Wagons West [Box]

Wagons West [Box]

by The Sons of the Pioneers

Wagons West is a deceptively fine account of the Sons of the Pioneers' music, from what were not only their years of greatest popularity -- 1945 through 1954 -- but also the period in which they started to make full use of recording technology. From 1935 onward, when the Farr brothers came aboard, the group could always function as…  See more details below


Wagons West is a deceptively fine account of the Sons of the Pioneers' music, from what were not only their years of greatest popularity -- 1945 through 1954 -- but also the period in which they started to make full use of recording technology. From 1935 onward, when the Farr brothers came aboard, the group could always function as a self-contained unit, and their 1930s recordings and radio transcriptions are in a class by themselves in that regard; what you heard on the records was what you got in concert. But after signing to RCA in 1945, the group -- by now a sextet, including founders Bob Nolan and Tim Spencer -- availed itself of a range of session players who included guitarist Perry Botkin, steel guitarist Charles Richard Roberts, bassist (and future official group member) Deuce Spriggins, and Rex Dalton Call on violin, to augment Hugh Farr's fiddle and Karl Farr's guitar on tracks like "The Timber Trail" and "Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima" (the latter a topical number that works as a Western tune). And for their next session in January of 1946, they added piano and drums to their studio complement for songs like "You're Getting Tired of Me" and "You'll Be Sorry When I'm Gone" (both authored by Fred Rose). These sides and the ones that followed made concessions to popular taste that, in a way, anticipated the development of the "countrypolitan" sound in Nashville (though the Pioneers recorded in Hollywood or Chicago), but never lost sight of the group's core sound. What's more, the latter was better than ever -- from March of 1946 onward, Lloyd Perryman, who was an essential part of the Pioneers' classic prewar lineup, was back in the fold, and they were at greater than full strength with Nolan, Spencer, the Farrs, Ken Carson, and Shug Fisher (or Pat Brady) making them a septet. Thus, the version of "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" here, from March 1946, may not have the lean, stripped-down beauty of the group's classic 1930s recording, but it has a surprisingly tasteful, ornate beauty, even with three violinists working behind Hugh Farr, and the presence of a saxophone on "Out California Way" doesn't hurt a bit, on a cut that's as much Western swing (complete with a bluesy Karl Farr acoustic guitar solo) as it is cowboy music. Plus, anyone who wants more of Farr's solo work need only wait for the delightful break on "Grievin' My Heart Out for You," the next song up from the same session, which also spotlights Hugh's fiddle. The 115 songs are far more diverse than the box's title or the group's image would lead one to expect, comprised in equal parts of traditional country, gospel, cowboy songs, topical songs (including the controversial "Old Man Atom"), movie songs (most notably from John Ford's Wagon Master), and elements of swing and blues, all sung in multi-part harmonies and no two songs alike enough to let a listener anticipate the breaks and solos. They occasionally go over the line into pop music, but the group never gets lost, even on "Baby, I Ain't Gonna Cry No More," with its 30-man backing orchestra. Some of the most interesting material here is also some of the most improbable, such as the gospel/topical "What This Country Needs," which incorporates some solid country blues elements within its quasi-"political" sermon. And it ought to be reassuring to potential purchasers that the sound quality is consistent throughout; the whole set sounds very good, and there's no huge jump up in quality from the 1945-1947 sides, which were recorded on wax masters before magnetic tape became available, and those from 1948-1952, dating from after the advent of tape recording. It's all in excellent condition on the listening end, and oddly enough, there are signs of more minor distortion repaired in some of the later sides. The set is topped off with a handsomely illustrated booklet typical of Bear Family's output, which gives complete session and release information on every song and covers the Sons of the Pioneers' complete history, from before the beginning into the last of the sessions represented here, and beyond. In addition to their RCA sides, the set encompasses their return to the Coral Records label in 1954, which yielded, among other songs, "River of No Return," from the Marilyn Monroe/Robert Mitchum movie of that name.

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Product Details

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Disc 1

  1. Forgive and Forget
  2. Cool Water
  3. The Timber Trail
  4. Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima
  5. You're Getting Tired of Me
  6. Gold Star Mother With Silvery Hair
  7. You'll Be Sorry When I'm Gone
  8. I Wear Your Memory in My Heart
  9. Cowboy Camp Meetin'
  10. Tumbling Tumbleweeds
  11. Out California Way
  12. Grievin' My Heart Out for You
  13. No One to Cry To
  14. The Everlasting Hills of Oklahoma
  15. Chant of the Wanderer
  16. Blue Prairie
  17. Trees
  18. The Letter Marked Unclaimed
  19. Baby Doll
  20. A Penny for Your Thoughts
  21. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
  22. Let's Pretend
  23. Cigareets, Whuskey and Wild, Wild Women
  24. Teardrops in My Heart
  25. My Best to You
  26. Will There Be Sagebrush in Heaven?
  27. You Don't Know What Lonesome Is

Disc 2

  1. You Never Miss the Water (Till the Well Runs Dry)
  2. Lead Me Gently Home, Father
  3. Too High, Too Wide, Too Low
  4. Out in Pioneer Town
  5. A Hundred and Sixty Acres
  6. The Sea Walker
  7. Read the Bible Every Day
  8. The Last Roundup
  9. Two Eyes, Two Lips But No Heart
  10. Cowboy Country
  11. The Bar-None Ranch (In the Sky)
  12. Where Are You
  13. Calico Apron and a Gingham Gown
  14. Happy Birthday Polka
  15. Le Me Share Your Name
  16. Wind
  17. The Whiffenpoof Song
  18. The Old Rugged Cross
  19. Power in the Blood
  20. The Touch of God's Hand
  21. Rounded up in Glory
  22. Santa Fe, New Mexico
  23. Down Where the Rio Flows
  24. Down Where the Rio Flows
  25. My Feet Takes Me Away
  26. Red River Valley
  27. Serenade to a Coyote
  28. The Missouri Is a Devil of a Woman
  29. No Rodeo Dough

Disc 3

  1. Sentimental, Worried and Blue
  2. Little Gray Home in the West
  3. I Still Do
  4. Riders in the Sky
  5. Room Full of Roses
  6. No One Here But You
  7. Lie Low Little Dogies (The Cowboy's Prayer)
  8. Let's Go West Again
  9. Wind
  10. Love at the County Fair
  11. Wedding Dolls (From Your Wedding Cake)
  12. Outlaws
  13. Roses
  14. The Eagle's Heart
  15. Land Beyond the Sun
  16. I Told Them All About You
  17. Wagons West
  18. Rollin' Dust
  19. Song of the Wagonmaster
  20. Chuckawalla Swing
  21. Old Man Atom
  22. What This Country Needs
  23. Baby, I Ain't Gonna Cry No More
  24. Little White Cross
  25. America Forever
  26. Daddy's Little Cowboy
  27. Baby, I Ain't Gonna Cry No More
  28. Moonlight and Roses

Disc 4

  1. San Antonio Rose
  2. Bring Your Roses to Her Now
  3. Mexicali Rose
  4. Lonesome
  5. The Wondrous Word
  6. Resurrectus
  7. Wind
  8. Waltz of the Roses
  9. The Lord's Prayer
  10. Heartbreak Hill
  11. Ho le O
  12. I Still Do
  13. Waltz of the Roses
  14. I Still Do
  15. Outlaw
  16. Diesel Smoke
  17. Almost
  18. Diesel Smoke
  19. Empty Saddles
  20. There's a Gold Mine in the Sky
  21. Old Pioneer
  22. Home on the Range
  23. If You Would Only Be Mine
  24. Sierra Nevada
  25. The River of No Return
  26. The Lillies Grow High
  27. Lonely Little Room
  28. Montana
  29. Somebody Bigger Than You and I
  30. The Mystery of His Way

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sons of the Pioneers   Primary Artist,Group
Bob Haggart   Bass
Mort Herbert   Violin
Lou McGarity   Trombone
Heine Beau   Saxophone
Jack Marshall   Guitar
Norma Zimmer   Choir, Chorus
Marty Gold   Organ,Leader
Noel Boggs   Steel Guitar
Ken Curtis   Guitar
Dale Evans   Track Performer
Billy Mure   Guitar
Hugh & Karl Farr   Fiddle,Guitar,Leader
Robert Barene   Violin
Larry Binyon   Saxophone
Perry Botkin   Guitar
Frank Carroll   Bass
Mac Ceppos   Violin
George Cole   Organ
Allan Harshman   Viola
Armand Karpoff   Viola
Phil Kraus   Drums
Eddie Kusby   Trombone
Bill Lee   Choir, Chorus
Alfred Lustgarten   Violin
Edgar Lustgarten   Cello
Jack Mayhew   Trumpet,Saxophone
Harry Melnikoff   Violin
Erno Neufeld   Violin
Danny Perri   Guitar
Thurl Ravenscroft   Choir, Chorus
Allan Reuss   Guitar
Mischa Russell   Violin
Marshall Sosson   Violin
David Sterkin   Viola
Gerald Vinci   Violin
Don Whitaker   Bass
Morris Bercov   Saxophone
Rex Call   Violin
Milton DeLugg   Accordion,Leader
Fred Falensby   Saxophone
Ray Hagan   Drums
William "Shorty" Hill   Violin,Leader
Frank Messina   Accordion
Earl Joaquin Murphey   Steel Guitar
Alex Murray   Violin
Max Smith   Choir, Chorus
Werner Callies   Violin
Sam Freed   Violin
Charlie LaVere   Piano
Mark McIntyre   Piano
Phillip Shuken   Flute
Pat Brady   Bass
Ken Carson   Guitar
Tommy Doss   Guitar
Irving Edelman   Bass
Shug Fisher   Bass
Vaughn Horton   Steel Guitar
Bob Nolan   Guitar
Lloyd Perryman   Guitar
Tim Spencer   Guitar
Korla Pandit   Organ
Zeke Zarchy   Trumpet
Morton Friedman   Saxophone
Arthur Shapiro   Bass
Dave Bohme   Violin,Leader
Ormond Downes   Drums
Ivan Ditmars   Novachord
Dewey Bergman   Leader
Rex Koury   Organ
Luther Roundtree   Guitar
Country Washburne   Conductor
Eddie Bennett   Piano
Georger R "Deuce Spriggens" Braunsdorf   Bass
C.W. Collidge   Trombone
Jesse J. Colvard   Steel Guitar
Robert W Conzelman   Drums
Turney Gibson   Violin
Charles E. Grifford   Choir, Chorus
Bob R. Hamlin   Choir, Chorus
Carl H. Hunt   Violin
Chuck Hurter   Violin
George Kayser   Violin
August Klein   Accordion
Koby Sirinsky   Violin
R Lambert   Violin
W. Lee   Choir, Chorus
Eugene Le Pique   Piano
Ralph Miele   Guitar
Edward Mirchell   Steel Guitar
Louis Paonessa   Drums
Nicholas "Nick" Posani   Violin
Charles Richard Roberts   Steel Guitar
Harry (Simovitz) Sims   Violin
Fred T. Travers   Accordion
Sol Turner   Violin
W Wardle   Organ
Dale Warren   Guitar
James O. "Jimmy" Wyble   Guitar
Larry Russell   Conductor

Technical Credits

Billy Hill   Composer
Jimmie Davis   Composer
Irving Berlin   Composer
John Benson Brooks   Composer
Norman Luboff   Composer
Stan Jones   Composer
Bob Newman   Composer
Cindy Walker   Composer
Foy Willing   Composer
Irving Bibo   Composer
Sonny Burke   Composer
George Cates   Producer
Jim Crotty   Metal Transfers
Ken Darby   Composer
Lou Forbes   Composer
Charles Randolph Grean   Producer
Hy Heath   Composer
Walt Heebner   Producer
Henri René   Producer
Isham Jones   Composer
Dave Kapp   Producer
Freddie Large   Composer
John A. Lomax   Composer
Lionel Newman   Composer
Ben Weisman   Composer
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys   Composer
Fred Wise   Composer
Stephen H. Sholes   Producer
Ken Carson   Composer
Shug Fisher   Composer
Fred Goodman   Illustrations
Vaughn Horton   Composer
Bob Nolan   Composer
Tim Spencer   Composer
Bernardo Cosachov   Metal Transfers
Bruce Hailstalk   Tape Research
R.A. Andreas   Illustrations
Richard Weize   Reissue Producer,Tape Research
Gerd Weiler   Artwork
Larry Zwisohn   Liner Notes,Illustrations,Biographical Notes
Jack Rivers   Composer
Dan Kelly   Composer
Ivan Ditmars   Composer
Neil Moret (Chas. N. Daniels)   Composer
Arthur Kent   Composer
Sydney Robin   Composer
Jack Segal   Composer
John Jacob Loeb   Composer
Albert Hay Malotte   Composer
Vic McAlpin   Composer
Jack Rollins   Composer
Red Rowe   Composer
Glenn Spencer   Composer
Helen Stone   Composer
Jack Toombs   Composer
Dewey Bergman   Composer
Ben Black   Composer
Jacob Otis Brennan   Composer
Brad Browne   Composer
Cy Coben   Composer
John Ennis   Composer
Oscar Fox   Composer
Tod Galloway   Composer
Kay Twomey   Composer
Art Rush   Producer
Lewis Harris   Composer
Foster Carling   Composer
Bill Hill   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Cliff Johnson   Composer
R. Ellenborn   Engineer
Sylke Lohmeyer   Artwork
Nichols   Contributor
Kuhl Rush   Producer
Harold Spencer   Illustrations
Grace Thompson   Illustrations
Meade Minnigerode   Composer
George S. Pomeroy   Composer
Joyce Kilmer   Composer
Oscar Rasbach   Composer

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