present an official Elvis tribute with special guest, Lonesome Ron. Showtime: 7-9 pm CST The BEST Elvis music you EVER heard.

Live through the internet
Check it out:www.mnriv.com/hobart.htm

We were not able to find a guest in time for the show so we will just play the CDs and talk about his life. Hope you get the chance to listen. Also, last summer I put together some promotional videos from some of my concerts. You can see and hear some clips of last season's performances you can find them by using the link:


And from the internet soap opera spoof, "As The Corn Grows." My part occurs about 2 or 3 minutes into each show. Here are some samples: "Oh Susanna:" http://www.ourstorymn.com/38_corn.html

"House of Dakota Rose:" http://www.ourstorymn.com/corn11b.html

Thanks again,
Lonesome Ron


January 14, 2010

 What a good idea to feature Wally Smith this month on the website. I think he was a source for many SOP collectors. He was the one who showed us the transcriptions (Teleways and Lucky U Ranch) in the late 70s. I remember well the day when  a huge parcel arrived here from California with a reel-to-reel tape with lots of the early recordings of the SOP and copies of the transcriptions .  That's when I started dreaming of having a complete collection of the SOP one day, although collecting old Country and Western Music wasn't easy in those days here in Germany. But thanks to folks like Wally Smith, Jimmie Willhelm and others the collection grew over the years.


I've seen from the date on the top of the pages that you have added some more songs to the "Cool Water" and "TTW" collection. I still get some  more versions now and then from other collectors. The last one I've got is an instrumental from a lady who played the zither.  Her name is Ruth Welcome. She made some recordings for RCA in the 50s  and one LP is called "Zither goes West" . On this LP you'll find this version of TTW. It's really interesting how many different versions we've found up to now from both songs.


But the song with the most recordings is "Ghost Riders in the Sky" with over 300 different versions up to now. And I guess, there's no end yet. We will see what 2010 will come up with....



January 15, 2010

Be sure to check my trivia site daily


For archived Trivia check here:
October 27 - November 30, 2009 Bobby Copeland's Trivia Corner - Archives


Bobby Copeland


January 16, 2010

A couple things I thought you might be interested in for your Discography page...first, there's an Irish singer named Seamus Kennedy whose new CD "Sidekicks and Sagebrush" includes covers of three Nolan songs (Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Cool Water & Way Out There). You can read the liner notes, in which he makes some very flattering remarks about the Pioneers and their music, here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/seamuskennedy15

Second, there is a CD called "King of The Singing Cowboys" which features cuts from Roy Rogers' radio performances in the '40s and '50s, on which he's backed by the Pioneers on several tracks. Info here: http://www.ccmusic.com/item.cfm?itemid=CCM10692

Incidentally, while doing some reading about old radio shows in general, I found a mention of an early '40s Roy Rogers program, "Call of the West," which supposedly featured Gabby Hayes, Sally Payne and the Sons of the Pioneers - have you ever found any information about or recordings of that show?


Thank you very much, Elisabeth for the links, Elisabeth. We'll add them to our Discography page. We will try to track down "Call of the West", too.


January 17, 2010

It was Laurence Harvey in the "Alamo", not Paul Harvey. Love your site...I watched "Rio Grande" last night, and just had to know more about the Sons of the Pioneers". Thank you. Angelo Martilini.


You are quite right, Angelo. Thank you very much for pointing this out to us. Paul Harvey was a much older man.


January 19, 2010

Check out the new Silver Screen Cowboy Project 2-CD set!



January 19, 2010

Thought you would like to know that someone put the ending of Utah on YouTube. Good quality. Of course the Sons sing "5 Little Miles". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWa2BfRNAm8



Thanks, Fred. I noticed while I was there that someone has put a lot of the Roy Rogers / Sons of the Pioneers song sequences on YouTube.



January 21, 2010

hi, can you tell me about Karl farr?
Rachel Skelton


Go to www.bobnolan-sop.net and click on: "Biographies:, then, "The Sons of the Pioneers", then "Karl Farr". Or click on this quick link: http://bobnolan-sop.net/Biographies/The%20Story%20of%20SOP/Karl%20Farr/Karl%20Farr.htm


January 24, 2010

Bob Nolan and the Pioneers were in a class all by themselves. Even if you didn't like country or "hillbilly" music, you would have to agree that their renditions of western songs were the best. I always enjoyed them in Roy Rogers' movies and Bob Nolan had a sense of humor that played well against Roy. Nolan also co-starred with Charles Starrett in his series.

Mike Newton

Go to our Movie of the Month page and you'll find plot summaries and photos from many of these films, Mike.



January 28, 2010 William (Bill) Jacobson

Bill died today after complications from a brief illness. The last few years saw that he had much trouble communicating with Western music lovers, please be assured that it never left his heart. Please play the beautiful song “Wandering” in his memory.

- Mary Rogers

Email: crestlinecolorado@comcast.net

Address: 136 Pearl Street, Fort Collins, CO 80521



January 29, 2010 William (Bill) Jacobson

        First, thank you for the wonderful Bob Nolan website!  What great memories and tribute. I have been involved in Western music all my life, grew up with the Pioneers music, etc. I have performed with several chuckwagon groups, Dick Goodman and the Reinsmen, met Bobbie Nolan and several WMA functions, Tommy Doss tribute...I feel like I am part of the family!

        Just a quick note: I was browsing the pictures trying to identify different people and occasions. My small addition is for Pic #13 showing Bob visiting a boy in a hospital with a cast on his leg.  You mentioned the marking on the sheet said "Texas Scott ______ Hospital"   All I can add is that there is a big medical center called Scott and White, located in Temple, TX. (central part of the state, north of Austin on I-35). Perhaps this will add a small piece of the puzzle.

        Thanks again for sharing Bob with all of us.

Leon Butts


February 1, 2010

Just want to say thanks again for your splendid work on the Bob Nolan website. The man was so prolific in his writing and composing and so inspirational in his lyrics. You are doing a great service. Thanks for keeping the work of this great western writer and performer before us. I am working on a Wilf Carter tribute. Just me and my guitar -- the way Wilf did it -- minus the yodel!
Abe Reddekopp www.alwaysacowboy.com



February 1, 2010

Posted on my web site.  http://www.thewagonmasters.com/news.htm 


Billy Beeman


February 1, 2010

        I understand Garrison Keillor was here in Tucson over the weekend and he did a Pioneers song! I wonder which one? As OJ says, he probably either heard about Bob's roots here or the history of the WMA here.



February 1, 2010

        Thank you very much. I have been a fan of this site for a couple of years now and it never grows old. I am with ya'll almost every night enjoying the music and the videos. It is very admirable of you for the honor you have afforded Mr. Nolan by the presentation of this site and to share it with all of us 60-something kids. Kids who know that we grew up at the very best time in the world's history. Thanks for the reflections.

Archie Christian arkansasarch@hotmail.com



February 2, 2010

Missing Starretts now available! The Old Corral had this announcement today: "February 1, 2010: Michael Nella e-mailed that Sinister Cinema is releasing three of the Charles Starrett westerns, COLORADO TRAIL (1938), SPOILERS OF THE RANGE (1939) and WEST OF SANTA FE (1938). Sinister's website is at: http://www.sinistercinema.com/



Wonderful news. I'm heading to Sinister Cinema right now to order them! Thanks, Elisabeth.



February 2, 2010

When he is on the road, Garrison Keillor usually includes a lot of historical information about the venue.  In that context, he said that he was in Tuscon, where Bob Nolan went to high School, before heading to California , where he helped form the Sons of the Pioneers. There was a smattering of applause. He then did a duet with one of his guests of “Cool Water”.  Later in the show he also paid tribute to Marty Robbins, whom he described as “one of my heroes”.



February 2, 2010 William Jacobson 1957 – 2010

        Bill Jacobson passed away this week after a brief illness. Bill was a founding member of the Western Music Association. At the initial meeting in Las Vegas in 1988, volunteers were needed to launch a publication that would pick up where the Sons of the Pioneers newsletter left off. It would broaden the scope of coverage to include new music releases, articles of historical interest, and help bring together musicians and fans who were interested in preserving and continuing Western music. Bill Jacobson & Mary Rogers volunteered. As Gary McMahan says, Bill fanned the embers when Western music had started to fade, until there was a small flame and Western music could take hold again.

        Until Bill had to have brain surgery and his illness took its toll, leading to his retirement from involvement in Western music activities, he was instrumental in spreading the word about Western music, both classic and contemporary. With their journal, Song of the West, Bill and Mary set the standard and led the way for the WMA to launch publications that gradually took on a professional look that has helped promote the image of the WMA. He was talented and very knowledgeable, but more importantly, he was a good guy.
        His memorial service is Thursday February 4th at 12:30 PM at the Allnutt Funeral Home in Fort Collins, CO.

~ Lindalee Green


February 4, 2010

One remark to the "Song of the month" "Three friends have I". I really like this song from the first time I've heard it on the Rex A. jr. LP. But listening to the demo Bob made himself ... What a difference. Without the orchestral accompaniment - only with guitar it sounds much, much better. That song should be recorded again from someone only with few instruments so the music won't cover the words.



February 4, 2010

Interesting things turn up on Ebay. The oft-reproduced portrait of Bob in "Hands Across the Border" is actually a crop from a bigger picture that included Roy Rogers. Never saw this version before.



February 10, 2010

The Internet Movie Database lists Bob Nolan as having an uncredited bit part in Gene Autry's "The Old Barn Dance" (1938). Is that correct? I'd never noticed that before.


Roy Rogers (Dick Weston) called a square dance in the picture and I assume the Pioneers backed him but I have only a cut film. I understand that a lobby card for "The Old Barn Dance" shows the Pioneers as rubes with teeth blacked out. I haven't seen it myself.


February 17, 2010

        My version of the video is 60 minutes and I watched it until the end of the barn dance last night.  (I didn't want to see the rest of it.)  The Beverly Hillbillies are mentioned in the credits, as is Dick Weston.  I did not see any sign of Bob or the other Pioneers.  Roy was calling the square dance but he was in the background on the stage, never a close view of him.  Later, it showed various members of the group playing and none of the faces were familiar. 

         Listing RR as being in the movie is just an attempt to get people to buy the video (I did) and if one doesn't listen for him calling, one would never know he is in the film.



February 26, 2010

I ran across two discussion threads at the Mudcat Discussion Forum which talk about the song "Heavenly Aeroplane" being a traditional song that existed possibly as far back as 1920 - is this one that Bob Nolan only wrote the music for?



Good sleuthing! Heavenly Aeroplane appears to be the second Bob Nolan song that he changed to suit himself and registered as his own, not illegal but rather unusual behavior for Bob who prided himself on being strictly original.  Actually, because the songs in the song folios were copyrighted by American Music for the Sons of the Pioneers, Bob would have known nothing about it until the folios were out. It was American Music's job to search copyrights, a job much more time consuming in the days before computers.


To quote Ken Griffis from the JEMF Quarterly, Spring 1980 p. 7,


"Bob Nolan approached Lem Giles, of the Beverly Hill Billies, to see if the two groups might exchange a few of their unpublished tunes. Such tunes could not be used on the air without the consent of the composer. Giles turned down each Nolan request. Finally, a frustrated Nolan informed Giles that if he didn’t cooperate he would take one of Giles’ most popular songs, "The Little Choir Boy Sings All Alone Tonight", change one note every four bars and take credit for it. Out of that challenge came the beautiful Nolan tune, I Wonder if She Waits for Me Tonight."


Unfortunately, we have been unable to find "The Little Choir Boy Sings All Alone Tonight" to check the words and melody. You can check both the Nolan and the McConnell versions of Heavenly Aeroplane here.


March 6, 2010

The Sons of the Pioneers will be on the RFD-TV channel on the new “Presley’s Country Jubilee” Show tonight at 6:30 (Branson time, half hour before the Marty Stuart show).

OJ Sikes


March 7, 2010

I'm a Roy Rogers fan from way back.This is a great website! I enjoy going thru it. Keep up the good work. Just wondering... I just saw the 2010 version of the Sons of the Pioneers on the RFD-TV channel and was wondering if any of them are in contact with you or relatives of the earlier sons. Do you keep up with their work? thanks again for a ton of info to keep me readin!

Phillip Walton



We do keep abreast of the current Sons of the Pioneers' recordings but, no, we do not know any of them personally. We do, however, keep in touch with the families of the original Sons of the Pioneers.


March 8, 2010

I made a video on Roy Rogers and put it on YouTube. Thought you would like to see it. I placed two songs by Roy on it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxraJkiVMY0

Fred Sopher


March 12, 2010

        What a beautiful and comprehensive tribute to Mr. Nolan, absolutely and icon of his times.  I am an undying devotee of Roy Rogers, and I have such an interest and admiration for Mr. Nolan and his work.  I am a police officer in Texas and also raise Tennessee Walking horses.  Although they are a few years before my time, I have gotten a collection of Roy's from 1939 to about 1948, plus I am now collecting his TV series. 

        Seeing them has given me a whole new history of their work together.  I love to sing right along with them, and now I am looking for song collections of them all singing together. 

        Thank you for this (and this word doesn't begin to do justice) amazing website.  Mr. Nolan  was a lucky man to have people remember and love him and his work so much.  How many times I have wished I could have actually known some of these amazing gentlemen.  They did SO much to influence my character, my career, and my hobbies.  I love them all as though I did know them personally, and now that I am older, have a more deep appreciation of everything they did and stood for.  God bless you for this wonderful site.



March 12, 2010

Possibly a far-fetched question, but did the Pioneers ever make a recording or transcription of the Civil War song "Tenting Tonight On the Old Camp Ground" during the years of the 'classic' trio? A beautiful song I'd have loved to hear Lloyd solo on.


Good question. I haven't found a recording or transcription but the classic group but I don't have a list for the Sunshine Ranch programs - rare and just about impossible to find. It is just possible the song would be included on these transcriptions.


March 18, 2010

Just saw your page; the photo that is listed as "possibly the Cow Palace" is actually the San Jose Civic Auditorium (the telltale chandeliers, upper deck, and roof pattern give it away).  Great page!


I'm afraid there are over 250 pages on this website. Could you write again, please, and let me know the page to which you refer? I'd like to correct the caption under the picture. And thank you very much for writing in to let us know the identity of the auditorium.


March 25, 2010

I wish the show with Roy Roger, Dale Evans, Pat Brady, Nellybelle, Trigger, Buttermilk and the dog would return to television. I am 64 years old and would still love to see the reruns.



Janice, you can find a good many of them now on DVD! Try www.amazon.com for these two collections (and there are more!) Better than on TV, you will be able to play them over and over again.



April1, 2010

I was looking at the pages listing the many different groups that have recorded Cool Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds.  I know it is just a partial list.  I did notice you don't have two from Ken Curtis.  I've attached them.

Gene Finke


Thank you very much, Gene. We have to thank our readers for the wide variety of selections we have!


April1, 2010

Just wanted to let you know that on the Film Songs page, the two songs from "Rhythm On the Range" will not play ('page cannot be found' message comes up).


April17, 2010

Sir, thanks so much for posting this collection. I was born in 1937 and grew up listening to these folks. Oh, I can tell you that I wanted very much to see them, but we lived on a farm and travel to the city was always a major undertaking. After watching Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers in the movies I decided that I wanted to be a cowboy. And it was clear that all cowboys played the guitar and sang. So I bugged my parents until they bought me a guitar, which I learned to play.

        All through high school and college I played it and sang cowboy songs at our social gatherings. Then, when I came to Cincinnati in 1959 I discovered bluegrass music, and I have been playing that ever since. Now I am the fiddle player with a local group http://www.myspace.com/pinemountainhighway

        But I still have my Sons albums, and I play them. I prefer the original group with Bob Nolan and all. Those harmonies are fantastic. I really appreciate what you folks are doing to keep these memories alive. Their music has stayed with me throughout my life. This is a real treasure.
Warren Huff


April 21, 2010

How do I get the lyrics to Aha! San Antone, sung by Gale Evans in 1946?


I don't recall Dale Evans singing her song, Aha, San Antone, in the 1946 movies but you'll hear Ben Johnson singing it on YouTube at this link, Rise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArXBAEAGjl8



May 4, 2010

    The play on words page with the links to where you can read the words as they are sung is fabulous.
    The video page is also fabulous. You might want to consider adding a video of the Pioneers singing Tim Spencer's Cowboy Camp Meeting. The Pioneers minus Bob do a fabulous choreographed production. Meanwhile Bob is doing his own very acrobatic stunts. Anyway that's the way I remember it. I can't remember what movie that was in. I don't think it is listed properly in the Griffis Book. I know I have it on a DVD I know so if you don't know what movie let me know and I will go through the ones I have until I find it.
    Keep up the good work.
Gene Finke


If you're ever wondering which song is in which movie, Gene, try the new page we've created: Songs from Bob Nolan Movies The movie you're thinking of is likely "Rainbow Over Texas". Glad you liked the play on words page. I've always been fascinated by Nolan's creativity. He wrote just about every kind of song but opera and "Relative Man" gets close to that.


Rainbow Over Texas is the only listing for Cowboy Camp Meeting that I can find in Griffis book.  But I don't think I have that movie in my collection and I am positive I have the song and scene in my collection.  I'm going to start going through the movies to see what I can find. By the way, the movie/song page is fabulous.  I will look at it more when I have time.


The "Who's Going to Help Me Sing" had to be a proud moment, it received an almost a "Movie Musical" treatment by Republic studios in the clip you showed.



May 5, 2010

My 84-year old father would like to know about the ... "wail of a nipwick hen" and something about a "chin fung" ... what are they?  J We grew up in a singing family ... with harmony similar to Sons of the Pioneers, and sometimes singing some of their songs at family gatherings in Prescott, AZ.  I believe his family drove out to Arizona during the Dust Bowl ... his dad, Grandma, 7 kids and a dog, with the youngest kid and a dog on somebody's lap, with dust in the eyes and the teeth ... in something of a wooden cabin his dad built, and  placed over the chassis of an old car back in the '30's?  Dirt roads, 15 - 25 mph in perpetual dust storms .. now that was rough going, ha, ha?  (His mother had died giving birth to another child.) Anyway, would be grateful if you could shed some light on a "nipwick hen" & "chin fung" ... prairie chicken???  Thanks.


Your family were real pioneers. Thanks for sharing that. As far as the puzzling words go, other readers have asked the same question about "You Don't Know What Lonesome Is" and I'm afraid I don't have the answers. However the writer, Foster Carling, wrote other comic songs so chances are these words like "nipwick hen" mean nothing. According to song expert, Lawrence Hopper:


Just because one writes comic songs doesn't mean the terms used in a specific song are bogus.  In this case they are more than likely regional slang.  A tour through a Dictionary of the West would turn up all kinds of strange sounding terms.  They can't qualify as joke terms or silly sounds because even then they would have to have some kind of cohesion.



May 9, 2010

Dear Mr. Calin Coburn,

It is wonderful that you have a website that others can read about your grandfather and his life and family.
My husband would ask me to look up more information on Mr. Bob Nolan, what he did over the years, when he had passed away and that's when I found your site just today on Mothers Day.

We just love listening to your grandfather and his friends. I had just purchased a couple days ago an older 33 LP from 1963 named "Trail Dust- Sons Of The Pioneers" from RCA Victor. I found it in an antique store and had to buy it, anything with the Sons Of The Pioneers or Roy Rogers. Your grandfather sings lead in two of the songs on the album- "Trail Herdin Cowboy and Trail Dreamin". I have also other music of the Pioneers, old 78's, CD's that do have the older music and will hopefully find more. Such great melodies, soothing sounds, wonderful lyrics, so important to never loose. We find it so relaxing after a day at work and we play them on our very old old Webster-Chicago record player. Some of the younger generations don't know what great music they are missing. So your site is such a wonderful tribute to his work and life.

Your grandfather had such a distinctive voice one could always recognize his voice from the beginning, when we watch the old movies ( we have many Roy Rogers movies) which we love he is the one that is so poised, always great posture. My husband had asked me to keep looking for more of the older music that he and his friends did, and now with your site I am able to find out more about your grandfather, his work and how to find more of his music.
Thank you.


          Thank you for taking the time to write. These letters from Bob Nolan fans mean a lot to his grandson, Calin Coburn. He sent this one on to me to answer because I may be able to help you find more of that good music. (I'm his research partner.)
            The "Trail Dust" album is superb - but that's not Bob Nolan you hear. It's Tommy Doss, the man selected to replace Bob when he retired. Tommy was chosen because his voice was so much like Bob's that the fans couldn't tell the difference! Tommy is still alive and still in great voice in a small town in Oregon.
            Yes, Bob looked good in his movies. I wish you could see him in the later Columbia movies with Charles Starrett - much, much better roles for Bob and all the Pioneers. In fact, Bob is always second lead after the heroine. You can find some of these movies for sale now on the Net. "Texas Stagecoach" is a good one to start with. I can give you an email address if you are interested in finding some of these old movies.
            I'm going to give you a quick link to our Discography page so you can see the albums that are still available for sale at www.amazon.com or www.deepdiscount.com or many other outlets. The opening Discography page shows you the album covers. Click on a cover and it will take you to the track list. You can also access this page from our Home Page. Just click on the work "Discography" at the top of the page. If I can help you in any way, please don't hesitate to ask. This is what we love to do - guide fans to Sons of the Pioneers songs or help you navigate around our site.


Thank you for your email. When I read that it is most likely another singer and not Bob Nolan on our older LP I was a bit surprised that his name or the name Nolan is next the two songs that we thought he was lead singer in. Did they do that often in the industry? I would think that the use of a name like his (last name) would not be legal to use if he was not singing on the album. If so that is sad because the truth should always be told and if it is the other singer Tommy Doss singing he is amazingly similar, very good. I would not have been able to tell and that is a surprise because Bob Nolan is so unique in his voice. I can't imagine someone else sounding so much like him.

We would like to know how to find his movies and music he starred and sang in, along with the Pioneers. Their music is so nice to listen to, it calms a soul in this hectic world we live in today. My husband and I rarely listen to regular radio anymore; its all on cd's, LP's or his iPod if that is what it is called; not too savvy on those things but do know good music when I hear it. Bob Nolan and the Pioneers had and still do have very good music & lyrics. Any avenues to find his/their music is very much appreciated.

Thank you so much and it is wonderful that this information is available, bravo to you all who keep it going!


The name "Bob Nolan" beside a song title usually indicates the songwriter, not the singer. Please don't misunderstand about Tommy Doss. Bob Nolan retired in 1949 and the Sons of the Pioneers desperately needed someone in the trio who sounded like him because his voice was integral to "Sons of the Pioneers Sound". Tommy Doss worked with the Pioneers for at least a dozen years and he is the one you would have seen on television with the Sons of the Pioneers, or in those John Ford westerns like "Rio Grande" with John Wayne. If you'd like to read Bob's story, go to our Home Page and click on Biographies at the top. Then select "Bob Nolan". I think you will be fascinated by his story. You will also read about all the changes in the Sons of the Pioneers group as they tried to stay together and still keep that outstanding sound. The Sons of the Pioneers celebrated their 75th anniversary last year. They are still singing and they still sound good. There is a DVD of that concert available for sale.


To find "Texas Stagecoach" and the other Charles Starrett / Sons of the Pioneers movies, write to Jimmie Willhelm at jwillhelm@yahoo.com. He also has all the Roy Rogers movies on DVD.


May 11, 2010

Something that caught my attention, apropos of the http://bobnolan-sop.net/Lyrics/Wordplay.htm  - 'Grab Your Saddle Horn and Blow.' Besides the usual joke about the saddle horn as a musical instrument, I think there's an additional pun there playing on the use of the word 'blow' as slang for travel or departure. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but it might be an expression peculiar to the 1930s and 40s - I'm pretty sure I've heard it used that way somewhere before. So in this case 'grab your saddle horn and blow' would mean mount a horse and hit the trail. It took me quite a while to catch on to this one!

Couple of quick questions about recordings - what year is the version of 'Way Out There' on the Country Music Hall of Fame CD? It sounds early, since there's no fiddle. Second, where can I find the Orthacoustic versions of 'Cottage In the Clouds' and 'Night Falls On the Prairie'? I wish somebody would take it into their head to do a box set of the complete Orthacoustics like they've done with the other sets of recordings - it would be wonderful to hear them all restored to the pristine quality of the tracks on The Essential Collection and Symphonies of the Sage. Some of the rarer songs like the two I mentioned are my favorites.


Thanks, Elizabeth. I must apologize for taking so long to respond but our computers have been down. Always glad to hear from you! The version of "Way Out There" on the Country Music Hall of Fame album is apparently a 1934 Decca recording (5013). If you would like to email me personally and give me your email address, I can send you mp3 files of "Cottage in the Clouds" and "Night Falls on the Prairie" from the Orthacoustic transcriptions. My copies are from original, somewhat scratched transcription discs so the sound is not the best. Yes, we are all in agreement with you - a restored collection of all the Sons of the Pioneers Orthacoustic transcriptions would be welcome. That is the classic group, The Aristocrats of the Range, who appeared with Charles Starrett where their music was showcased best of all.


May 12, 2010

Wow! What an incredible website. I'm sure you get that reaction a lot, but it's every bit the truth. Thanks to everyone who put in all the hard work it took to put this together. I've already spent hours exploring this site and there's still so much more to see. You folks have done a great service to entertainment historians. Thanks so much and God Bless.
Darrell Horton, Anchorage, Alaska
P.S. I've put my email below just in case you ever have any updates or news about the website.



May 14, 2010

I had been thinking of some of the great songs and suddenly decided to look up Bob Nolan and see who this person was. Yahoo is such an interesting resource. What an unexpected pleasure to find this site. The opportunity to learn about someone that I have enjoyed and been entertained by for more years than I care to remember and to get a sense of where the great music came from and who the people responsible for it are was a treat. Listening to the songs, looking at the movies reminded me why my first encounter with the Son's of the Pioneers music and Bob's unique stylings caught my imagination and have been a part of my life since. Thanks for the great site.

Leon Johnson



May 15, 2010

I was wondering if you had Roy Roger radio shows, what are they like?

We don't have anything for sale, Rachel. But you can get Roy Rogers radio shows from this reliable site: http://www.otrcat.com The shows are typical of the times: a guest, a short radio play and a couple of songs. They are usually about 15 minutes long.



May 18, 2010

I was wondering what the play list of songs were in The Cowboy and Senorita Roy Rogers movie. Thanks!



Here you are:

 COWBOY AND THE SEÑORITA (Republic 1944 05 12)
Cowboy and the Senorita (Ned Washington/Phil Ohman)
    • When Your Heart’s on Easy Street (Phil Ohman/Ned Washington) background music
    • What’ll I Use For Money (Ned Washington/Phil Ohman)
    • Enchilada Man (Net Washington, Phil Ohman)
    • Bunkhouse Bugle Boy (Tim Spencer)

    Besame Mucho
    • She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (G. A. Norton)

You can find these lists on our site: Go to http://bobnolan-sop.net/Reference/Documents/Film%20Songs.htm and bookmark the page for next time.


May 24, 2010

We have purchased a few CD's, LP's and with the help of the Bob Nolan site we were able to find them.  We have found My Saddle Pals and I, Symphonies of the Sage -  I love that one (The  Howling Pup is wonderful like all of them but so much fun to listen too).   So much great music and makes a person happy listening to it.  My husband said to me wouldn't it be great to buy a radio station and play this music again on the radio for others to hear it.  He says there are people that would like to hear some very good music from the past but it isn't available.  Wow! what people are missing today.  Just thought I would drop you a line about our wonderful find and will keep looking.  We are hoping one day to buy the Way Out There music later down the line. Take Care and thanks again for the family & friends having this site about Bob's life and work.



June 5, 2010

It certainly seems like sometime in the past I saw Cowboy Camp Meeting on a video or DVD that I have her at home.  But I've watched all that I have from the appropriate time period and I didn't find it.  I must have seen it on TV, but I don't know where as the Westerns Channel rarely shows Roy's movies, apparently because they can't find uncut versions. I will have to get a copy of Rainbow Over Texas to see if what is there is what I remember. Really liked the feature about Remember Me on the website. I posted a link to it on Facebook.  I should have done that on Memorial Day but only today found the Remember Me feature. Gene Finke



June 4, 2010

Recently I've been going back and listening to some of my SOTP Lp's that I don't listen too very often. Last night I was listening to WESTERN COUNTRY on Granite, and I thought I noticed a familiar voice on the track called 'Pretty Painted Ladies'. So, I put on my AKG headphones and replayed the track for a closer listen. I'd bet that Bob Nolan is singing with Lloyd and Dale on this track. He's not mentioned in the credits or on the jacket, but it's either him or Tommy Doss. Possibly he's on other tracks too.... I'd have to listen more carefully, but so far, only this one song. What do you know about this?


I agree. It certainly does sound like Tommy Doss but, according to Ken Griffis' "Hear My Song", Tommy was not there. Neither was Bob.



June 5, 2010

Dear Elizabeth...I have written many times and been an avid listener to the music you have offered....I have been not able to visit the site recently because of various reasons, some related to health...However, when I just visited, I could not find Bob's solos, that I enjoyed listening to so much....What has happened to them, or are they somewhere different than where they used to be just listed under "solos".....I hope you have not removed them....I await your answer....Thank you so much for the pleasure of Bob's music.
Sincerely....P. Kendall Rankin


Because the Bob Sings page did not get many visitors, we had unlinked it some time ago. But, for your pleasure, we have re-linked it. You'll find the link on our Home Page at the bottom of the right hand column.



June 8, 2010

I have a question about the Searchers. Stan Jones wrote and the Pioneers recorded at the movie studio 8 verses for the movie. The idea was different verses would be used throughout the movie. In the end John Ford used only 2 verses at the start of the movie.

Some collectors are passing around what they call the "complete" movie studio recordings. But they only include 4 verses. And if you watch the movie or listen to the Commercial Recording released by the Pioneers you will notice one of the verses sung by the Pioneers on the Commercial Recording and in the movie is different from the so-called "complete" movie studio recordings. Also, Tex Ritter and Johnny Western have recorded versions of the song using different verses.

What it amounts to the collectors "complete" movie studio recordings is missing 4 verses. Do you know anything about this and where I could get the other the Pioneers 4 verses recorded at the movie studio.



Here are suggestions and a checklist from Lawrence Hopper. Good luck!



The first thing to do is track down a copy of the original sheet music:
THE SEARCHERS - RIDE AWAY (Witmark - 1956) Stan Jones w&m
Cover - John Wayne, Jeffery Hunter - Vera Miles

This SHOULD give you all the verses written and then you would have a checklist to use to eliminate the various versions that you have. I only have the Sons of the Pioneers version so would have no way of checking the others by Tex and Johnny, or any other that may be out there.

Warner Brothers has been issuing many films in limited edition DVDs, some with extras, so it may be a good idea to check [the following sites] to learn if it is available:

The other fallback option is www.ebay.com
The other thing are the many LYRIC sites but it is best to use a search like SEARCHERS LYRICS COMPLETE on Google.
WWW.GEMM.COM is a source for recordings. Best there is to put in "SEARCHERS RIDE AWAY" or "SEARCHERS THEME" to find out what recordings were made other than SOP RITTER & WESTERN.
I seriously doubt if there are any recordings of the complete lyrics and you may have to hunt and pick for as good a set as you can find but you'll need the sheet music to begin with.




        Thanks for the recommendations from Lawrence Hopper. A book I read says there were 8 verses. I have been able to find the words to 7 of those verses. And the book says the Pioneers recorded all 8 verses at the movie studio. I hope the chart below explains. I've attached Pioneers Commercial Recording, the so-called Pioneers Complete Movie Recording, and the Johnny Western Recording. Tex Ritter also recorded the song, I don't have that, but I did find a copy of the lyrics he sang online so I included him in the chart. 

        According To How the West Was Sung: Music in the Westerns of John Ford by Kathryn Kalinak, Stan Jones wrote 8 verses for the song “The Searchers. Director John Ford chose 2 of the verses to be used in his movie. She identifies the words for verses 1, 2, 7, and 8.
        I have the Pioneers commercially released recording which features 2 verses. From O. J. Sikes I have a track labelled “The Searchers (complete)” and from Luiz Roberto Costa I have a track labelled “The Searchers (complete) from movie.” They are identical. I also have a track recorded by Johnny Western.

1st Verse: This first verse is NOT on any recording that I have.
The horizon’s like a woman
With her arms flung open wide
And a man that’s tryin’ to fill his heart
Ain’t got no place to hide
Ride Away—Ride Away—Ride Away

2nd Verse: This verse is the first verse sung on Movie, Commercial Recording, Complete Recording, Johnny Western Recording and Tex Ritter Recording
What makes a man to wander
What makes a man to roam
What makes a man leave bed and board
And turn his back on home
Ride Away—Ride Away—Ride Away

7th Verse: This verse is sung on Movie, Commercial Recording (last verse of only 2 verses) and Johnny Western Recording
Now Me I go on searchin’
For where there ain’t no hate
For a tender love I’m dreamin’ of
Before it get’s too late
Ride Away—Ride Away—Ride Away

8th verse: This verse is sung on Complete Recording [4th verse sung on this track] and Johnny Western [this is 4th verse on his recording]
A man will search his heart and soul
Go searching way out there
His peace of mind he knows he’ll find
But where oh Lord, Lord where
Ride Away—Ride Away—Ride Away

Verse W [not sure of number]: This verse is sung on Johnny Western [this is 2nd verse on his recording] and Tex Ritter [this is 2nd verse on his recording]
A man may search for fortune
Of silver and of gold
The silver he finds in his hair
While an aching heart grows cold
Ride Away—Ride Away—Ride Away

Verse X [not sure of number]: This verse is sung on Complete Recording [2nd verse sung on Complete Recording]
Some men they search for Indians
Or hump backed buffalo
And even when they found them
They move a lonesome soul
Ride Away—Ride Away—Ride Away

Verse Y [not sure of number]: This verse is sung on Complete Recording [3rd verse sung on Complete Recording] and Tex Ritter [3rd verse sung on Complete Recording]
The snow is deep and oh, so white
The winds they howl and moan
Fire cooks a man his buffalo meat
But his lonely heart won't warm
Ride Away—Ride Away—Ride Away

Verse Z: That leaves a final verse I'm looking for.

Thanks, Gene. This is very helpful. I sent it on to Lawrence Hopper and he asked me to ask you if you have the book to which you referred (How the West was Sung) and if there are footnotes that might throw some light on the missing verse - in other words, the source of her information. He also wonders if you've tried to match the verses to the continuity (the storyline) to see where each verse would fit it. My own suggestion is that you contact the writer, Kathryn Kalinak. I've found that writers love to hear from their readers.



        I seem to recall that there was a winter sequence in the film, which I haven't seen in years, which can be tied to the winter verse. Also should be noted, especially in the 1st verse used in the film, how smoothly it reads or is spoken / sung where some of the missing verses are not as fluid.

        Here is an order of events concerning the writing, verses, movie making, recordings of "The Searchers" by Stan Jones with some extra bits below. This was put together after looking at all stuff provided by you, Gene, and others on your side along with OJ and friends on this side.
Since the order of events would have been:
1 - Stan approached by WB and given an early script to start from.
2 - When the rough cut was ready he would have completed his writing according to original desires of WB and/or Ford.
3 - SOP would have been brought into sound stage to record all of the verses at one time. They wouldn't be brought in and out as Ford changed his mind. They would have done it all so it was available.
4 - Arrangements with Witmark to publish the song sheet with tie-in to film (Wayne, Hunter & Miles on the cover)
5 - The advance copies of sheet would have distributed to song pluggers and shown to possibly interested parties for possible recording.
6 - Final cut of film and Ford decides to use only two verses. Smart move, the more verses used the more intrusive they would have been removing the edge from the story.
7 - Sons of the Pioneers then record the used verses commercially for release by Victor.
8 - Tex Ritter chooses his own verses from the advance copy or from standard orchestrations provided by the publisher.
9 - Ed McCurdy copies Tex' version.
10 - Johnny Western copies McCurdy version.
11 - The original lead and lyric sheets and soundstage recordings remain in WB vaults or in whatever University archives they are now a part of.
Unless some company like Varese Sarabande can access the original sound stage recordings, or some collector can 'liberate' them, you probably won't hear them in your lifetime. As far as the verses themselves I've put a search on Ebay for whenever the sheet music shows up.

I've found a listing for the original issue "Advance Copy" ----

Author/Name: Jones, Stan, composer.
Title: The searchers [printed music] : Ride away : [from] "The searchers" / words and music by Stan Jones.
Published/distributed: New York : M. Witmark & Sons, c1956.
Publisher number: 21224-2
Record ID: 3742159
Collection: UCLA Libraries and Collections
Location: Performing Arts Special Collections Folios
Call Number: X SX116867
Notes: Film music.
Number of Items:
Location: Performing Arts Special Collections Folios
Call Number: X SX116868
Notes: Film music. "Advance copy".
Number of Items:
The bad news - there are no images to access. When a sheet becomes available on Ebay I will let you know.

(Lawrence Hopper)


Thanks, Larry. Much appreciated.


June 9, 2010

I recently discovered that iTunes sells an mp3 album of Orthacoustics that is very close to the BACM Western Hot Swing and Harmony Vol. 1. A few songs less and no instrumentals. Somehow they managed to get the album description totally wrong and leave the S off of 'Pioneers' on the cover, but I purchased a few tracks and the sound quality is really excellent! Here's the link to the album page:




June 9, 2010

I just read Laurence Zwisohn's biographical sketch of Roy Rogers... my boyhood and adulthood hero. I was eight years old when I saw Roy Rogers at Kiel Arena in St. Louis Missouri. Roy rode Trigger around the arena and touched hands with many of his young fans. I was one of them. Laurence Zwisohn captured and explained the greatness of Roy Rogers, and I thank him for allowing me to once again travel with my imagination... riding and singing along with the great Roy Rogers.
Kind regards,
William D. Tiley, Major USAF (Ret.)


We've forwarded your message to Mr. Zwisohn and I know it will please him immensely. Thanks for writing.


June 23, 2010

I just discovered your website and must say, it's really wonderful! You've put a lot of work and research into it, for sure. My mother was Carolina Cotton. She did a tour with Bob Nolan and the Sons Of The Pioneers back in the Spring of 1949. I have some related info in her personal memorabilia, and would be happy to share it with you, if interested.
Best wishes,


Yes, we would love to share your mother's memories with our readers.


June 24, 2010

Just happened across your site for the first time. Your list of people who have recorded 'Tumbling Tumbleweeds' does not include Don Everly, who recorded a brilliant version c 1970.


We were unaware of Don Everly's "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" recording. Do you happen to have an mp3 file of the track? We'd be delighted to add it to our list.


June 24, 2010

I was looking around on the Internet for things on Casey Tibbs and I found the great tribute page you had done on Casey on Bob's website. I really enjoyed it and was glad to find it there. I thought I should tell you that Rusty's book on the life story of Casey Tibbs titled "Casey Tibbs: Born to Ride" is being published and will be out this Fall. I thought that you possible did not know about Rusty's great friendship with Casey and you might not know that Rusty wrote a terrific song about Casey Tibbs back in 1985 called "Casey Tibbs - South Dakota Cowboy". It is on his American Cowboy CD which is available through www.cdbaby.com. Rusty's website www.rustyrichards.com will have more information about the book but it is in the process of being updated right now.

Amy (Mrs. Rusty) Richards


Let us know when the book is ready for sale, Amy. We'll be the first to purchase a copy!


June 30, 2010

A Friend sent me the Web address. What a wonderful Tribute to Bob, Roy and the Sons of the pioneers. I could look at pictures all Day.

Derwood Harris


July 20, 2010

I just wanted to let you know about the article in American Cowboy magazine, current issue, about the 75th Anniversary of the Sons of the Pioneers. You may already be aware of it but it might be nice for fans to know about it!! I thought it was a nice article.

Bill Marquet


July 22, 2010

Hi. Still a great site and several times I go see this again for the pictures and the music. I hope it stay for a long time of years. I am sad they sell the collection of Roy Rogers. We fans lost it but we have the Bob Nolan site. Thanks and greetings from The Netherlands.

Bep Vonk



August 1, 2010

The Radio Gold Index (http://www.radiogoldindex.com/frame1.html) has a huge listing of Sons of the Pioneers radio appearances if you do 'search by artist' in the database. (One interesting item is their providing 'music fill' for a couple episodes of "The Lone Ranger.")


August 1, 2010

The latest issue of American Cowboy with Tom Selleck on the cover has a 4 page article on the Sons with pics of them and their history. Website: www.americancowboy.com


August 2, 2010

This Riders in the Sky CD (for children) contains their version of "Biscuit Blues." Saw one available "Buy It Now" for 6.97 on eBay. (Lawrence Hopper)










August 4, 2010

Hi there, again. I emailed you last year about some photos of TSotP, and you were kind enough to send some nice ones. If you have time, I have one other question. I absolutely love "Goldmine in the Sky" and High Noon", both of which you said, the lead was sung by Dale Warren. Boy, what a voice. I am in danger of wearing my record grooves down on these two songs! Do you know of any other songs that he sang the lead for ? Thanks for all of your help. I really appreciate that somebody is interested in TSotP.
God Bless,


You should try to find "Autumn on the Trail" on the Trail Dust album. Dale Warren's voice is at its most beautiful.


August 4, 2010

HI Everyone,
Here is a clip I took from a tv show that I was on in 1983 with Roy Rogers. I thought you might like to see it. During the intermission I managed to get Roy to autograph an 8 x 10 glossy picture.


August 6, 2010

 I think this site is wonderful, what a gem. I happened to be doing an internet search on actor / singer Ken Curtis and it directed me here where I heard a recording of Ken singing "Old Trail" the actual "Gunsmoke" TV theme. From there I've gone on and read about Bob. I really enjoyed on the different artist versions of Tumbling Tumbleweed and Cool Water available on the site as well. This is all very interesting - congratulations on a truly wonderful tribute to Bob Nolan and his music. gary parson gdp1257@yahoo.com


August 9, 2010

Found your site through images on Google. Enjoyed finding a site on Ken Curtis. I do the official website for actress Maureen O'Hara and have been her archivist for the past 16 years. She speaks of Ken often and with great affection. Maureen's official website "Maureen O'Hara Magazine" is celebrating it's 16th year on-line. Maureen celebrates her 90th birthday on Aug. 17th.

June Beck momagazine@gmail.com


August 10, 2010

I was doing some reading on old radio programs recently and noticed something that matched an item on your Radio Transcriptions page, the 'Personal Album' at the end of the 10-2-4 section. Apparently Personal Album was an AFRS radio program; I don't know what the format was like, but according to this episode log there was an episode #624 with the first song 'Ragtime Cowboy Joe.'


August 14, 2010

The Reviews on Rusty's book have been fantastic! The first reviewer, T. Jerome Fisher said, "Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride (Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc.) is, hands down, the best Western biography yet published. Expertly paced and beautifully written, this biography will be read for generations to come."

Click here regarding ordering this limited edition hardbound book. Rusty will be signing these and you will want one in your library. We will receive the books in November, and be shipping them immediately, so they will make great Christmas gifts! Order now to ensure your copy!

Amy Richards


August 16, 2010

On Google images was looking for a picture of the Durango Kid to put on the front of a DVD case with movies I copied off the TCM channel. They've probably shown a dozen Durango Kid movies. What a great collection! Really enjoyed it. Always wanted to meet Roy Rogers. Did get to see him at Boston Garden back in the fifties.

Harry Mroczkowski mrocnroll@yahoo.com


August 16, 2010

I sent you a video clip of Roy around 1949 or 1950 talking about his RR Riders Club. This is the best quality video of this that I have seen. Some others that are available are not as clear. Maybe you will like it.


August 17, 2010

Well its been a long time coming, but it's here - The Heart of a Cowboy
John Conley


August 20, 2010

After hearing a good portion of the song and reading most of the website. I have come to the conclusion. my favorite song is Cool Water sung by Marty and Bob 1976. Not only are both of these voices blending in the most magnificent of harmony, with each unique voice complimenting the other but they share a very similar back ground of having grown up in Arizona shortly after the time of statehood. Ironically its also one of the least audible. Is there a cleaner version available? To me the song seems to represent the spirit of the site.
I Love you and your efforts,
Saddle pard,


Unfortunately, Doug, this was a home recording and the instruments are closest to the mike. Fortunately, someone thought to record it during an informal jam or we wouldn't hear it at all!


August 21, 2010

        Words can't express my excitement and joy at finding this website dedicated to Bob Nolan! I have so enjoyed his music and acting/performing in Roy Rogers movies and so on. His songs, his voice and singing talent are some of the most comforting that I know of!
        I was born in 1955, so I never met Bob - although I was born pretty close to Hollywood (in Culver City). Now my husband and I and our youngest son live in Washington state.
        Thank you again - if I ever find anything related to Mr. Nolan, I will surely forward it to you! God bless you for the good work you are doing - preserving the work of such a good and talented man.

Nancy O'Shea

Kingston, WA


August 21, 2010

My name is Susan Lefevre Segal and Jack Lefevre is my uncle. I would very much like to obtain a copy of any photos you have of him and his band, The Texas Outlaws. If you have anything on Jimmy Lefevre I would be interested in that as well. Please let me know how to purchase or obtain these items or if it is even possible.


 Susan, here is the only photo we have of the Texas Outlaws. Please credit Calin Coburn when you use it.



August 24, 2010

Bobby here from Scotland sure would like updates if you can send them. As I am a great Roy & Dale fan thank you so much till the next time.
Happy trails


Hello, Bobby. Wonderful to hear from a fan in Scotland. Thank you for writing.
        I'm afraid that our internet provider has changed its policy and does not allow us to send out multiple addresses any more - and that was how we sent our updates. So we encourage you to check our home page on the first day of every month to see what updates have taken place. They'll be listed on the right hand side under "Special Features". I'm very sorry about this, too, because it was such an easy way to contact our readers.
        I hope you have found Fred Sopher's page in our Reflections section. He is a Roy and Dale fan and has a huge collection of photos.



August 24, 2010

I just acquired a vintage Fender Dual 8 Lapsteel guitar (D203) and was told it was used by Sons of the Pioneers. Does anyone know if a SOP member used a Fender Dual 8 Lapsteel guitar? Thanks

Charles cnl777@comcast.net


We checked with Karl Farr's son, Karl, and your guitar isn't his. His father had a Telecaster ser. number 0757.



September 2, 2010

I spent many hours at the home of Sam and Fern Allen... how wonderful to see her picture again... my grandparents were friends with all of them. What wonderful childhood memories. My grandparents were Sim and Clara Huff. They ran around with the Allen's and the Sons of the Pioneers. As a child I remember going to Sunday afternoon Jamborees. We went to a Spencer family reunion when I was young also. My grandmother talked about Velma Spencer and P-Nuts all the time. They used to go out to Tecolota Ranch with them all also. There were oodles of signed pics and albums but unfortunately my father let someone have them and they are lost forever to us. One was autographed to me when I was born. I remember Easter egg hunts at Sam and Ferne's and going to dinners with them. They never had children. Lots of wonderful memories.

Bonnie Huff Derrick derricklb@msn.com



September 4, 2010

How many times did the Pioneers record 'Chant of the Plains'? Did they ever do it with the 'classic' trio?


According to Ken Griffis' "Hear My Song", it was commercially recorded only once in 1960. That trio was Lloyd Perryman, Dale Warren and Tommy Doss. However, it was recorded for the Teleways Radio Transcriptions by the classic Sons of the Pioneers.


September 5, 2010

I never knew Bob Nolan, never met him or saw him or any of the Sons of the Pioneers in person. Bob would be old enough to be my great-grandfather. I am of another generation altogether yet his music - yes, particularly Bob Nolan's music - had a huge impact on my life. My mother was a huge Bob Nolan fan and a musician herself. As children, my sisters and I were treated to many impromptu sing-alongs with Mom on her guitar or on the piano and the four of us girls singing. We had two well-worn Bob Nolan songbooks and I learned to play them all. As a teenager I was so inspired by the songs that I went to work on a cattle ranch in the interior of British Columbia and lived some of the lyrics myself (e.g. Trail Dreamin', etc.) Those songs were a safe escape for myself as a teenage girl surrounded by all the usual dangers and kept me from getting into trouble. The music lured me out into the mountains on the back of my horse "Nevada" (named after a gunslinger in a Zane Grey novel). I spent many long dreamy hours riding through the beautiful landscape of the southern interior and so stored up a reservoir of peace and quiet to return to in times of trouble and chaos - of which there was plenty during my twenties. Now, I am a mother of two wonderful children and I sing to them Bob Nolan's songs, some for lullabies and some for fun. I am passing along the music and spirit of the lyrics through my love of horses, the outdoors and a western lifestyle, giving them a place inside to dream or a place to retreat to when the realities of life in the 21st century become too much. By the way, my mother is Elizabeth Drake McDonald, co-author of this website.

Fiona Ellis


September 5, 2010

I was looking for pictures of Roy and Trigger. I just love this. I grew up with Roy Rogers and Dale Evens; this is like going home I could stay at this site all the time.

Donna Bishop donnabishop73@yahoo.com



September 15, 2010

            I just discovered this clip on YouTube - I think it may be from the 'Star Reporter In Hollywood' - of the original Sons of the Pioneers singing 'Way Out There.' Fascinating to see them singing outside a movie setting. 

            The Old Time Radio Researchers Library  has thirteen more 1945 shows.  OTRR also has a lot of the Melody Roundups, and the SOP's guest appearances on the Nelson Eddy Show & Johnny Mercer's Music Shop.



October 14, 2010

W T Beeman's older brother saying hi, love y'all and miss y'all. MARSCH (Christopher M Marschner)


October 18, 2010

Just passing along a bit of information you might find interesting - I don't know if you've heard of Columbia's new Screen Classics by Request program? They've begun releasing films from their vault on DVD. This blog post by Leonard Maltin explains more fully: http://blogs.indiewire.com/leonardmaltin/archives/another_studio_vault_opens/#  Interestingly somebody already left a comment suggesting missing Starrett westerns for the new releases.



Yup. But don't get your hopes up too much. I just received an www.oldies.com flyer and they only listed "Blazing Across the Pecos". If there are others available here or www.deepdiscount.com and other outlets it would be best to go to the home page and search for Charles Starrett and see what comes up.

Lawrence Hopper


October 21, 2010

i just want to thank you for the gift of this website. it clearly reflects not only great effort and insight, but love for bob nolan and his music. what a joy it is to be able to learn about bob, and to listen to some of the incredible music of the sons of the pioneers in film! thank you both for this extraordinary site dedicated to an extraordinary man.



October 29, 2010

        Some good news: we've got a new radio show on a local community radio in Marburg. That's a town about 70 km from Lauterbach. It will live or pre-recorded on every 4th Saturday of the month. As usual we will feature old and contemporary Country & Western Music in our "Big wide wonderful World of Country Music" - no show without a track by the SOP. That's great fun and we are very happy that we have a live show again after 3 years doing only podcasts.
        That show is in German language of course, but we will do one in English for the Irish
www.Birdhillradio.com (a private internet radio station ) sporadically (when ever there's time to). We did already two - one of them was a 3-hour show about and with waltzes. It's really incredible how many songs are in 3/4 time. Even the SOP have some. We've played "Golden Wedding Waltz" and "Waltz of the Roses" both Tim Spencer songs. But none of Bob Nolan's are in 3/4 time, right? (Anne Greb, Germany)


Bob Nolan did write several songs in 3/4 time. You can check them out on our Lyrics page. Off the top of my head, here are some examples:

At the Rainbow's End
Broken Heart Waltz
Campfires of Heaven
Cottage in the Clouds
Donde esta el mio
Empty Arms aka Autumn Reverie
The King's Highway
Lazy (the original)
Let Me Share Your Name
Moonlight on the Prairie
Night Falls on the Prairie
A Sailor Dreams
Send Him Home to Me
Shadows of the Wildwood
Stray Wind
A Summer Night's Rain
Watching the Moon Roll By
Why, Tell Me, Why?

There could be more. My favourite is "Watching the Moon Roll By", a song that crosses all genres.


        It's always interesting what you will choose for the "spotlights of the month". It's especially the songs and movies that I'm interested in. And to one of the songs in this month's movie I like to make some remarks. I'm talking about the song "So Long to the Red River Valley". As I never had seen this movie this movie-version of the song was new to me. What a difference to the version the Pioneers recorded later for the Orthacoustic Transcription and which is on the LP 25 Favourite Cowboy Songs. The movie version is much slower and more in a "sad mood" while the other version sounds much "happier" and fresher. What a difference. It would be interesting why the Pioneers changed this song so dramatically.


It is the Thesaurus version on 25 Favorite Cowboy Songs LP, by the way. The Orthacoustic is quite different. Here are the early versions for comparison: Thundering Frontier / Decca / Orthacoustic Transcription  / 25 Favorite Cowboy Songs / Thesaurus Transcription / Ken Curtis


October 30, 2010

 I am looking for cassettes or LPs recorded by The Reinsmen. Dick Goodman was a key member of that group as well as being a friend of Bob Nolan. I have a two-CD set (The Reinsmen: Painters Of The West In Song) by the group which is outstanding. However, the group recorded dozens of Western songs on the Sierra label not included on the CD. Would greatly appreciate any help you can provide that would lead me to a source of those recordings. Thank you. raharris@windstream.net


I think the best thing for me to do is to put you in touch with Dick Goodman by email. reinsman.scw@q.com The Reinsmen were an outstanding group. I have the book Ken Griffis wrote about them. Good luck! If I can help in any other way, please let me know.


October 31, 2010

Just a note about an upcoming event in April in LA. Turner Classic Movies is having their 2nd annual film festival made up of classic films, new restorations and other miscellany for a week in April. The festival then goes on the road to Atlanta, NY, Chicago. The point of interest in this one is that TCM is devoting a showing of three Roy Rogers films in celebration of his centennial. Full list of films to be presented has not been posted on the site yet. They are promoting the big items (of course) - restorations of a Buster Keaton film, Citizen Kane, An American in Paris and Hoopla, starring Clara Bow. Go to www.tcm.com click on the Festival banner and then EVENTS / FILM

Lawrence Hopper


November 2, 2010

BTW if you like to listen to our program, you can download the rar-file with the three parts by megaupload. Here is the link.  It's a large file with about 150 MB. When it's downloaded you can extract it with winzip or winrar. It's not all Country Music some tunes are Irish and 2 or 3 are German.

(Anne Greb)


November 8, 2010

I have been going through some of my late father's possessions including old LP's and have come across something that I believe may be of some value. It's a collection of 78 LPs from the Sons of the Pioneers. There is a 3- LP album from 1952 entitled "A Garden of Roses" with a personal inscription to my father on the cover signed by Tim Spencer of "The Sons of the Pioneers' and dated April 11, 1952.

There are 5 additional SOTP 78 LPs with the above album. One side of one of the LPs is entitled "Wind" by Bob Nolan and has a label which says "Special Purpose Series" and "Not for Sale". Another 78 has a hand-written label which says "Stampede" and "Roy & Sons", with Roy obviously referring to Roy Rogers; back of this record is embossed in very large letters "RCA VICTOR". Perhaps this was an early demo or special recording of the song before it's release which I believe was in 1950. My father was also in show business and knew Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers.

Any idea if these are of any value?
Thank you.
Jan Putnam


We have created a page for folks like you to advertise Sons of the Pioneers-related items for sale.  I know you'd like to get an idea of how much to ask for your recordings and I think Fred Sopher might be able to advise you or know someone who will.



November 25, 2010

The OTRR Library recently updated their selection of 10-2-4 Ranch with a bunch of new episodes, including one that isn't on your transcription list. However, it has the same episode number and date (#165, 02/05/43) as one of yours but the songs are completely different. It includes these songs:

"Song of the Bandit" led by Dick Foran
"There's An Old Enchanted Mesa" (?) sung by Martha Mears
"Sky Ball Paint" led by Pat Brady
"Yippi-Yi, Yippi-Yo" led by Dick Foran with the Pioneers yodeling
An instrumental (a medley, I think)
"The Glendy Burke" (Stephen Foster) led by Bob Nolan

- Elisabeth


December 8, 2010

Hello Elizabeth: I receive and try to answer questions from all over the world. A person just sent me some lyrics that I think were written by Bob Nolan (one of my all-time favorite song writers).
Here are the lyrics:

There's lots of girls I've known
Who could thrill me through and through,
From the rollin' hills of Texas
To the Valley of the Sioux.
But the one that's on my mind,
Is the one I left behind...

Any ideas? Thanks,
Marshall Trimble
Official Arizona State Historian

Scottsdale Community College
9000 E. Chaparral Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85256-2626
Phone (480) 423-6314email: marshall.trimble@sccmail.maricopa.edu

website: www.marshalltrimble.com


I'm sure the reason you think Bob Nolan wrote the song you mention below is because the Sons of the Pioneers recorded it in October 1947. Bob didn't write the song. It's called "A Calico Apron and a Gingham Gown" and it's written by Andy Parker and L. Everett.


December 9, 2010

 My grandpa is who turning 100 on Dec 17 talks frequently about the beautiful song "Release Me" sung by Festus with the Sons of the Pioneers at the Cheyenne rodeo decades ago I thing in 1947. Would you have the recording or know how to go about getting it?


The Sons of the Pioneers did not record "Release Me" commercially. They sang hundreds of songs on stage that they didn't record and, if Festus (Ken Curtis) sang this song with the Pioneers, it would have been beautiful. No wonder your grandfather remembers it. It would have been in the early 1950s.


December 12, 2010

I was just reading the "Reflections" page of the Bob Nolan website. Very touching. I am sending my own remembrances. I have a recorded interview (audio only) with Lloyd Perryman dated June, 1972 if you would be interested. In 1975, I wrote an article on the Sons of the Pioneers, published nationally in Country Music Magazine. (April, 1975). Keep up the great work on the Bob Nolan website. Sincerely, Wayne Forsythe



December 21, 2010

Saw the video of Roy Rogers' final appearance with the current Sons of the Pioneers which put Bob Nolan on my mind. So I went to the internet and typed in Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers and eventually got to this page. Bob Nolan's talent as a western (NOT COUNTRY) singer, song writer/poet is unsurpassed. Even though the Sons of the Pioneers continued as a group after his retirement, they never attained the sound that was uniquely Bob Nolan. I have just about worn out all my tapes and CDs so need to find a source to replace them. I am only interested in those recorded while Bob Nolan was with the group. (unsigned)


Please check out our Discography section. Perhaps it will aid your search for Sons of the Pioneers / Bob Nolan recordings. Don't forget to check for radio transcriptions from 1934 - 1049 on the Internet. Many old time radio sites sell CDs of these transcriptions.