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Q&A 2006


August 8, 2006

Wow! This is so awesome! Long overdue! The site is looking great, I check it out every day! A little correction for you on the "photos" page, there's a publicity still that says Yellow Rose of Texas, actually that photo is from Lights Of Old Santa Fe. Just a few months ago at my Tuesday nite Nolan tribute show someone asked if there was a Nolan website! I'll give it a good plug every time I'm onstage! Tell Calin to keep up the good work, and I know it requires a lot! I'm personally interested in the bios of Bob's parents and brother. To me, as far as photos go, anything from Bob's retirement years I'd like to see on the site. When did Bobbie pass away?? And Peanut's too? - John Fullerton, MO

You keep up the good work, too, John. You are doing a superb job of keeping Bob Nolan's memory alive. Thank you for the photo correction. (We need lots of editors.) Bobbie Nolan Mileusnich died of lung cancer on January 31, 2000, at the age of 71, leaving one child, Calin Coburn, and his two sons, Miles and Connor. P-Nuts predeceased her on April 15, 1994 at the age of 83.


I love your website.  I was born in '55 and was introduced to Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers by my grandpa.  He was a cowboy in his younger day and played a bit of self taught fiddle and sang.  I remember sitting at his old phonograph and listening to 78s of the Sons, Roy, Gene, Patsy Montana, T Texas Tyler and some less famous names that I have forgotten.  I loved them all, but even as a kid I found something special about Bob Nolan.  His voice, his writing and the character he played in film.   

I remember finding the record he did in his later years - Songs of a Pioneer.  Even in his later years he had a beautiful and captivating voice.  He captured beautifully the themes of love of the outdoors and  the bittersweet passage of time.  Man Walks Among Us and That Old Outlaw Time and when Marty Robbins sings in the background.  Beautiful!

I don't live in the west anymore, but I made sure my children listened to music I loved.  Would it surprise you to know there are young people today that know about Bob Nolan?  I have a cd of early Sons and my 21 year old daughter and I love to go for Sunday drives and sing along -" too high can't get over it, too low can't get under it, too wide can't get around it - you must come in at the door."  It makes me smile just to think of it.

I know this is a rambling email - sorry.  I just want you to know I have loved and admired your grandfather all my life and still do.  I was in an antique store just last week and they had old postcards and the very top one was of Bob Nolan.  It made me happy to pick that up and smile back at him.  I hope he had a happy life.  I think artists as talented as he was probably have melancholy times.  I think that is why they are able to produce such lovely poetry.

Thanks  for this website.


September 3, 2006
Bob Nolan has left us with what he wanted to share. I will remember not Bob Nolan the B movie actor, but Bob Nolan the writer. His songs mean a lot to me. Great songs are like great books, paintings, sculpture, and movies. They cause you to think more about yourself and mankind and nature. I personally believe it is better to concentrate on how Bob's songs affect you rather than trying to read something about Bob in them. Songs impress all people differently. We should not take them literally as the concrete beliefs of Bob Nolan. Maybe we should accept them as they are and what they bring to us individually. Bob Nolan's songs have brought to me more than a brief moment of pleasure; they are something that continues with me in my life. I never tire of them. He has given us a lot and I feel he got so little in return.

Mary Rogers, Fort Collins, CO, USA.

August 20, 2006


Can you direct me to a source where I can find the whereabouts of Bob Nolan between 1942 and 1945? Specifically did he visit England to sing to the troops? I can find no reference of him having served in the military. Particularly as he was 34 in 1942. Any help would be appreciated. I have a son who lives near Raleigh in NC and I hope to visit the archive at UNC Chapel Hill later this year. Do I need any permission to do this?

Many thanks for any help
Bob Dickenson

    No, you are correct. Bob did not visit England - ever. He did not serve in the military although in 1942 he put his affairs in order and prepared to be called up. At the end of the European war the older Pioneers (Hugh, Tim, Bob and Roy Rogers) were re-classified A-1 but the war ended and they didn't go. All during the war, they did sing to the troops in America. They did a lot of entertaining for them - radio programs, personal appearances, selling of war bonds, etc. Two of the younger Pioneers were drafted: Pat Brady with Patton's army in Europe and Lloyd Perryman on the Pacific Front. Bob said the letter he treasured most came from "the submarine boys during the war who played our transcriptions while lying under the Pacific." We are delighted to hear that you are going to visit the archive at UNC. We hope you will get back to us and tell us how easy it is to access, etc. Ask for the librarian, Steve Weiss, and request to see the latest titles:

   1. "The Calin Coburn Collections, Volume 1 and 2" - photographs from Calin Coburn, plus annotations.

   2. "Bob Nolan: 1908 - 1980 Volume 1 (The Music) and Volume 2 (Appendices)".

 There are many titles in the Elizabeth Drake McDonald Collection but we have corrected and re-compiled everything into the two comprehensive volumes, "Bob Nolan: 1908-1980 Vol.1 & 2" published in 2004.


October 2, 2006

I love the Website. Tell Calin that he should be very proud of his grandfather. We fans will love to visit with Bob Nolan on a regular basis. If I find the time - I'm swamped with a new book project - I'd like to offer to write my own fan letter to Bob Nolan. Florence



Monday, October 16, 2006
I am a 67 year old "B" western fan and have been a Bob Nolan fan from the very beginning of his Charles Starrett movies. Thank you for this fine and wonderful tribute to a GREAT singer, actor and entertainer. If only there were more people like Mr. Nolan, this would have been a much better place. His music will live on forever. I never get tired of listening to him and the Pioneers sing. Certainly brings back old fond and wonderful memories growing up as a young child in the northwest Georgia mountains. Thanks again for all you have done to restore these wonderful memories.



October 27, 2006
    I never knew Bob personally. In fact I was born seven years after he died. But when I was just a little fellow about seven or eight years old I saw my first Roy Rogers movie. In the ensuing years my family collected all of his movies. The more I watched them the more I liked the well-built, handsome leader of the Sons of the Pioneers with such an enchantingly unique voice. His captivating personality seemed to come right through the screen. He was very good in a variety of roles, too. He could play a rather comical sidekick (Bells of Rosarita) a man at odds with Roy (Sunset on the Desert, Man from Cheyenne) and even managed to land a girl (Peggy Stewart in Utah) but most often was Roy's stalwart second. I watched and listened to all of them perform over and over and over.
    Then I began building a Sons of the Pioneers music repertoire. Few things gave me greater delight than to open up a present and find a one of their CDs enclosed. Listening to their music I would never cease to be amazed at the beauty, versatility, originality, and depth of Bob's songwriting techniques and musical ability. I have never tired of listening to them. As I got older and taught myself the guitar I would play and sing along with them which provided me hours of enjoyment. It is interesting to note that he not only wrote and sang (and not always the same part either) he played the rhythm guitar and bass (just how good he was can be judged by listening to I'm An Old Cowhand).
    The Pioneers and Bob in particular are responsible in a large way for my love of music, and I say this because I had basically no interest in it before becoming acquainted with them. I have never, and I have searched very thoroughly, found any other group that can compare with them vocally or instrumentally. I don't think there ever was one or that there ever will be another group like them.
    It is very sad today that Bob's music isn't listened to and sought after more. In this age when inharmonious noise is the thing and true music, for the most part, has been thrown out the window one cannot but wish for the old days when the Sons of the Pioneers were one of America's most popular musical groups. Why can't we have wholesome themes to our music like an awe of God, an immense appreciation for His creation, and a love of freedom experienced by the cowboy? This is what Bob Nolan loved and wrote about. He truly was a man with God-given talent for what he loved: music, and he has left us an unforgettable legacy. I trust that one day interest will be rekindled in the works of this great musician and his music will come back into the spotlight. Am I hoping for too much?
    Zebulon S. Long, 19



October 27, 2006 
    I did not know of your site or of you but Bobby Copeland sent it out. I have been sitting here crying, to hear Bob singing. I was a kid model and was working for Mr. Autry and the Co that made his kids' outfits when I first met Bob. I must have been all of 5 and was at Madison Square Garden NYC when I meet him and the Boys.
    I spent some time over the next few years seeing them. Bob was very special to me. He and the Boys treated a kid like he was gold. It was at a hard time in my life. I lost my dad. That was the reason for the modeling of Mr. Autry's outfit, Mr. A was also very special to me, but Bob would spend time asking me did I like that song or the other. He was Bob !!!! They let me listen to them and never said a word or told me to sit down or any thing. He would let me watch them when they were working on a new song. I can still hear them in my head. He wanted it just right when they would sing that song in the Garden, no one but me and a few of Colburn's Cowboys tending stock. They would stop and watch Tim, Hugh, Karl, Ken, Shug, yes, and Roy with Bob doing his best work making the harmony out of all that, and it still lasts to this day as the Best singing group that will ever be. Last time I seen him was when he retired and they were never the same to me after that.
    I am glad someone did this and for him and the folks who never were lucky to have heard him.
Best of luck, 

Lorenz Russomano 
PS: There will never be another one like him. 



October 29, 2006
I have Bob's 1979 release, a couple of the Bear Family SOP boxed sets, a few more double and quadruple CD compilations, a good number of single CDs and even a few old LPs of SOP in my collection. Not to mention the Roy Rogers boxed sets and single discs. I play them very often on my radio show but I am hoping to find some more gems on your web site that I have never heard before. And having the lyrics to read along with really adds a lot to the experience of listening to the music.

There is just something about Bob Nolan's compositions, his voice, and of course, the contributions of the rest of the SOP that made their music stand out so uniquely and strike such a resonate chord with the public. It was a golden time of making music that I doubt we will ever see again.

Thanks again for taking us all back to those years of the B-Westerns, the innocence, the optimism, and even the naiveté of America in a simpler time, if only for a short while, through the recollections in your fabulous Bob Nolan web site.

Charles Engel, Bend, OR
"Chuckaroo the Buckaroo"
Calling All Cowboys Radio
KPOV 106.7 FM



Tuesday, November 07, 2006
    I have seen so many movies with Bob in them that I couldn’t tell you how many there were. Some of them were of course Roy Rogers’ movies which I’d safely say I have seen them all. I have seen all the Starrett movies with Bob also. I’m relatively sure he was in other movies but I have seen so many I can’t remember them all.
    Bob had a unique type of voice which was very pleasing. While people think about Bob as a singer I saw him without a shirt on in a movie and he looked like a gymnast. No doubt he exercised a lot.
    Bob and the B-Western cowboys he starred with are responsible for many of us ‘front row’ kids growing up with a different standard of morals than what exists in movies produced after the B-Western era. Very few movies since those ‘good old days’ have any morals at all in them. God blessed us richly with Bob’s presence.
    I will check every aspect of your wonderful site, filmography, etc., and know I’ll be thrilled at what I read and see.
Joe Copeland



November 24, 2006
    Forty years ago, at the tender age of 21, I was introduced to the Sons of the Pioneers music when my sister-in-law gave my wife and I a complete set of their albums. Even though I was into rock 'n' roll at the time and had my own band, I fell in love with their cowboy songs and played them over and over.
    One distinctive voice in the group stood up above the rest. I learned it was Bob Nolan from my wife as she and her sister had been singing Bob Nolan songs from sheet music since their early teens. I particularly enjoyed Nolan's 'earthy' spiritual songs. The moved me and made me love nature as he did. Today, I have many of Bob's best songs on tape and his poignant vocals are my favorite music to this day.

Lawrence Hystad, long-time Nolan fan, Vernon, BC, Canada

December 1, 2006

I have to wait until I get home to really enjoy the website but from what I saw, it is a pretty awesome site. Feel free to use "Man Walks Among Us" on the site as I know Dad [Marty Robbins] would be more than honored. He absolutely worshipped the "Sons" and especially Mr. Nolan. It was one of the highlights of his life to get to pick and grin with the guys and especially the compliment Mr. Nolan gave him in regards to that particular song. Ronny.

Thank you very much, Ronny. Bob admired your father immensely and said he wished he had written this song himself! We wanted to include this song because the changes Bob made to it illustrate his personal philosophy.

December 9, 2006

I think it's great and I am glad you have taken the time to share it with those of us that cared about Bob Nolan - and the Sons of the Pioneers.


December 15, 2006
    I'm 64 yrs. old, born and raised in San Jose, Ca. Worked for Hewlett-Packard Co. for 30 yrs. and retired in 1999. I first heard the Sons of The Pioneers when I was about 5 or 6 yrs old. My folks listened to the country-western radio station KEEN in San Jose. The songs being aired then were Timber Trail, Cool Water, Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Ghost Riders in the Sky, etc. and it was the post war group before Bob Nolan retired. It wasn't until 1979/80 that I decided to acquire some of their albums and bought what was then available in stores; Cool Water, The Best of the Sons of the Pioneers, A Country Western Songbook. I wanted to hear their earlier work so I picked up some older LPs from an 'old records' store. From a SOP newsletter, I got the Ken Griffis book and the JEMF 102 album. It was this album for me that defined the Sons of The Pioneers.
    Around this time PBS aired a special hosted by Tennessee Ernie Ford with SOP as headliners. A local TV station began airing old Roy Rogers movies. What a treat to see the 1942 group doing Timber Trail and Song of the Rover in Yellow Rose of Texas. This was also when they were celebrating their 50th anniversary and many TV shows featured the group and I taped everything that aired.
    Since then I have acquired many things SOP. Songbooks, photos, sheet music, the Hollywood Canteen movie and the Disney movie with the Pecos Bill piece. I Have also acquired most all of the currently produced CDs.
I tend to favor the trio of Nolan, Spencer and Perryman after Len Slye became Roy Rogers and WWII broke out. But all the mixes of members over the yrs. Have their own distinctive sound and they're all good.
    We must thank Len Slye/Roy Rogers, without whose determination to put a group together and convince Bob Nolan to come back and try again, we would not have The Sons of the Pioneers. I'm happy to know that their work is preserved for posterity and won't be forgotten.

    Pete Lemmon, San Jose, CA

December 17, 2006

A great Man... and you have made a great site. Thank you. - PJR



December 18, 2006




One of the finest "dedication" sites I've come across and Bob certainly deserves it.  How about putting "I Can't Lie to Myself" in the collection.


Although Bob Nolan recorded "I Can't Lie to Myself", it wasn't one of his own songs and for that reason we haven't included it on the site. Sorry!



December 27, 2006






January 1, 2007

My name is Carlos Fiorelli, I'm from Brasil. So sorry for my english, sometimes is very hard to me. Well, I found out today the site (01-01-2007). By the way, I'm a collector of Sons Of Pioneers' CDs and Bob Nolan is my favourite Pioneer!! Well,  I don't believe in this wonderful site because a long long time I was looking for Bob Nolan's lyrics and now what a big surprise! A perfect and wonderful site about my idol! And I can download too the songs (there are some songs really rare to me yet!!)!! Oh this site is wonderful, amazing and now it’s on my principal page of my internet explore. Well, so, thank you very much for the site, is the best place about Bob Nolan and is like a dream to me...a wonderful reality now. I really thank you very much, friends, happy 2007 and congratulations Calin Coburn and Elizabeth McDonald!!



January 1, 2007

Thank you for the site. I've been trying to locate lyrics for "Trail Dreamin" for 10-15 years or longer, and finally can check what I had - "love inlaid" was all sorts of different combinations of words to me. Bob Nolan's work as a songwriter, musician and actor, deserves to be made available to all. Jim Gion



January 8, 2007

It's an amazing website. I spent half the day looking at it. It's particularly fun seeing photos taken in what is now my own actual backyard! I'm going to spend a lot more time reading everything in detail but I wanted quickly to say thanks. Great stuff.

All the best,

Jim Beaver



January 24, 2007

Richard M. Serkey, MA.

The majority of Bob's songs were poems first, Richard, and that's why they stand alone so beautifully as poetry. Just for fun, compare the lyrics of his songs to several songs by randomly-selected composers. Bob's verses are polished - even the simplest of them - and carry his meaning without music. The music was suggested by the words. He did say that at times the music came first but, since he didn't give us examples, we don't know to which songs he was referring.



January 31, 2007

I just stumbled across the web site. I have been a lover of the Pioneer's music since the 1940s. When my daughter bought a computer a year ago, the first thing I did was see if any of the Pioneer's old music was available. I was dumbfounded to see how much of their music was available. I thought I would never hear this old music again. I believe I should stop now. Maybe sometime I will continue with my recollections of listening to their music when I was young. I am now 74 years of age but I am still buying their CDs.

Martha Rosser



Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Dear Calin,
    I was feeling a bit nostalgic this morning as I saw your grandfather, Bob Nolan, on an old Roy Rogers film, "Utah" and thought I'd bring it up on the internet to see what happened to him. I always loved his music as there was a purity in it. You and I are about the same age; I graduated in 1970. So, I grew up loving the old west, horses and country songs. Back in 1998, my daughter got a paint horse and then my wife got me a Spotted Saddle Horse. I met a woman, Pat Jensen, who taught me to ride. As it turned out, her uncle on her father's side of the family was William F. Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy) and another was Casey Tibbs. Her father was a professional rodeo man, as well. Pat is still giving riding lessons and has about twenty horses she uses for her lessons here in Minnesota.
    As I was reading through your website, there was a piece that played a song called "The Outlaw - Time". I never heard that one before and wondered if it is on any recording I might be able to obtain. It hit me because we lost our 25-year-old son in 2004. As your grandfather obviously thought deep into things, so do I. This song reaches to the heart regarding the brevity of our lives. I thought as time passed my son would eventually bury me, but that didn't happen - time came to an end that day. I thought the song a beautiful, albeit, a difficult reminder for us all that we only have so much time to share with each other. God willing, I hope it brings people to see their need for a savior. You were very fortunate to have time with your grandfather...those precious moments that cannot be put into words.
    Grace to you and your family, Calin. Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.

Ron Thames, Minnesota.

The song you are looking for, Ron, is "That Old Outlaw – Time" by Cliff Crofford. Bob sang it on his last album, "Bob Nolan – the Sound of a Pioneer" (ASIN: B000056WHJ), which has recently been re-issued on CD. You can see it on our Discography page.



February 6, 2007

Got the address from a fellow Sons of the Pioneers admirer. Great site and long overdue for a great songwriter and composer. Gives me all sorts of information I didn't have until this time. Also great pictures. Will visit it frequently. Thanks from a Dutch fan.

Ad Slaats

February 8, 2007

I've been meaning to write you since I discovered the Bob Nolan website. Thank you for your labors to set up this most enjoyable website. I really do enjoy browsing in it and listening to the songs. There are some I have never heard before or versions I have never heard. It is so tragic that you can find so few of his songs. I wish you well in your search for more. I have quoted a couple of his songs in sermons. "That Old Outlaw, Time" was a good illustration of the need to use the time we have that the Lord gives us hope about how to use it. It is not on your list so I guess it is not one of his. There are some verses in the Psalms that go with "Cool Water". I cannot locate my notes right now to tell you what they are.

Charlie Murphy, Pastor


You are correct, Charlie. Bob Nolan included that song on his last album but it was written by Cliff Crofford. Ironically, a year later that old outlaw, Time, beat Bob, too.



February 18, 2007

All I can say is I love this site. I've been a fan of the "original" Sons for years. I have Roy Rogers movies but only the ones with the Sons in them. I've got as many recordings as I can find but only with the original group. I'm not interested in anything after Bob and Tim retired. I play the music constantly at home and in my car. This site is full of information I have always wondered about like Bob's daughter and first wife, etc. The Pat Brady story is so sad. The two books I have on the group are good but "Hear My Song" is very short on biographical information. Nothing cheers me up more than putting on a movie and seeing and listening to Roy, Dale, Gabby and the Sons of the Pioneers. I hope there will be more information on Tim Spencer as he is a favorite of mine. I'm amazed at the wealth of photos and they're great to look at. Keep up the good work; this site is great fun.



February 24, 2007

Just looking at your co-worker and friends page. There are a few errors. The picture you have captioned as Peggy Stewart is Beverly Lloyd from the film Utah. She was Bob's love interest. Bob Livingston's name does not have an "e" on the end. The picture captioned Onslow Stevens is actually that fine actor Melvyn Douglas. Any information from the IMDB is always suspect; they are loaded with mistakes.


Thank you for pointing out the errors, Suzanne. We have made the corrections and we hope all our readers will free to correct us. Our aim is to make this site accurate in every way.



February 27, 2007

I find it a welcome addition to the history of western music. My generation is growing older. Funny thing - you do go back to those things from your youth which impressed you greatly. Bob Nolan and the music of the Sons of the Pioneers was a part of my youth as a b-western fan. Of course, you know the "b" stands for "best"! Lou Gentry



February 28, 2007

This is a great website.  Thanks for having it. I always search Bob on the internet.  I really like Bob and the Sons of the Pioneers. Are there any videos of concert performances (not movie settings)? Bill Halsing

We haven't offered any videos of concerts in which Bob performed simply because we have none. We wish we could, too! If we ever come across any, we will certainly put them on our Videos page.



March 8, 2007

Looking for older, better country music I found your site. Very interesting compared to other sites I have visited. Fred from Austin.



March 14, 2007

Beautiful website you have created, Calin. I found it very informative. How wonderful to know your grandfather's history and to create a great piece of work for him.

Lesley Booker



March 19, 2007
Howdy Liz!
When I was a young lad in Bo'ness, Scotland, my Dad used to take me to all the Roy Rogers & Trigger flics. I remember Roy singing with the Sons of the Pioneers. So in later years I bought their LP with Roy & Bob. Now I have the "Cool Water" CD which I play quite often, when I'm reminiscing 'bout the good olde days in the '40's.
I'm enjoying your website, thank you and you're not that far away; I'm in Victoria, BC.

Frank Blackley



March 19, 2007
Hi Elizabeth:

What a wonderful tribute to Bob, I'm sure he'd approve. Roy Rogers is my childhood hero as are the Sons of the Pioneers or is it The Sons of the Canadian Pioneers? Quite surprised when I found out he was a Canuck. The site certainly brought back some fond memories and a tear to my eye.

Thanks so much,

Ken Neidy



March 21, 2007

Each time I visit I find more interesting material on Bob Nolan. Your latest addition of video clips is great. I'm glad that you have created a Website to recognize this very talented writer/performer.



Monday, April 02, 2007
Hello Calin,
I come across your story with E-mail when browsing for info on the Pioneers. As a kid, back in the 30's, the Pioneers were always my favorites for real country music. In those days the only recordings were 78 RPM's of which I still have 3. They contain the following songs: Song of the Wagonmaster, Chuckawalla Swing, Rollin' Dust, Wagons West, Blue Shadows on the Trail and Pecos Bill. The first 4 were written by Stan Jones. The Pioneers were in Wickenburg (15 mi. south) in Feb. Excellent. It is wonderful that the group was able to continue with new people over the years.
Thanks for the fine work you're doing.

Buck Smith, Congress, AZ



Thursday, April 05, 2007
    I found this site while I was searching for the lyrics to "Montana" in the Net. I wanted to check if my understanding of the lyrics was correct but could not find them for a long time. One day it just popped up in my search. I have been returning, very frequently, to your site ever since. This is a great site.
    I have been a Sons of the Pioneers fan for more than forty years. When I first heard their recordings, I was in junior high school in Tokyo, Japan. Two of their songs came on the radio, namely "Cool Water" (1945 RCA Victor version) and "Carry Me Back to the Lone Prairie" (from 1961 Album "Lure of the West"). I tape-recorded both songs and listened to them over and over.
    I could not tell why, then, but their singing moved me greatly, even to the degree of getting goosebumps on my skin.
    Later, when I had opportunities to visit the US, I made it a point to visit record shops, wherever I could find them, and look for the Pioneers records, audio tapes and CD's. Now I still do the same in the Net, trying to make sure I have every CD that is available added to my collection. I read "Hear My Song" when it came out, some thirty years ago. I have read “The Sons of the Pioneers,” by Bill O’Neal and Fred Goodwin, a few years back.
    First, I could not tell which vocal was who's. First of all, Bob Nolan and Tommy Doss seemed to sound so much alike. Beside the baritone vocals, I especially liked the voice and singing style of Lloyd Perryman but could not tell who it was singing so beautifully. After forty some years of listening to their recordings, and after reading the biographies section of this site, I can now put the names, faces and voices together and tell which voice belongs to which Pioneer. Reading the Biographies section of this site has also given me better and deeper understanding of their lives, inside and outside of the singing group. Thank you very much.

Lyrics section is also great. I check the lyrics from time to time so I can appreciate Bob Nolan compositions better. Maybe this is only me (or my PC), but when I try to open "Who's Gonna Help Me Sing?, " I always end up with the page blank, no word, no sound. Could you kindly check if everything is OK?
"Dave" Masahiko Takeda

Thank you for pointing out the missing link to "Who's Gonna Help Me Sing", Dave. We appreciate it so much when our readers bring these things to our attention so we can repair them. We're happy to hear that you enjoy the Sons of the Pioneers and we hope you will let us know how our site can be be more useful. We were unable to answer your message by email - it was returned to us.



April 5, 2007

Can you tell if he ever recorded "My Mistress, the Desert". If so where can I purchase it? Than you for your time.



I'm afraid Bob did not get the chance to record his most famous long poem, My Mistress, the Desert.  He died eight short days after a friend taped him reciting the verses one summer afternoon. If it hadn't been for Bill Bowen's cassette recording, we would not have the poem at all. Bob told Bill that he had several long poems committed to memory. The two men had made plans to put them all on tape,  but it was already too late.


April 14, 2007.

Bob Nolan - A GREAT POET

Dear Calin,

    I could not believe it when I found the Bob Nolan website and the wealth of information on him. I have always been a Sons of the Pioneers fan but as I have gotten older I have grown to appreciate your Grandfather's role in their success and the sheer poetry of his lyrics.
    When I purchased the CD "BOB NOLAN (The Sound Of A Pioneer) and played it I have to say it brought a lump to my throat. His voice had mellowed some but the quality was still there.
    Please continue to keep the website going with his lyrics, he said so much in such a down to earth and easily understood way.
    Thank You Again.
 Jim Lowery, Silver Spring, MD




April 17, 2001




April 17, 2007

Dear Calin - I am a great admirer of your grandfather and the Sons of the Pioneers and am delighted with your site. I have a question - I am a singer and am about to create an album of songs, several of which are by Bob Nolan. I have found copyright links to all except for one: Rocky Roads. In the event I were to record this, I'd need to know who to contact to obtain permission. Would you be able to give me that info? Rich Flanders.


Please contact the Songwriters Guild of America, Rich. Here is the address:


Aaron Elkins
The Songwriter’s Guild of America

(Re: Music of the West)
1500 Harbor Blvd
Weehawken, NJ 07087-6732
Ph: (201) 867-7603
FAX: (201)-867-7535



April 23, 2007

Greetings from a France-based Irish singer with a group called "Tumbleweed". Can you please tell me if Bob had any Irish connections as Nolan, O'Nuallain, from Nall meaning, Shout, is positively Irish. It is my pleasure to contact you. God Bless from James Molloy.


Hello, James.
Bob Nolan does, indeed, have Irish connections but not through the name "Nolan". "Nolan" was an adopted name whereby Bob's father sought to keep his wife from their children when he left Canada for the United States. Bob's birth name was Clarence Robert Nobles, son of Harry B. Nobles and his wife, Flora. Bob's mother was Flora Elizabeth Hussey, born in Belfast in 1880. For her story, check out the following page on our site:



Howdy Calin and family,
    Thank you kindly for your inspiring and informative reply to my query re Bob's Irish heritage. Did you know Bat Masterson's mother was a McGurk from Belfast also. I am a native of Dublin, Ireland and have been living here in Les Sables d'Olone France for almost ten years. I am wed to a Frenchwoman and have an eight year old son, Cornelius James Molloy. I formed "Tumbleweed" more than six years ago. We are a trio, myself singer-yodeler and two French guitarists. We play the holiday camps, bars, some festivals, and some of the Casino's here. My repertoire includes, Lovesick Blues, Cold Cold Heart (Hank's own favourite of all his 166 recordings) Jambalaya, Hey Good Looking, Annie's Song, Take Me Home Country Road, Folsom Prison Blues, Grandfathers Clock, Whiskey In The Jar, The Wild Rover, Frankie & Johnny, The Galway Races, Cant Help Wonder Where I'm Bound, Memphis Tennessee, That's All Right Mama and other stuff. I hope soon to add Tumbling Tumbleweeds, a Ukrainian plant, to my repertoire. I sing it often at home here. Thank you again for your reply which I felt privileged to merit. Oh by the way, do you have any information on Bob's Irish Grandparents?

Happy Trails,
most sincerely,
James Molloy.


Bob Nolan's Irish grandparents are still a mystery to us, James. No, I'm afraid we know nothing at all about the Husseys before they came to Canada. A project for the future!



April 27, 2007

Hi. I just wanted to let you know I enjoy the website. I have been a fan of Bob Nolan since I was a little girl. My grandfather introduced "cowboy" music to me back in Idaho (I was born in 1955). I loved it all but I always found something special about Bob Nolan. He was immensely talented. I am so glad someone has researched his life and collected materials. jpk


May 1, 2007

Today I visited an old friend again as I do each time I access your wonderful website. It is such a fitting tribute to Bob and I'm sure its content brings as much pleasure to all his other fans and friends as it does to me. Bob would be proud and pleased at what you've done, Calin.
Dick Goodman


Dick, I want you to know that I really appreciate your comments about our site! Liz and I have worked very hard and long on building it. And it's good to hear from someone that experienced and knew my grandfather and the Sons of the Pioneers. If you ever have any ideas about additions to the site we would love to hear them. Thanks again for your generous comments!
Calin Coburn



May 10, 2007

I LOVE this new website. It is such a joy to take little breaks and enjoy a "Bob moment". Boy, his mother and he look alike, even tho I see the resemblance in his dad as well. What a sad story for such a sensitive person to live.

How does it happen that Bob has a grandson named Calin Coburn? That was a surprise to me.

I am glad you have put so much knowledge out there for the rest of us to gain deeper understanding of Bob.

Happy Trails,
Pat Simons


Thank you very much for writing, Pat, and for your good words. Calin's father's name was Ken Coburn and you will see the family pictures near the beginning of Bob's retirement years. Just follow this link and scroll down a bit:




May 10, 2007

You can be very proud of your web site. It is wonderful. I have just recently begun to watch western channels and seen old movies your grandfather was in. they were wonderful and the music still sounds as good today, as then. Kathy L.



May 13, 2007

I have been listening to Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers all my life. The music of the Sons has been such an inspiration in my life. My grandparents played their music during my childhood summers in Northern California on the Klamath River. Many years have passed and I still have these sweet memories on my playlist in my car, at home, and everywhere I go. My husband, daughter and I take mini road trips each Saturday. My daughter (age 11) insists on playing my Sons CD's the whole distance of our roadtrip. Hearing Cowboy Camp Meetin', Cool Water, Chant of the Wanderer, and especially my favorites, Wind, The Trail to San Antone, Pecos Bill, and Let's Pretend bring so many precious memories flooding back to me. Memories of a simpler time in my youth, and special moments spent with my grandparents who encouraged me to enjoy the music I enjoyed. Put it this way, it is not the kind of music that children of the 1970's (or today for that matter) would be listening to on their walkman.

Thank you for the music. It has made me who I am.


Jody Gonzalez
Prescott Valley, Arizona



May 14, 2007

Hello, Your site is great. Regards, Valintino Gucci



May 25, 2007

    I found the site by accident while searching for Bob Nolan. I love it. I am an old fan from the 30s. My first music was the Pioneers on the radio. We finally got to meet Bob the night they got their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was so kind to my mother, who had a crush on him for years. She died two months later and never stopped talking about how nice he was. He remained handsome to the end.

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend the daytime ceremony, but did attend the evening performance. We had seats in the first row directly behind the VIP section and sat directly behind Harry Carey, Jr. The show was wonderful. As I said, we got to meet Bob, who was so gracious to my mother. My sister managed to have a nice long conversation with Roy Rogers and got to go backstage. As we left, we ran into Rex Allen, who was always friendly and funny. It was a great evening for everyone. I am a SOP fan who is almost a fanatic. My home is filled with SOP memorabilia and every evening I end the day playing music of the Pioneers before retiring. To me they will always be young and the joy of listening to them will never end.
    I was glad someone finally published information on Lloyd and will be glad when the Tim Spencer site is finished. The only thing I did not care for on the site is the Cool Water recording on the feedback page. She is not a "Son" and to me the only "water" in the background should be Lloyd. I was also disappointed on the music when I checked out the Discography.

    Patricia James


Thank you very much for  your kind words, Patricia,  and for your opinion of Joni Mitchell [and Willie Nelson singing Cool Water from Joni's album "Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm"], etc, on the pages you mentioned. We understand how you feel but we wanted our readers to sample modern singers who appreciated and interpreted Bob's songs. We are waiting until one of Tim's young relatives completes the Tim Spencer page because we know only what Ken Griffis wrote in his book, Hear My Song.


May 29, 2007

I am a big fan of the Son's of the Pioneer's and bob Nolan, I grew up with the b westerns in the 50's and I still love them even today at 59, I drive my wife crazy when I watch a movie or listen to the Son's, I was wondering if I could get a picture of the son's and maybe one of bob Nolan. I would be in hog heaven if I could get those pictures. Thank you. John Mitchell

Calin has given me permission to send you two scans by email from the Calin Coburn Collection, John. Unfortunately, we are not set up yet to sell reprints although we may consider it if the demand is great enough.

June 5, 2007

It sure would be nice to be able to hear Bob's recording of other peoples work. Are you thinking of coming up with a page based around that premise? As a matter of fact, we have been thinking along those lines. One reader has requested "House of Broken Dreams", others have requested songs the later Sons of the Pioneers recorded, some want to hear Bob's solo pieces. Watch the "Updated Pages" box on our Home Page for the announcement.



June 5, 2007

Calin, my name is Jim Blasdell, a fellow musician, and certainly a lover of Bob Nolan's music. Without being aware of it, my group/band/cowboy show is now singing several of his songs. We are strictly a family show, (we have coined the word "Cowgrass,") to describe our music...which, of course, is his. Give us a look-see and a brief listen at www.coolwaters.cc Our demo CD is heard there. We do not have a CD for sale, as of yet. The CD you'll hear includes 3, possibly 4 of his songs.


Cool Waters is a serendipities coming together of three older fellows who shared, unknowingly, the same love for the music. A gentleman at church asked me to bring my guitar to a fish fry he was throwing, and sing a few songs. I invited another church friend to go and bring his guitar. The owner of the local music store was talked into participating, also, (in the south, we never turn down a free fish fry. That's just plain common sense.) Once we opened our mouths to harmonize, The Son's of the Pioneers came out of us. We stopped, shuddered a bit, the hair on the back of the neck stood-up, grinned at one another and broke into laughter, giggling and more of Bob Nolan's music. We've been doing that ever since... except for the giggling part. I only hope I have another 50 years to live so I can keep on singing the good songs.

We will promote your internet address at every show we perform and include you in every promotional piece we produce. You deserve our best efforts and Bob Nolan deserves to be remembered. It's with a grateful heart that I thank him, in spirit if not yet in fact, for the treasure he's left us and your dedication to his memory for the wonderful website you have created for all of us who remember with fondness nickel popcorn, dime Coca Colas, gum under the seats and our sweethearts in the upper balconies on Saturday mornings.... Keep it going... Jim Blasdell


We have added the link to your site on our Links page and listened to your recordings, Jim. It's fine, rich music. Thanks for keeping Bob Nolan's songs alive.



July 6, 2007

I think this is a great website and have been on it several times. I went to the "Bob sings his favorites" page and heard NOTHING. Is there a problem? I tried different songs and came up with nothing. Otherwise, this is a great site and keep up the great work. Suzanne.


Hello, Suzanne.  Each song plays on my computer and on several others I tried. I know that some tunes take awhile to load. Are your speakers turned up? Did you click on a song title? Thank you for writing and bringing problems to our attention.



July 6, 2007

I found the site while looking for Bob Nolan songs / lyrics. I became interested in Bob through listening to Bill Boyd's Cowboy Ramblers. This time I was interested in "Way Out There" and was surprised to find that many of the tunes I was interested in (ie "liked") were written by him. Also, as an aside, my son David (who cut his teeth on some of these tunes) is working on his doctorate there at UNC in Classics. Perhaps he would like to know about your library there.


Thomas W. Carlisle


July 14, 2007
Wonderfull, the best "pioneers" website I ever seen. I'm from Brazil and A big Bob Nolan fan. I have most of Pioneers recordings issued (CDs, LPs,78's,box set ,DVDs and VHS). Unfortunately here in Brazil is hard to find "pioneers" discs, and all my personal collection was purchased in other countrys. I would like to know if is possible to find some "pioneers" tracks (commercial only) from 34 to 43 never reissueds on LP or CD in Canada. I purchased in EBAY some rare 78's never issued in CDs (ridin' home, We'll rest at the and of the trail, smillin' through, texas star, they drew my number ETC) but there's others tracks very hard to find. I hope you have all tracks available ( 78's)

luiz roberto costa


I suggest you contact Jimmie Willhelm. Roberto. http://www.vintagecowboymusic.com. You can email him to get a list but he has nearly everything the Pioneers recorded. He even has all the movies on DVD!



July 14, 2007

I read about the site in Western Clippings. I am a big fan of the singing cowboys and grew up watching their movies as a kid in Puerto Rico and Indiana. I am sixty-four years old and Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Bob Nolan and The Sons are still my heroes and favorite form of entertainment. Bob Nolan is a very special and important individual not only did he write the greatest and most beautiful western song he was a great singer and person also. I love your site Bob Nolan is as big as Gene and Roy and all those other western stars. Hope to meet Liz and Colin in person some day

Many Happy Trails

Dan Melendez



July 17, 2007

When I received your e-mail this morning, I immediately went to the site and was happy to find Cheyenne on your list. It has always been one of my favorites because you can really hear Bob's beautiful voice, so powerful in the song. I was disappointed to find that it was not the Sons of the Pioneers recording, but sounds like the track from the TV show. Patricia James.


July 17, 2007 the updates are wonderful, i love them thanks a million, i have have some of bob's music on dvd, but, where can i get some of the movie's, i have some roy roger's movies and some gene autry. i will keep looking every were i go, i am going to oklahoma at the end of this month maybe i can pick some up there. i have been a fan of bob's for all my 59 year's. i grew up with roy, and gene. and now i share them with my grandchildren. the memory will never die because of people like you. please keep up the good work. and i will keep enjoying the music and movies. thanks again. john

Check with jwillhelm@yahoo.com for the videos, John. He offers a huge selection. Also www.bostonpete.com  Good luck.



July 18, 2007I do not object to being on your website and we do love the Sons of the Pioneers, but please, unless you can figure out a way to e-mail all of us with blind copy, take me off your e-mail list. Perhaps you do not realize that sending e-mail with all the addresses showing only contributes to all the spam and etc that is going around the internet.
Thank you for your interest.
Voleta Hummel


Voleta, I am sorry that Elizabeth sent the update of the Bob Nolan site with all the address on it.  I have instructed her how to use the Bcc: option on Outlook Express so rest assured that this will not happen again.  So please open her e-mails when they come.  They will not have any other addresses showing. Thanks for feedback and interest in our site.
Calin Coburn


August 4, 2007

Dear Elizabeth--

    I thought I would write you and see what you think of my idea regarding the Sons of the Pioneers. Have you ever thought about contacting the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) about having a program of the SOP's (a biography of each of them)? I suppose a biography would be from when they were born until their death. They have had numerous programs on the American Experience and American Masters of early music artists including Jazz, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, just to mention a few. Never have they had a program on about Western Music.

    On their fundraisers almost all of the programs are about artists in the 1950's. 60's. Most of the time they show the artists on either film or tape recorded back then. I forgot to say about the biography--it would include their start in the early 30's up until the last of them had passed on, which would have been Roy Rogers.

    I would like to see this materialize in order that a lot of people who were not of their generation would have a chance to hear what a wonderful group of singers and songwriters they were. Maybe some of them could appreciate another type of music other than what is polluting TV and radio today. I would find it very refreshing to see a program such as this on PBS.

Martha Rosser (Gettysburg, PA)

 That's an excellent idea, Martha! Perhaps some of our readers will know how to go about getting the attention of PBS.



August 7, 2007

    My husband and I just found your website. We had been looking for a song he remembered from childhood. It was the song Outlaws.
    Is there anywhere we can get a history of this song? Did Bob Nolan write it? Was it ever recorded by any other artist in any other version?
    Thank you for any information you can give us. We were tickled to listen to your recording on the computer.
Carolyn A. Broadway


Bob Nolan's "Outlaws" is one of my own favorites but, as far as we know, it was recorded only by the Sons of the Pioneers. According to Laurence Zwisohn, the Pioneers made 3 recordings of it before they were satisfied. The first was Tommy Doss' debut on December 14, 1949, at the RCA Victor Studios in Hollywood. This one was unissued. On November 9, 1951, they recorded it again and it, too, was unissued. Finally, on February 8, 1952, they recorded the final version. This is the recording your husband heard when he was a boy. The others are interesting in their variations - the earlier recording has the sound of a high-powered rifle a la Hollywood chase scene. Two of those versions can be found on the Bear Family 4-CD boxed set

This is all we know of the song's history but it is interesting to speculate. Was it written for a movie? Follow the links below to listen to two of the recordings.


December 14, 1949, recording. This is the one on our site.

February 8, 1952 recording for comparison purposes.


August 12, 2007

    I have watched several old westerns this past week and it reminded me of when I was a kid and went to the "picture show' every Saturday and watched the Roy and Gene movies when they were featured. I decided to look Mr. Nolan up on my computer.
    Bob Nolan was a very good actor and singer and I'll bet he was a good man. I can tell. I have often wondered why he never got any farther along in the movies and his singing career than he did. He was as good or better than Roy and Gene ever thought about being. A natural!
    I don't know, because I'm just a hick from Springville, Alabama but reading between the lines I think Roy and Gene both pushed him out of the spotlight and in all likelihood because of jealousy. He was competition to both of them.
I certainly enjoyed your web site today and will certainly re-visit.

Your friend,
Frank Guttery


It was good of you to take the time to write us with your thoughts of Bob Nolan. Thank you! No, Roy and Gene did not personally push him out of the spotlight - Bob did it himself. Calin remembered his mother (Bob's daughter) telling him how Bob was originally preferred over Leonard Slye (Roy Rogers) for starring roles but Bob himself refused to be a star. He was rather shy and preferred the second leads. He always found it difficult to be in the spotlight, even on stage. You are correct, he was a good actor, a good singer and a good man.



August 15, 2007
Found your site on a search of Bob Nolan. Great website!!! I very much enjoyed Bob, Roy and the gang as a kid. Thanks for this wonderful site! (unsigned)



August 18, 2007

Calin - my name is Marie McArtor and I will be 80 years old this December. Back when I was 14 years old, my sister and I used to listen to the WLS Barndance from Chicago, IL on Saturday night. One night a group called the Sons of the Pioneers with Bob Nolan singing solo, sang "The Touch of God's Hand". I was hooked! I wrote to them at WLS and started receiving Tumbleweed Topics. I only have six issues but have kept them as treasured mementos of the Pioneers. After that I saved my allowance and eventually bought all seven of their songbooks (which I still have). Over the years I collected autographed photos of each Pioneer and one of Roy Rogers. And with the advent of CD's I have bought every one I could find. I also have about a half dozen of their 33 RPM records.

In 1948 I went to work in Columbus, Ohio as a telephone operator. While I was there the Sons of the Pioneers gave a live concert in one of the city auditoriums. Naturally I went to hear them sing. One of my friends at the telephone company was named Pat Brady so I took her with me. After the show was over we went up to the stage and met all of the Pioneers. SOP Pat Brady was intrigued by the fact that here was a fan also named Pat Brady.

Just recently, in the Good Old Days magazine, I saw a request for a copy of one of the songs they used to sing. When I got my songbooks out to make a copy for her I discovered that somewhere in all my moving around I had lost the first page of the songbook "Bob Nolan's Cowboy Classics No. 1" Is there any way I could obtain a copy of the first page of "A Cowboy Has To Sing"?

Bob, Tim Spencer, Lloyd Perryman, Pat Brady, and the Farr brothers were the ones in the group at the time I listened to them and even though there have been others filling in with the Pioneers - those I have just named will always be the true Sons of the Pioneers for me. I once hear Bob's voice described as "a quavery baritone" but that was it's distinction and charm. All of them are gone now and I probably will soon be but their music has been one of the highlights of my life.


Just as a minor point of interest - my cousin's wife went to school with Roy Rogers when he was about 12 years old - down in Portsmouth Ohio. His name then was Len Slye.

Sincerely, Marie McArtor


We will be happy to email you the page as an attachment, Marie, if you wish. On another subject, are your issues of Tumbleweed Topics the same as the ones we have? If you have a different copy, we would love to have scans or photocopies to put on the site for our readers. http://bobnolan-sop.net/Tumbleweed%20Topics/Topics.htm Thank you so much for writing. It's always a pleasure to hear from folk who saw Bob Nolan in person.



August 30, 2007 October 17, 2007



This website is "Awesome" ......... I've looked in the past for information on Bob, but never found much. Last night I tried again, and I came across this website. I was up all night reading and scanning the site.

What wonderful memories! My childhood was Saturday matinee movies with Roy and Bob and the SOP. They were my 'life.' I remember running home every day from school to listen to Bob and the SOP.

I never knew much about Bob, and after he retired, the public didn't hear much about him. So, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading about his life, scanning the films videos, music, and numerous photos. Your work on this website is, in my opinion, a "National Treasure."

I never knew that Bob, Len (Roy), Tim and Pat went back so far in their younger years. There is still so much for me to read on the site, and I intend to bookmark for many pleasant hours in the future (to look at photos, film clips, and listen to songs) and now I know how to order some music. Also, I never realized that Bob wrote so extensively...... far more talented than I ever realized.

Thanks again, Calin, for a fabulous site! Again, thanks Bob and Roy , the SOP, and the gang!

Gay Edwards, Texas

I understand Bob's love for the desert. I lived in Tucson AZ for 10 years and Mesa AZ for 2 yrs; it still has my 'heart.' It truly is like a 'mistress' or instead a ' true love' for me. Very spiritual and inspirational! Nothing like an AZ sunset!



October 17, 2007



        I was tempted to say that my father is Bob Nolan's greatest fan; but, after researching your web site, I now understand that he is only one of millions who loved your grandfather so very, very much.
        We (my 3 sisters and 1 brother) grew up in Mobile, Al (40's-60's) and listened Bob Nolan's albums at least one a day.  We learned to sing every part, hum every instrumentation, and memorized every single word of the albums my father had--and still has. 
We were all recently at his home in Apex, NC and again played all the albums and reminisced about the wonderful times we had growing up and listening to the Sons of the Pioneer's music.  The memories brought us to tears and I left there wondering why we didn't know more about such a talented musician and man. 
        When I arrived in Phoenix, I went straight to the internet and, to my utter amazement, I found voluminous information about his life and accomplishments.  I was especially impressed by your web site, together with UNC, because of the depth of information.  And to realize that all this time, this wonderful trove about Bob Nolan has been so close to my father put me in tears again!!!! 
I want to know how to purchase the things listed on the web site so I can send them to my father because he is 90 and doesn't get out much.  I intend to return to Raleigh/Apex this next summer, but I can't wait that long to know the joy he will have when these things come to him. 
        Growing up, my father talked constantly about Bob Nolan and, to this day, he gets very angry if you even mention the name "Roy Rogers" because he blames the rising star of Rogers' fame for--in my father's opinion--pushing Bob Nolan into the background of his own music.
        From reading through various bios on the subject, I'm not sure if that's entirely true, or perhaps it's the fault of Republic and their stingy efforts to promote and pay both the films and the actors in them.
In any event, it's a whole new world to us because as children we weren't allowed to go to the movies (fundamentalist southern christian teachings) so we missed out on all the films your grandfather was in.  I recently have discovered and taped the RR movies shown on cable and have sent those to my father (although they are few) in the hopes that he will grit his way through the scenes where Bob Nolan is not shown.
        Don't mean to take up so much of your time, but I just can't figure out how to purchase things that are listed on your web site.  I've been directed to Amazon.com in a few cases, but I wanted to make sure that your foundation is going to be the recipient of the funds if at all possible.
        Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts for having the desire and fortitude to put together such a wonderful collection to your grandfather's honor. 
        My only regret is that we were never able to personally tell him how deeply we loved him and his music.
Trudi Anderson-McCown Phx, AZ)
(sisters:  Kathleen Anderson Hein, Htvl, AL & Laura Anderson Byrne, Montgomery, Al)
(brother: Tommy Anderson, Htvl, AL) and father: Thomas W. Anderson, Apex, NC)


It was good of you to write, Trudi. Thank you. We appreciate your letter very much. Please give our regards to your father. Unfortunately, we do not sell anything you see on our website. This site is informational and was created for fans like your father who still remember Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers. There is, however, a print version of Bob Nolan's biography on Bob's bio pages that you are welcome to download and print for your father. You will find the latest CDs on the Discography page with a link to Amazon where you can purchase them. On the UNC page, you will find a list of what is available from the University of North Carolina's Southern Folklife Collection (Elizabeth Drake McDonald Collection #20355) and how to request copies. (Eg: a specific photograph from the Calin Coburn Collection or half a dozen songs.) I think the best thing to do for your father is to purchase a computer for him and connect him to the Internet!!!



October 21, 2007


thank you very much for putting together such a great web site on your grandfather bob nolan . bob has been one of my favorite singers and song writers/actors since i first heard him and the sons of the pioneers back in the mid fifties. always wanted to see him live in person performing.  by that time he was retired.  his music is very dear to me. the connection i get from hearing and singing his songs still gives me goosebumps.  you are to be congratulated for setting up such a great tribute to him and his memory. thank you again. his music will live forever . he is truly an icon in western music. William Bailey.



October 21, 2007




November 1, 2007


Bob Nolan's "Rise and Shine" has special meaning to me and my siblings. My dad was born and raised in Idaho, and later moved to CA after he married my mom. They had 5 kids, and my dad used to wake us up on Saturday mornings with "C'mon you lazy cowboys, rise and shine!..." We didn't care for it as kids, but it became a bit of a tradition in our family, and it has passed down to future generations. When he was going to school at Idaho State (back in the 50s, I believe), a local radio station would play that song as they turned up their transmitter to begin their day's broadcast. He was never sure who the artist was, but his rendition was almost note for note the same as what you sent me. He has since passed away, but I have searched for years to find a copy of that song to give to my brother and sisters as a keepsake. Thank you. Do you know who the actual artist is on this song? Sons of the Pioneers? And is it on any of the CDs listed on your website? I would be interested in finding a CD as well. Let me know. Thanks for helping me keep this family tradition alive.
Sincerely, Dave Gunnell


Good to hear from you, Dave, and I had to smile because "Rise and Shine" was the way I woke my own kids - at the top of my voice!

That song was never recorded commercially, I'm afraid, so you won't be able to purchase it - yet. We are still hoping that Bear Family will put out a boxed set of those Orthacoustic Radio Transcriptions. Like your father told you, you would hear it only on their radio shows.

Yes, that is the "Classic" Sons of the Pioneers group from 1940 singing "Rise and Shine". You'll hear Hugh Farr's deep bass voice and Pat Brady does the verse. He was the comedian, if you remember. Maybe you haven't seen re-runs of the Roy Rogers TV programs with Pat Brady and Nellybelle, the Jeep. I'll send you a link to Pat's page on our site. Bob Nolan wrote several comic songs just for Pat to sing.


If you are interested in purchasing the Orthacoustic Radio Transcriptions (Symphonies of the Sage), some of them are advertised on our site but you must purchase them through Amazon.com. We don't sell anything. The little Amazon logo is on the Discography page for your convenience and you can order right from that page. These CD albums contain the best-known of the 200 songs that were recorded for that radio transcription series. http://bobnolan-sop.net/Discography/Disco.htm

1. Symphonies of the Sage
2. The Essential Collection

If you click on the album picture, it will take you to a full description of each album. Thanks for writing.



November 1, 2007


Elizabeth, finding your website honoring Bob Nolan was one of most delightful and serendipitous discoveries of my life. Our show, Cool Waters www.coolwaters.cc was already doing several Bob Nolan songs and didn't even know it. "Song of the Bandit" as an example. We now mention him, Calin and the website in every show we do.

Also, as we promote ourselves to potential buyers, we refer them to our own website and encourage them to check out yours, which is linked to us. I believe you, and the creditability of your site, has brought us into several theaters and perhaps a bit closer to others. At present, we are presenting our selves to several theaters in the eastern Kentucky area, where there is a bookoo (sp) of country, gospel, southern rock and bluegrass. BUT, no cowboy, or as we have coined, Cowgrass music. That makes us the best! It also makes us the worst, depending on whose doing the judging. But the point is that we, a bunch of hair lip old men, have brought back nostalgia to some and introduced others to a true American music style. This note is merely a thank you for your labors.

If anyone calls or writes you about us, merely say that we are doing the best music anybody ever heard. That's a true statement even though you haven't see Cool Waters in the Cowboy-clad-draped-flesh.

Jim Blasdell
A native born Texan, but a born again Kentuckian.




November 1, 2007


I just wanted to thank you for creating the best Website I have ever seen honoring your Grandfather Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers. I have been watching and listening to Bob Nolan and the Pioneers for over 50 years and this is the greatest tribute to them on the Web. I found the site yesterday and my wife and I spent 5 hours looking and listening to every piece of information on the site. Again, thank you.

I was wondering if you could help me locate a few of the songs that your Grandfather sang. I have purchased almost every albums available featuring the Pioneers but have not been able to find certain songs: "Happy Roving Cowboy" (movie version not the Radio version), Trail Herdin Cowboy, Mexicali Rose, Down Mexico Way, Give me a Helping Hand (the one on your site), Cielito Lindo, Ride Em Cowboy, Aha San Antone.

Could you please let me know if I can purchase any of these songs from you or another website.

Thanks again,
Helen and Joe Fiandra


Hello, Helen and Joe,
        Great to hear from you. We're glad to hear you enjoy our website. We don't sell anything at all. Our site is strictly informational but we are happy to help you find songs, etc! Wherever I can, I will give you the names of the albums you can order from Amazon. On our the Discography page http://bobnolan-sop.net/Discography/Disco.htm you will find a little Amazon logo at the bottom of the page and you can order from through that window.
(Because of the time involved, I will not be able to send any of them to you by email or regular mail.)

1. Hear My Song from The Man from Cheyenne - capture it from the soundtrack as you watch the movie.
2. Trail Herdin' Cowboy is on "The Essential Collection" (Soundies 2-CD), "The Celebrated Sons of the Pioneers" (Audiophonic 4-CD), "It Was Always the Music" http://royrogers.com/shop-index.html

3. Mexicali Rose - "The Republic Years" (Varese Sarabande), "The Sons of the Pioneers" (Soundies)
4. South of the Border (Down Mexico Way) - "Songs of the Trail" (RCA - Pair), "It Was Always the Music".
5. Here is My Helping Hand - capture it from the soundtrack as you watch the movie.
6. Cielito Lindo - I can email it to you.
7. Ride 'em, Cowboy - "The Republic Years" (RCA - Pair)
8. A-ha, San Antone - the only place I've ever heard the Sons of the Pioneers sing that was with Dale Evans (who wrote it) on the DVD set Stan Corliss made from the Western Music Associations tribute to the Pioneers in 1994 - "60 Years of Harmony". You can get it from Stan. His email address is: comancheros@earthlink.com If you don't have the DVD, you should. It has some great interviews on it and an excellent history of the Sons of the Pioneers with plenty of pictures and video clips. Bob Nolan's daughter was interviewed. Perhaps you were there at the show in November, 1994?

Also, if you don't have "It Was Always the Music", you should. It is a huge book printed on glossy paper with lead sheets and captured stills from all the movies Roy and Dale acted in together. It has one CD in the back of the book but the 4-CD set with ALL the songs from those films is also available. I believe the only place you can purchase it is through the Roy Rogers website.

Have you ever listened to OJ Sikes' Internet radio program? He plays a wide variety of western songs - a new show every week - and gives us anecdotes about the singers or the songs. I never miss a week.
www.bostonpete.com/ojsikes/  If you have trouble finding it, let me know and I'll give you more specific instructions. Thanks again for writing.



November 18, 2007

I got to check my PC as the songs seem scratchy and breakup a bit. Any suggestions on this?  Some of them are from scratchy old recordings and some are right from soundtracks so the sound is not uniformly good - or bad. When the original film has been spliced, for example, the songs might jump a bit and skip words.



November 18, 2007

The site is just great! Daughters of the Purple Sage recorded both Cool Water and Tumblin' Tumbleweeds. We would love to be included in your collection! How to submit? Thanks! www.thredaughters.com  And we would love to have you recordings! Just email the mp3 files to me or mail them to me at the address below.

Elizabeth Drake McDonald
PO Box 857 - 313 Shuswap Ave.
Chase, BC, V0E 1M0, Canada



November 18, 2007

I know I speak for all the Wagonmasters when I say thank you so very much for including The Wagonmasters recordings of Cool Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds on your web site. Billy Beeman



November 18, 2007






November 18, 2007

Keep up the great work. You are a real blessing to this 67 year old fan.
Blessings, Joe C. Copeland


November 18, 2007

Greetings from the wide open plains of Kentucky bluegrass country. I have responded to your invitation to have our version of Cool Water and Tumbling Tumble Weeds, added to your page showing the many groups and individuals who have lovingly recorded these great songs. Ours are heard on our website, www.coolwaters.cc

We mention your website in all shows we do. We encourage folks to check you out and sincerely hope they do. Cool Waters performs several other Bob Nolan songs in our show, with a few more currently being added. An opportunity is about to present itself to us to do an entire stage production honoring the Great American Cowboy and his music. Perhaps we should write it as "Bob Nolan and Friends Tribute To The Great American Cowboy." Without a doubt, every aspect of the cowboys life and struggles has been written about by Bob Nolan. If you have any suggestions and directions, please write me. At this point, all my plans are cast in Jell-O! In other words, flexible.

Elizabeth, Calin and all connected to this website. BRAVO! There is no doubt that a lifetime of love has been put into this work. We, the lovers of this music and Bob Nolan's total works, are the lucky recipients of your love. And the fact that you are continually adding to it is evidence of your devotion. Again I say BRAVO!  Thank you for all you do, have done..... Jim Blasdell (Founder of the Prairie Music Society. The funner side of P.M.S.)



November 18, 2007

What a WONDERFUL gift you sent me! Simply thrilling! I cannot believe The Supremes recorded "Tumbling Tumbleweeds". Even they made it sound good. I'm especially glad to have an audio of the 1994 "Cool Water". It is especially moving to me, with Roy doing the start. But even the audio is fine. I love the slower arrangement. I never really cared for Bob's versions because he rushed the song. Just like Gene with "You are My Sunshine". Here it is done feelingly and movingly. I think Arthur Fiedler also hit the song right on the mark.
His version is luscious.

Your "Cool Water" compilation does not include Tex Ritter's version with Stan Kenton made sometime around 1960. I always knew this album was rare! In fact, when I was a pal of WNEW radio's Bob Jones around 1970 he asked me to show him the album. He couldn't believe this pairing was possible!

I hope you and Calin are well. We in the field are keeping the torch lit.



November 18, 2007

HI Elizabeth,
Did you know that the Sons sang Cool Water in the Republic Movie "Ding Dong Williams" (1945) where they made a guest appearance?
Fred Sopher



November 18, 2007

Outstanding! Heard from Cowboy fiddler pal and band mate Billy Beeman




November 19, 2007
Every time, I visit the Nolan site, I am so pleased with what you both are doing. Here's another idea. On the month of Gene Autry's birthday, Encore Western ran 100 Gene Autry movies interspersed with Autry song excerpts and insights from current western performers on his impact on music. I wonder whether the station would be interested in running a few of the early Sons of the Pioneers music and clippings with Bob Nolan given his impact on the 1930-1940s western classics.

Last year, Encore Western made a major effort to update its videos with more current western movies, and a big emphasis on the fact that they were more recent. I don't think it worked as effectively as the month of Autry, with five full days of Autry movies and music. It was great. I think they had great coverage. There was even the Sons, and Bob, singing Tumbling Tumbleweed. I didn't watch it all, but there were some classics that I had never seen and got the first chance to see.

Why don't you contact Encore to see if you can get a few minutes on Bob Nolan on their station? It would probably come as a surprise who wrote Tumbling Tumbleweed and Cool Water or the other, more inspirational music by Nolan? Also, there's a new album out from Time Life of inspirational western music. It would have been a terrific vehicle for some of Bob's more focused spirituals.




November 19, 2007

Good morning; I would like to visit the Bob Nolan web site, but the links you provided don't seem to work.


Try this, Vic: Highlight and copy www.bobnolan-sop.net and paste it into your browser's "Address" bar and press "Enter". See if that works. If it isn't, type it in by hand. I checked both those methods now to be sure and they do  work. Then, if you like the site, add it to your "Favorites". There are different problems for different operating systems that we aren't aware of. Thanks for letting us know. Good luck! If I can be of help, let me know.



November 30, 2007

I just wanted to tell you how great it is to have all the recordings of Cool Water, and T-Weeds by so many artists available.
It is a stroke of genius! You're to be commended! I am really enjoying them.
My best---Bob Wagoner



December 6, 2007

Thank you for this rich and comprehensive history of the Pioneers. I grew up watching all the Roy Rogers westerns on TV during the 50's and of course heard the Pioneers singing in the background. Now I fully appreciate what a talented group they were and I enjoy trying to harmonize with them in the car. Question --- Bob looks like he was a good athlete. If so, any sports?


            Yes, Bob was an athlete although not a professional. He started out in school with weights, when weight-lifting wasn't fashionable, and then he was a track and field star in high school. (I have his yearbooks.) But swimming was his first love and he continued swimming all his life. He was a lifeguard at Santa Monica just before the Depression and we have a snapshot of him taken there. He won a fun race with Clarence "Buster" Crabbe, an actor and later an Olympic gold medalist, during this time. They were the same age.

            You might also be interested in reading about his brother, Earl Nolan, who was a professional athlete.

            Starting in January, to mark the 100th anniversary of Bob's birth, we are going to do a special feature on one movie, one of his songs and one photo from his personal collection so bookmark the site and watch for it. We plan to post these Special Features on the 1st day of each month. Merry Christmas and keep singing!



December 17, 2007

Just recently got in to the computer age and found your website. I must say that of all the cowboy type sites yours is right up there at number 1. It is very interesting to know that Bob Nolan was such a private person. He must have had a rough childhood being moved around like he was. I've been down that road too. He seems to have gained, or never lost, a great spiritual faith as many songs are almost hymns. I admit I never heard most of them but now that I found them I will return. I have told two very good friends about the site and am sure they both will visit. They were both real fans when children and like me have a great love for the silver screen cowboys. One of the friends was telling me just a few days ago how she wished she could return to those days and wear her Annie Oakley suit again. I'm sure that when the other friend finds the site she will dig out her Dale Evans costume and just look at. She often brings it out in its protective clear plastic bag and compares it to the shabby condition of my generic cowboy suit. I remind her that I have taken extra special care of my Roy Rogers records because the voices of the Sons of the Pioneers need to be saved. After all, some things are just more important than others.

You have a great place for memories and I thank you for building a shrine to your grandfather. Thank you very much.

Don Hampton


Thank you for taking the time to write, Don. We appreciate every letter. Merry Christmas to you and your friends!


December 18, 2007

When are you going to put up a page showing all the songs they sang written by other artists? I have it under good authority that they sang a lot of others' music.


You are quite right, the Sons of the Pioneers sang thousands of songs written by other composers and it would be an impossible task to list them all! However, we urge you to go to the "Bob Sings" page where you will find a selection featuring Bob's solo or duet parts. We add to this as time goes on, so bookmark it. Merry Christmas!


December 21, 2007

 Here is my CD of Western Music. I grew up going to the movies to see Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers. I hope my rendition of "Cool Water" meets with your approval. Thanks.

Jason "Buck" Corbett


It certainly does meet with our approval, Buck, and we're delighted to place it on our Cool Water page. Thank you very much for taking the time to send it to us. Merry Christmas!



December 24, 2007

I am a frequent visitor. I sincerely appreciate the time and effort that has gone into this site. Merry Christmas. I was curious if the Pioneers ever recorded Christmas selections? I have never heard any myself and I wonder if there are any in existence. Thank you for your response.

Mike Smith


Hi, Mike.
        Good to hear from you. Bob Nolan wrote a little Christmas song that was never recorded. We have a VERY poor demo Bob made of the song - click on http://bobnolan-sop.net/Lyrics/Docs/Prayer%20for%20xmas.htm
. I had never heard of a Sons of the Pioneers' Christmas recording until OJ Sikes told me that he's putting one up on his Boston Pete website this week. I'm not sure when it will be aired - tomorrow for sure - but here is the site: http://radio.bostonpete.com/radio.html

        When that page opens, select "Western Music Time w/ O J Sikes". And when that page opens, select "Play Latest Show" and wait while it loads. I'll paste his program for this week here for you. You'll see it's full of good stuff! Merry Christmas, Mike. And thank you for writing.

Cowboy Christmas – Sons of the Pioneers
Christmas on the Plains – Roy Rogers
Merry Texas Christmas, You All – Gene Autry

A Cowboy's Rocky Mountain Christmas - Flying W Wranglers
Ridin' Home on Christmas Eve - Riders in the Sky
Christmas Polka - Jimmy Wakely

Everyday is Christmas in the West - Don Edwards
Corn, Water & Wood - Michael Martin Murphey
Star of Hope - Sons of the Pioneers

Cowboy Christmas – Joni Harms
The Night Before Christmas (in Texas, That Is) – Gene Autry
The Christmas Trail – Michael Martin Murphey