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Bob Nolan, Bill Bowen and Rusty Richards admiring Robert Wagoner's beautiful "Following the Stream" based on Nolan's song.


I Follow the Stream

(Bob Nolan)


Have you ever roamed along by a stream that sings a song

Upon its weaviní, bendiní, ever weary, wendiní way?

Have you ever watched a beam from the moon upon a stream

Reflect on evíry ripple as it rolls and rambles on?

Then come along with me and maybe you will see

Why this roving soul of mine goesÖ


Wandering down thru the years like a brook winding on in a dream.

Somehow it leads me home if Iíll just follow the stream.

Drifting along like a leaf on the rippling waters that gleam.

Wandering where it goes and so I follow the stream.

Thru the shady nook, the leafy vale,

Beyond the waterfall Iíll find a trail that leads me on

When the twilight appears and the moon with a pale yellow beam

Guides me along as thru the night I follow the stream.


What better introduction to this song than the one Bob gave in Teleways Radio Transcription #36 in the late 1940s:


"Thereís no road map to happiness. We all wander the way of life. Donít let anyone tell you that taking this turn or that will answer all the questions. Because it wonít. Did you ever notice the course of a river? It just kind of makes up its mind about directions as it goes along, twisting and turning but always singing its way to the place it meant to go, anyway. Well, thatís pretty much the way that I feel about life. I just follow the stream.Ē


                In other words, Bob was confessing to a life of following the course of least resistance. However, as a biographer looking back over Bob's life, I can see that this may have been true in personal relationships and in the careless way he neglected his copyrights but Bob put a phenomenal amount of work into the Sons of the Pioneers for nearly 20 years. After his retirement, he followed the stream once more.

        One of the Sons of the Pioneers' favorite songs, "I Follow the Stream" was included in their first song folio, "Sons of the Pioneers Song Folio No. 1", © 1936 by CROSS & WINGE, INC. It was recorded many times, both on transcription discs and commercially. It is reported that it was used in 1935 in Columbia's "Gallant Defender" and Warner Brothers' "Romance of the West". It is not in my copy of "Gallant Defender" and we do not have a print of "Romance of the West" yet.

          Hundreds of Bob Nolan's songs were lost in a garage fire so we are constantly on the lookout for bits and pieces he left with friends. He wrote on whatever paper was handy when the spirit moved him - and left them behind. He often had his friends copy them out for him because he was embarrassed about his poor spelling. The lyric sheets below were found in a collection of Bob Nolan compositions and ephemera of Frances Shepp Irvine Longstreet, one of his close friends who also wrote an article about him. These rough copies are in his own handwriting.



1935 Standard Radio Transcription #2562

1935 03 07 Decca (their second recording session at Decca)

1940 Orthacoustic "Symphonies of the Sage" Transcriptions

Thesaurus Transcriptions

c. 1942 unidentified transcription

c. 1947 Teleways Transcriptions

1951 11 30 Lucky U Transcriptions

1950s Smokey the Bear Transcriptions

1966 01 18 RCA Victor

Ken Curtis

Robert Wagoner also recorded the song and it was the inspiration for his beautiful painting, "Following the Stream" which now belongs to Rusty Richards.


TRANSCRIPTIONS with "I Follow the Stream"


Bob's original working copies




Typed copy of the lyrics from the repertoire box.



Standard Radio Transcription #2562, 1935

Orthacoustic "Symphonies of the Sage (064447)

NBC Thesaurus LPT 1611 courtesy of Wallace Smith

Teleways Transcriptions: #3-36-135-174-202-249

Lucky U Programs courtesy of Larry Hopper:

    30 November 1951. Transcription Disc TR-125, 126
    3 December 1951. Transcription Disc TR-127, 128
    28 February 1952. Transcription Disc TR-260, 261
    4 November 1952. Transcription Disc TR-547, 548

Smokey the Bear 1955:  Show #9