"Old friend? We’re glad to have you back again.
"And where have you been so long?”
(Photo by Robert Wagoner)
Bob Nolan's daughter, Bobbie Mileusnich, discovered several 78 rpm demo recordings among her father's effects. Her son, Calin Coburn, rented equipment and transferred them to cassette tape. The demos were fragile and the needle damaged them further as they were played. Bob had made these recordings himself on his own home recording equipment, accompanying himself on his little Martin guitar with an occasional whistled phrase. Bobbie made copies of this cassette for many of the Bob Nolan aficionados in the Western Music Association.
She had previously found a lyric sheet (shown above) in Bob's hand. Bob's High Sierras demo differed only from the written lyrics in that he repeated the second and third verses. We were unable to find sheet music.
The song was never recorded commercially until 1998 when Gene Davenport included it on his album, "Ghost Towns & Autumn Trails". When he originally recorded the song, Gene was unaware that a demo recording by Bob himself existed so he composed a melody for it.
I had written a melody for the lyrics, had decided to do the bridge as a recitation, and had added four lines of poetry to fill out the recitation. Bobbie called me when they discovered the tape, but this was a couple of years or so after I had released my recording. She said not to worry, that she liked what I had done, and that she simply wanted to let me know of the discovery. A side note: When I heard Bob's tape, cold chills went up my spine a couple of times because in two or three places his melody and mine, though not the same, are strikingly similar. (Gene Davenport, August 17, 2009)
Chords courtesy of