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Barton Clark (1925-2016)

(Photo taken at Christmas, 2006)

 

Montreal was not a mecca for western music during my teenage years in the late thirties and early forties.  The music of the big bands was all the rage even though the most popular Canadian artists, Hank Snow and Wilf Carter (Montana Slim), made periodic trips to Montreal to record for RCA Victor.  My main interest was sports.  (football, track and baseball, but especially hockey)

Each summer I spent several weeks on the farm of my uncle and aunt with their quiver of kids (eventually 13) in the middle of New Brunswick.  Old time square dance music and the songs of Wilf and Hank captured my attention.  When I came back to the big city, I dialed all over the radio to find country music.  Two stations stand out in my memory - one in Fort Wayne and the other in northern Vermont - as building blocks in my love for western music.

One day I rode my bike from Verdun, a suburb of Montreal, a distance of about four miles to downtown Montreal to seek out country music records.  The highlight was the purchase of a second hand copy of "Salt River Valley" by the Pioneers.  (still in my collection.)   I was hooked by that rendition to be a lifelong Pioneer fan.

The station in northern Vermont played various songs from the Symphonies of the Sage transcriptions and that's where I was introduced to many new Pioneer songs.  During the later second world war years, I was stationed in Toronto.  It was there that I was able to purchase all the Sons' folios which are still in my possession.

What a thrill it was to be walking along a street in a small town in Nova Scotia while I was stationed there and notice a Decca release in the window announcing "Cool Water" backed by "So Long to the Red River Valley."  This 78RPM, still in my possession, made me take notice of Bob Nolan in a big way.  Always a lover of things in nature, the beauty of this song really opened up new vistas in music for me.  The years that have followed have only intensified my love of his songs.

 

Take a trip to New York City. Look for sheet music of the songs of Bob Nolan. Try to locate Bob's publisher. Hope to be greeted by a popular music composer. Come away with six of Bob's obscure songs. Wow! Does this really happen in real life? Yes, it did. When I walked into the music publisher's establishment, I was greeted  by Dick Manning, the composer of "I Still Feel the Same about You" which was recorded by the Pioneers. He told me that I looked like one of the Pioneers, and before I left, I had in my hands the sheet music to "The Broken Heart Waltz," "Crossroads," "Desolation," "Empty Arms," "A Sailor Dreams" and" Stray Wind." Oh, I forgot to mention - there was no charge.

 

 

        Barton Clark has constantly promoted Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers. He gave us the sheet music for "Let Me Share Your Name" and a Bob Nolan song we had been unable to find, "Crossroads".  We are grateful for his generosity and knowledge of the Sons of the Pioneers.

        He has a huge collection of sheet music and recordings which he willingly shared with us.

        We have placed his page in the Recollections section because, although he did not meet Bob Nolan face to face, he did correspond with him. Barton is one of the rare persons lucky enough to have a note from that notoriously poor correspondent, Bob Nolan.

        Barton passed away on March 22, 2016 at the age of 90. We will miss him.

 

Barton CLARK


News Death Notice(Published in Springfield News-Sun on Mar. 24, 2016)

CLARK, S.A. Barton 90, of Springfield, went to be with the Lord on March 22, 2016 at Forest Glen Health Campus. He was born on November 20, 1925, in Montreal, Canada, to Gordon Clark and Ethel (Barton) Clark. Mr. Clark received a Masters of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Seminary in Massachusetts. He served as a pastor for 10 years in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Barton was a high school English Teacher for 20 years in New York and locally was Principal of Springfield Christian Schools from 1981-1983. He was the coordinator for the "Golden Gater" ministry at Southgate Baptist Church for more than 10 years. Barton was an avid Cincinnati Reds and Bengals fan, a collector of old Western music, especially Roy Rogers and Sons of the Pioneers. Barton always enjoyed having family gatherings. In February 2015, Barton was preceded in death by his wife Mildred Clark of 65 years, and was also preceded in death by his parents and step-mother, Winifred Clark. He is survived by four children and their spouses: Glenna and Robert Bergey of Pennsylvania; Russell and Marlene Clark of Springfield, Charlene and Mark Brady of Michigan; and Calvin and Carol Clark of Brazil; ten grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. at Southgate Baptist Church, 2111 South Center Blvd., Springfield, with Pastor Bobby Hile officiating. Friends may call from 1-2:00 p.m. prior to the service. Burial will be in the Rose Hill Burial Park.