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Rusty Richards

(songwriter and member of the Son of the Pioneers from 1963-1984)


"Bob gave us songs worth singing, about a world worth singing about."


The Jenny Richards Memorial Voice Scholarship

Rusty Richards Albums

Casey Tibbs: Born to Ride by Rusty Richards


I know that I will always owe a debt of gratitude to Bob, as well as to the other members of the Sons of the Pioneers. The group was forming the year I was born and took the name "Sons of the Pioneers" the following year, 1934, as you know. Therefore, there has never been a time for me when there was not a Sons of the Pioneers. Bob's music has been as much a part of my world as grass, trees, horses, cattle, fresh air, and sunshine.


I can't honestly say I never dreamed that I'd one day become a member of the group because that's exactly what I did do, and at a very early age. I will never forget the first time I stood before a large audience having just sung the opening theme "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" and in response to tremendous applause, heard Lloyd say, "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We are the Sons of the Pioneers...." There was no doubt in my mind that everyone else on stage were the Sons of the Pioneers - Lloyd, Dale, Roy and Pat. But me? Well, there I was, and no one came up and said, "Get off the stage." As a matter of fact, the audience was great to me as they have been ever since.


Needless, to say, I'm proud of every member of the Sons, past and present. And I'm grateful to all of them for enriching my life with the music I love. Bob's contribution to the success of the group was enormous. Not only for writing so much of the music, but also for the winning sound he gave the group with his unique voice.


I realize more as I write this brief letter that, even if I continue to write until my letter became as thick as the phone book, I would surely not be able to describe all the ways that Bob has affected my life. But the ways would include such things as my young wife, Amy, putting a stack of Pioneer albums (given to me by Tim Spencer) on to play while our first baby, Jenny, napped or listened quietly. Either she or I continued to do this for each of our next three children, Jason, Molly and Amy Jo, as well.


Or sitting in a motel room someplace with some good friends like Dick Goodman, Joanie Hall, Hi Busse and Pete Logan, and marvelling at the great lyrics and beautiful melodies that Bob wrote as we tried our best to sound like the Pioneers.


Or looking at a Robert Wagoner painting and feeling a love of nature and the West that Bob's music did so much to inspire.


Or, driving down a highway somewhere in Canada in Roy Lanhams' bus as he rode shotgun, Pat Brady cooked some lunch on the stove and Lloyd Perryman and Dale Warren patiently taught me my part to "A Summer Night's Rain".


Or, way back back before I joined the Pioneers, going to see the Dodgers play the Mets with Ken Curtis and, as people passed all around us, Ken stood with one hand on my shoulder and the other on Amy's and sang so only we could hear, "The Mystery of His Way". What a way to hear the song for the first time! It was marvellous!


The list of memories and friends goes on and on. There's no way of placing a value on these things as they are priceless. How do you put a price on the great feeling I've had so many times, as Roy Rogers said, "These guys are more like brothers to me," as he introduced us.


Yes, I have a lot to be grateful for and a great deal of the gratitude I owe to Bob Nolan. I know my debt to him will never be fully paid but perhaps I can begin by pledging to do my part in seeing to it that, as Dale [Warren] has said so many times since Bob's passing, "His songs will live forever."


He gave us songs worth singing, about a world worth singing about. (Pioneer News No. 10-13, Page 3)



Bob Wagoner, as many of you know, is one of the great western artists in our whole country. He likes to go up in the Sierras and look for inspiration in the beauty of the Sierras but he takes with him music from the Sons of the Pioneers, plays the music and looks for inspiration for the paintings. He went up there one time and he came up with a gorgeous painting. It’s a cowboy leading a packhorse and he’s down in the bottom of the canyon and the light coming down through the Sierras behind and it’s called “Following the Stream” from “I Follow the Stream”. Well, I couldn’t resist that painting, told Amy about it. We got her up there and she looked at it and it was, uh, it hangs on our wall at home.

But we took the painting up to show it to Bob and he just looked at it and he said, “That thing is magnificent.” And I said, “Bob, would you sign the back of the painting, please?” and so on the back it says, “To Rusty and Amy. So you have the same choice of artists as me.”

The photograph down here with Bob – I’m holding the sheet music while he’s reading something off and singing it – in case you’re curious, that was “Three Friends Have I”, one of his relatively new songs that he was showing me in the backyard, there. That’s the day that we took the painting down of Bob Wagoner, and showed it to Bob. When he signed that. (Rusty Richards, Nov. 15, 1996)


Left: Bob Nolan, Bill Bowen and Rusty Richards with a Robert Wagoner painting titled "Following the Stream" after Nolan's song, "I Follow the Stream". Rusty and his wife, Amy, have the painting.

Right: Bob introduces "Three Friends Have I" to Rusty.



September 30, 2006


Hi Elizabeth,
            I just wanted to drop you a note to say thank you for the wonderful work you have done to honor our friend the late great Bob Nolan.
            Hugh McLennan sent me a CD of Spirit of the West, part one, and I played it yesterday and it is wonderful. The Memories that Dick Goodman shared are terrific and I loved reading them also. I treasure the times I spent with Bob and love the great legacy of western songs he wrote. He was a great source of inspiration for me.
            Thank you again Elizabeth.
            My best,

            Rusty Richards





Jenny Richards Memorial Voice Scholarship
        The First Annual Jenny Richards Memorial Benefit Recital was held at Irvine Valley College on February 7 2009, to raise funds for the endowment of the Scholarship in Jenny's name––The Jenny Richards Memorial Voice Scholarship––for vocal students at Irvine Valley College.
For those unable to attend, we would like to encourage you to send a donation, no matter how small, to Irvine Valley College 5500 Irvine Center Drive, CA 92618. Your donation should be made out to The Jenny Richards Memorial Voice Scholars hip Fund. it would be greatly appreciated by all of us who love her and appreciate all that she did with her talent! Irvine Valley College main phone number: (949) 451-5100
        Jenny attended Irvine Valley College where she graduated with high honors and received a substantial scholarship to Chapman University where she graduated with honors and a bachelor's degree in music. Some of her beloved teachers at Irvine Valley College, notably Jan Wyma, and Frank Pangborn, saw fit to honor her with this Memorial Vocal Scholarship. There are only two student Scholarships at Irvine Valley College; and Jenny's is the only vocal scholarship. We are so very grateful for this tribute to Jenny.
        Amy and Rusty Richards


Link to one of Jenny's songs on YouTube.



The song you are listening to is "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" featuring Rusty Richards and the American Cowboys:

        I was digging through some old rehearsal tapes from 1986 featuring Rusty Richards, Bob Wagoner, and me and came across these two songs. This was a trio we put together especially for an annual Western film festival being held in Ogden, Utah back in the '80s. Rusty had been appearing there previously conducting seminars on the songs that were used in Roy's movies. His seminars were so well received that he asked Bob and me to join him at the 1986 event with some three-part harmony. (Dick Goodman)












The Western Way, Fall, 2015, pp 14-15




2 Rusty Richards Albums Available:



01. Middle Hand Road

02. Molly Darlin'

03. Sylvie

04. Scarlet Ribbons

05. Quarrels (are a Sad, Sad Thing)

06. The Riddle Song (I Gave My Love a Cherry)

07. The Rovin' Gambler

08. Cry of the Wild Goose

09. The Convict and the Rose

10. The Letter Edged in Black

11. China Nights (Shina No Yuro)

12. Red River Valley

13. Don't Let Me Down

14. Diamond in the Rough

15. St. Louis Blues







01. Ghost of Serrano Ridge

02. Fence Rider

03. Wild Wolves

04. Yellow Jacket

05. Texas Girl

06. Stampede

07. Early Mornin' Trails

08. Casey Tibbs (South Dakota Cowboy)

09. Crazy One

10. The Last Cowboy






Another album Rusty hasn't released yet:



01. Jim's Marker

02. Take Me Home, Lord

03. I Long to go Back to Wyoming

04. I Love America

05. Night Hawk

06. Take a Last Look at the Clown

07. It's Never Too Late to be a Cowboy

08. Viejo

09. Back when the Longhorn was King

10. White Water River

11. Gettin' High on Life

12. Old Pioneers


(To find out more about these albums, write Rusty at workcowboy@aol.com)

Casey Tibbs: Born to Ride by Rusty Richards (The following ad courtesy of Rusty & Amy Richards)

        Exciting news! Rusty Richards, lifetime Modjeska Canyon resident, cowboy, entertainer, singer, songwriter, horse-trainer and local icon has just published the biography of his friend, the legendary World Champion Cowboy, Casey Tibbs. This limited edition hardbound book can be ordered now to ensure your copy.
        We expect to receive the books in November, so these will also make great gifts. Rusty will be signing all of these beautiful hardbound books, so order now.


        Rusty Richards brings tears to your eyes, laughter to your heart and joy to your soul in Casey Tibbs––Born to Ride the story of his friend, the legendary rodeo cowboy, Casey Tibbs.
        Born in a cabin with a sod roof, at thirteen Casey ran away from home and his goal was to become, "The best damned bronc rider that ever lived!" He became rodeo's first Super Star. Nine times World Champion and his record of six Saddle Bronc titles still stands. Casey Tibbs elevated rodeo to a respected sport, and he is the Father of National Finals Rodeo! Richards authorized biography covers Casey's life from his childhood through his meteoric rise to the top; his practical jokes and love of laughter, his generosity, movie career and world tours promoting rodeo, yet doesn't hide his battles with alcohol and gambling. If you knew him you will visit an old friend, if you didn't, you will meet a man worth knowing!
        "Casey Tibbs touched a lot of people, he was larger than life. That Rusty Richards has a way with words, is like saying Casey Tibbs could ride a bronc. It’s appropriate that Casey’s biography has been written by a cowboy who is his equal." (Baxter Black, Cowboy, Poet, Humorist)

Mail your check for $29.99 today to:


Rusty Richards
P.O. Box 807
Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678