Marilyn and Wesley Tuttle
These are excerpts from a telephone interview that Elizabeth McDonald arranged with Wesley and Marilyn Tuttle on July 13, 1999, to discuss their memories of Bob Nolan. The song on this page is Bob Nolan's version of Dragnet's theme, "Manhunt", the song to which Marilyn refers below:
I met Bob Nolan the first time strictly as a fan. In those days I as working with two other radio programs – one was Jack LeFevre of The Texas Outlaws. I was with both him and his brother, Jimmy LeFevre. I was doing a radio program about 2 blocks down from his apartment and I could go right up to his house and he had just bought the first home recording machine. I'd go up there and he could sing with me and we'd sing and make these wax records. Later on I even brought some other guys up there and we did some things with him and it sounded just like the Pioneers.
Carl Pitty, a good friend of mine, could play the fiddle pretty much like Hugh Farr. Another boy, Panhandle Slim, could play like Karl Farr. He had a guitar just like him, in fact, a special Martin guitar with a thinner neck than most guitars. The three of us worked together with Jimmy LeFevre and His Saddle Pals. So, I'd take these guys up with me and we'd sit there and we'd make these things. I wish I had the copies that were as clean as like when we did them but they were paper records that you recorded on these first home machines. I kept them all. I've got them all and I did try to put them off and onto a reel-to-reel thing I was putting together several years ago. It's interesting but it's not great.
Bob was very strange. He didn't want people to like him enough to where they wanted to be around him. He was strange like that. But when he took to anybody, he took to them and he did take to me. I don't know why. I don't know if it was because I played a guitar left-handed and only had 2 fingers or what it was. It might have attracted him. But also he found out that I could do anything he could do as far as singing and knowing harmonies and all that. That kind of gave us something in common. And he found out I wasn't trying to shaft him for anything and we became friends. He stayed warm to us right up to when he died. He had good friends and I was lucky to be one of them.
He was a loner. Somebody'd say, "Give me your address." "I don't want to give you my address." "I want to come...." "I don't want you to come to see me." (He'd do that to people. He had a cabin up in the mountains.) "Hey! Where are you?" "I don't want you to know." He'd just flat tell them!
I remember one thing Bob told us at the Ray Whitley Memorial service on February 28, 1979. He said, "I write every day. All the songs that I write are in the garage and nobody ever sees them."
Lou Dinning of the Dinning Sisters, Rose Lee Maphis and I recorded "Tumbling Tumbleweeds", "Cool Water" and "Manhunt" with him on July 3, 1953. Bob sang very softly although you wouldn't know it from the recording. I always thought he had this robust voice and I think he did use a more robust voice with the Pioneers but in this particular session, his voice was very soft. He was very subdued.
Wesley Tuttle Born December 13, 1917, Lamar, Colorado, USA
Died September 29, 2003 (aged 85)
Tuttle, who was inducted into the Western Music Hall of Fame in 1997, died of heart failure in a nursing home in Sylmar. He lived in San Fernando.