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Chant of the Plains (I Need You)

(Bob Nolan)


All through the prairie I wander.

Night falls and I long for you.

Everything here in Godís Garden

Shares my longing, too.



Listen to the prairie weave a song from a wail,

Listen to him blend it with the nightingale,

Winginí up above where the dark clouds sail and fly.

I need you.

Listen to the rhythm of the padded feet,

Stealiní through the desert, hear his wild heart beat,

Searchiní for his love and my heart repeats his cry,

"I need you."

Far in the distance hear that note

Itís born of a call in a savage throat who waits a mateís reply.

Listen to the moaniní of the wind on its way,

Everything he touches, see it bend and sway,

Seem to pledge a love and send him on his way, thatís why

I need you.


                Note: In the transcription, the following verse was added and does not appear in the song folio:


Each liviní thing bows in sadness

Flowers of crimson and blue

They need the sunshine for smiliní

Darliní, I need you.


         "Chant of the Plains" is one of Bob Nolan's loveliest evocative compositions and one of his earliest. It was not written for a movie, he wrote it for himself. "Chant of the Plains" was registered for copyright on June 15, 1936 and the sheet music was first published in "Songs of the Prairie Folio No. 3", 1937 01 09 Cross & Winge, Inc.

         It was not recorded commercially until 1960 for RCA Victor. Although many Sons of the Pioneers' fans object to the French horn in their later recordings, it does make us feel the vastness and loneliness of the desert. All previous arrangements - the radio transcriptions for Standard in 1935, Rex Allen shows, Smokey the Bear and the Lucky U program - did nothing for the song. One transcription made for the 10-2-4 Ranch show is the exception. Featuring Martha Mears, we hear the actual melody in this recording. For some reason, the Sons of the Pioneers neglected to record it for their popular Orthacoustic "Symphonies of the Sage".



1935 Standard Radio transcription (Bob Nolan vocal)

c. 1945 10-2-4 Ranch (Martha Mears vocal)

1951-53 Lucky U program (Tommy Doss vocal)

1951-53 Lucky U program

Rex Allen Show

c. 1953 Rex Allen Show (Tommy Doss vocal)

c. 1955 Smokey the Bear program (Tommy Doss vocal)

1960 12 RCA Victor (Tommy Doss vocal)


Robert Wagoner

Lobo Rangers (Patty Bourne vocal)


Chords by Carlos Fiorelli

TRANSCRIPTIONS that have "Chant of the Plains"

"Songs of the Prairie Folio No. 3", 1937 01 09 Cross & Winge, Inc.


Chords by Carlos Fiorelli



Standard Radio transcription #3062, 1935

Teleways Transcriptions: #9-59-158-224

Lucky U Programs courtesy of Larry Hopper:

15 November 1951. Transcription Disc TR-93, 94
7 January 1952. Transcription Disc TR-178, 179
4 April 1952. Transcription Disc TR-312, 313
19 May 1952. Transcription Disc TR-373, 374
4 November 1952. Transcription Disc TR-547, 548
6 January 1953. Transcription Disc TR-636, 637


Smokey the Bear: 1955: Show #5

                           1958: Show #5