Joan "Josie" Shapira
Vancouver, WA, USA. Wednesday, October 19, 2006
My father, Nathan Shapira, was a composer and bandleader so, as the daughter of a professional musician, I grew up around musicians and entertainers of all kinds. I also had a great interest in country and western music but no one caught my continued attention or respect like Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers and the music they wrote and sang.
My first memory of them was in a Roy Rogers movie at age 6 or 7 in my local Midwest small town. There were many country western musicians in the Saturday matinees for children during that period but Bob's and Tim's and the Pioneers songs and work was the best in the business. I never missed an opportunity to see them either in movies or person. In addition, the values and quality they advocated in their performances were good examples to the children of my age group and of course every Saturday morning or afternoon there was a new movie for us to watch. There seems to be a certain sensitivity and emotional quality in their music that touched my heart.
They provided an example of behaviour and ethics to the children who watched them that was excellent. As a child abuse specialist myself, I've come across many children whose home lives were atrocious and who didn't have the advantages in that way that I did. I think it's too bad that we don't still have that kind of example for the kids of today to grow up with.
There has never been a replacement for me of the original group of Bob, Tim, Lloyd, the Farr brothers and Pat Brady. Even with the long hours and touring their work seemed always fresh, humorous, sensitive and exacting. Some singers are good singers but there is no feeling with it. With the Pioneers and Bob's and Tim's songs you experience the feelings and the pain, sensitivity to God, and those around them and each other.
During the polio epidemic when children under a certain age were not allowed into theaters to see movies, I lied to get in to see a Pioneer movie with Rogers. Of course thereafter I had to pay adult fares for movie going but it was worth it to me.
I began to collect their records and songbooks and sing their music as a teenager and collecting pictures about them and taking pictures at their performances. In addition, in my teen years I discovered the Teleways programs on the local station and never missed a day. When I was unable to get home in time to listen to them I would go to the radio station and they were kind enough to put me in a spare room and let me listen to that day's program.
I also found their broadcasts out of Salt Lake City with Rex Allen and listened ardently each late night though the long distance from Vancouver, WA to SLC caused the sound to fade in and out periodically.
Reading and hearing about the long hours touring and rehearsing and performing their craft I marvelled at how they could remain so excellent and fresh. I would not have wanted that gruelling kind of schedule myself.
On July 4, l949 I saw Bob for the last time in person at the Multnomah Stadium in Portland, OR. After the performance I rushed to where their stretch car was parked, making it in time to take pix of Bob, Lloyd, Ken Curtis, the Farr Bros, Shug Fisher and get autographs and talk to them.
Somewhere in the 50's I asked and received permission from the Pioneers and Terry Sevigny to start a fan club for the pioneers with the help of a local fan who had been advertising Pioneer records for sale. My work had given me a lot of training in running an organization like that and putting together the bulletins, publicity, publishing, art work, taking and printing pictures, and the interpersonal relationships. I enjoyed chances to go back stage during performances, Karl's 43rd birthday cake (I have a pic of Lloyd eating a piece and Karl holding the cake in his lap), in Portland OR.
Still being under age I asked Lloyd Perryman one time to write a note to my father to allow me to attend the Wagon Wheel Club performance in Camas, WA. With the promise that Lloyd would look after me. I was not a happy camper when Dad said he didn't want me in the clubs no matter with who so I missed that one. Even though father wouldn’t let me go to the clubs, he allowed me to go to their other performances by myself as he knew the Pioneers would treat me right.
Although floods, fires, earthquakes, burglars and other causes have stolen most of the collections I had, the memories, friendships, and music, professional relationships and extended entertainment family remain forever. The ones I knew well are gone now but their legacy and influence remains with us all.
Below are a few of the photos Josie took of various members of the Sons of the Pioneers. Sadly, Josie tells us that most of her collection was stolen from her. Fortunately for us, she had photocopied many of them before this happened.
Bob Nolan at the Multnomah Stadium, Portland, OR, July 4, 1949
Karl Farr and Shug Fisher, Portland, OR
Left: Hugh Farr and unidentified ladies.
Right: Lloyd Perryman and Josie Shapira
(color correction by Larry Hopper)
Below: Josie with Shug Fisher.
The Pioneers and unidentified man in the centre.
More items from Josie's scrapbooks:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Rodeo.
Bob Nolan, Casper, Wyoming.
Bob with Hoagy Carmichael.
The caption under the clipping reads "Bob Nolan, encouraged by composers like Hoagy Carmichael, decided to devote his time to writing songs himself!."
Karl, Lloyd and Bob in PDX, 1949.
"Man from Oklahoma", 1945
from "Song of Texas", 1943
a sample of Josie's art work
Left: Fan Club President, Colleen Cody, Bingen WA
Right: Colleen and Tommy Doss
1980 Later Pioneers with Josie (centre)
Lloyd Perryman eating a piece of Karl's 43rd birthday cake.
Shug and Lloyd
Lloyd and Terry Sevigny
(courtesy of Terry to Josie)
Tim in the Portland area after he'd retired.
(color correction by Larry Hopper)
"In conjunction with the release of their latest RCA Victor recording, RIDERS IN THE SKY, the Sons of the Pioneers will inaugurate a new Western Airlines flight to Portland and Seattle on June 15th and 16th. The ship will be named "Sky Riders'. So you folks up in that vicinity, watch your newspapers for more details on their appearances there." (Sons of the Pioneers Fan Club Newsletter No. 6 - June, 1949 by Terry Sevigny Scott, secretary. (Courtesy of John Fullerton)
Karl Farr's 43rd Birthday
Gresham Fairground, Oregon
Tommy Doss with young fan
Ken Curtis with fan
Josie Shapira with Buddy Owens
Tommy Doss, Ken Curtis, Shug Fisher, Jimmy Wakely and Lloyd Perryman
Hugh Farr and Lloyd Perryman in centre