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Peter & Anne Greb

(Germany)

As I took some time to browse and read through the Reflection page again it came to my mind that the Sons of the Pioneers have a special meaning to me and Peter also – not only that we like their music very much: It was due to a special radio program about the 50th anniversary of their founding that we decided to get married. But let me tell you the whole story:

Peter and I met for the first time in April 1982 at a big Country Music Festival in Frankfurt/Main. After that we exchanged letters and had long lasting phone calls as we lived nearly 200 km from each other. We found out that we both loved the SOPs very much and during one of these phone calls we had the idea that we would like to present “our” Country Music on a local radio station. Peter arranged a meeting with the presenter of the Country Music program and we decided to do a special on the SOPs as their 50th anniversary was coming soon. In April 1983 we were invited to do that show and the presenter introduced us as ANNE & PETER GREB though we weren’t married at that time. We didn’t correct him during the show. Afterwards we told him that he was wrong on that point. But we felt that it wasn’t so wrong at all.

Later that evening Peter or I (I really don’t remember who was first with that idea) ask: what about putting our LP collections together, sharing an apartment and getting married. Well, we did. In October 1983 we got married and we will celebrate our silver anniversary this year. We invited all our friends  and also the radio presenter, who introduced us by mistake as married – he is still a friend of ours. Later he played “Have I Told You Lately that I Love You” by the Sons of the Pioneers in his program  and announced our marriage. Since then this song and the Sons of the Pioneers have a special meaning to us. Now we have two daughters, sometimes they like Country Music too. And they were raised on country music with Cool Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds as lullaby and they know who Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers are.

And I assure you this story is true. Strange things happened now and then. And it was just at the end of last year when we discovered the Bob-Nolan-website while preparing again a special radio show for the SOPs now for their 75th anniversary.

We never had the chance to see or meet members of this wonderful singing group personally, but they still have special meaning to us.

Well, these were just some fond memories that came to my mind. Reading on the website is always a journey  back to the past. But I think it’s very important to keep these stories, memories and facts and write them down before they were lost for ever.

A lot of knowledge from the early days of radio and television etc. will be lost forever because more and more people who had lived in that time will pass on in the near future. And there are still so many interesting stories to tell. I once wrote to O.J. Sikes the reason why I like his radio program on www.bostonpete.com so much, is,  because he knows so many interesting facts and stories to the songs to tell. 

Being a Country Music and especially a Western Music lover is and was no easy thing here in Germany. The Cowboy Music hasn’t the background as it has in the USA. We couldn’t see the B-Western on Saturday mornings in the cinema. Gene Autry, Tex Ritter and Roy Rogers had no chance to become our heroes. But we had “Gunsmoke”, “Bonanza”, “High Chapparell” and “Big Valley” etc. on TV.  We learned Country Music from the American Forces Network Radio (AFN) in Frankfurt. We still remember Gene Price’s Country World, The American Country Countdown with Bob Kingsley or the “Old Silver Fox” Sgt. Gary Thompson. Peter and his friend were sometimes guests in his early morning show. And there were the NCO Clubs with Country shows. A great time to meet people like Tommy Cash, Tommy Overstreet, Susan Raye and many others live in the great atmosphere of these clubs.  Johnny Cash and Elvis were well known because they spent some time as soldiers in our country. Elvis lived 50 km from here. Later Don Williams, John Denver and Emmylou Harris became household names in our country as they toured in Europe regularly. But not Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan or the Sons of the Pioneers. And that is the fact still today. In the 70s and 80s the country scene in Germany changed a little bit and there were some local radio stations with special Country Music shows in their program. We took the chance to present our favorite artists like SOP in some of these shows. And there were a few TV shows with a well-known presenter in our part of the world: Freddie Quinn. He brought people like Ken Curtis, Amanda Blake, Grandpa Jones and Bobby Bare on stage to name only a few of them. But that was only for a short period o time.  Most of the great stars never come or came to Europe. And since a lot of army basis have been closed the “NCO-Club scene” is also gone. Even AFN Frankfurt/Main has been closed.

But today in the times of internet everything is much easier for the country fans around the world. You can get in touch easily via email and listen to people like O.J. Sikes with “Western Music Time” on www.bostonpete.com or Marvin O’Dell with “Around the Campfire” on www.heartlandpublicradio.org who keep the great Western music and the stories alive. And from these programs we’ve learnt that there are still singers and musicians who sing and record Western Music. A lot of new names have been introduced to us this way. And we’ve made a lot of new friends this way.

 Kind regards from Germany

ANNE Strolchlat@aol.com

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