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Vagabond Whirlwinds

(Bob Nolan)


My heart goes rolling back to the lone prairie.

I’ve been gone so long,

I forgot how free that a man can be

‘Way out where the vagabond whirlwinds play.


Oh! how I miss the plains and the clear blue skies

O’er the great domain

 Where the wild hawk flies on the swirling rise,

‘Way out where the vagabond whirlwinds play.


I know the whole world may change

But one place remains

 And I know I’ll go where the whirlwind leads

For my heart’s still there

 With the windblown seeds of the tumbleweeds

‘Way out where the vagabond whirlwinds play.



        This little song was registered for copyright in 1957 09 27 Bob Nolan Music which means it was one of Bob Nolan's post-Sons of the Pioneers compositions. Bob had retired from the group in 1949 so he could dedicate the rest of his life to his music. Sadly, the song wasn't recorded until 2001 when Dave Bourne and the Lobo Rangers chose it for an album.

        “The structure of “Vagabond Whirlwinds” is a revolving progression which never seems to end…it continues to flow, like the wind. The second chord of the bridge (a III chord) leaps out and yells, ‘It’s a Nolan chord!'"  (Dave Bourne, September 8, 1998)

        Bob had an old home recording machine and he made his own wax demos or acetates on it. Many years later, his grandson rented a record player and transferred the old demos to tape. “I remember years ago, soon after Bob died, that my mom went down to see P-Nuts and brought back a box of old 78s. These records were one-time studio recordings of songs that he wrote and never were recorded [commercially]. But we went out and got a 78 record player, needles - which were hard to find - and hooked it up to a cassette recorder and recorded all the records. As you can imagine the quality was very poor. A little curl of wax built up before the needle so the sound was virtually destroyed.” (Calin Coburn, July 2, 2000)



Bob Nolan's home demo

Lobo Rangers


On the lyric sheet below, beside the word change, is typed September 29, 1998. The significance of this date is unclear.


Lyric sheet only from Roberta Nolan Mileusnich