Sons Of The Pioneers : Wagon West (Box)

CD [Cover Art for Sons Of The Pioneers / Wagon West (Box)] Your Price: $112.99 (List Price: $124.99)
Availability: In Stock
Sell date: 6/1994
Label: Bear Family
Mfg's Catalog#: 15640
CDC Part#: 633007
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 Notes & Reviews
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 it's 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 it's 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 so.

Forgive & Forget
Cool Water
The Timber Trail
Stars & Stripes on Iwo Jima
You're Getting Tired of Me
Goldstar Mother With Silvery Hair
You'll Be Sorry When I'm Gone
I Wear Your Memory in My Heart
Cowboy Camp Meetin'
Tumbling Tumbleweeds
Out California Way
Grievin' My Heart Out for You
No One to Cry To
Everlasting Hlls of Oklahoma
Chant of the Wanderer
Blue Prairie Trees
Letter Marked Unclaimed
Baby Doll
A Penny for Your Thoughts
Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
Let's Pretend
Cigareetes, Whusky & Wild Women
Teardrops in My Heart
My Best to You
Will There Be Sagebrush in Heaven
You Don't Know What Lonesome Is
You Never Miss the Water Till the Well Runs Dry
Lead Me Gently Home Father
Too High, Too Wide, Too Low
Out in Pioneertown
A Hundred & Sixty Acres
Sea Walker
Read the Bible Every Day
Last Round-Up
Two Eyes, Two Lips But No Heart
Cowboy Country
The Bar-None Ranch (In the Sky)
Where Are You
Calico Apron & a Gingham Gown
Happy Birthday Polka
Let Me Share Your Name
Whiffenpoof Song
Old Rugged Cross
Power in the Blood
Touch of God's Hand
Rounded Up in Glory
Sante Fe, New Mexico
Down Where the Rio Flows (Take 1)
Down Where the Rio Flows (Take 2)
My Feet Takes Me Away
Red River Valley
Serenade to a Coyote
The Missouri Is a Devil of a Woman
No Rodeo Dough
Sentimental, Worried & Blue
Little Gray Home in the West
I Still Do
Riders in the Sky
Room Full of Roses
No One Here But You
Lie Low Little Dogies
Let's Go West Again
Love at the County Fair (Ft. Dale Evans)
Wedding Dolls (From Your Wedding Cake)
Eagle's Heart
Land Beyond the Sun
I Told Them All About You
Wagons West
Rollin' Dust
Song of the Wagon Master
Chuckawalla Swing
Old Man Atom
What This Country Needs
Baby, I Ain't Gonna Cry No More
Little White Cross
America Forever
Daddy's Little Cowboy
Baby, I Ain't Gonna Cry No More
Moonlight & Roses (Bring Mem'ries of You)
San Antonio Rose
Bring Your Roses to Her Now
Mexicali Rose
Wondrous Word
Waltz of the Roses
Lord's Prayer
Heart Break Hill
Ho Le O
I Still Do
Waltz of the Roses
I Still Do
Diesel Smoke (Take 1)
Diesel Smoke (Take 2)
Empty Saddles
There's a Goldmine in the Sky
Old Pioneer
Home on the Range
If You Would Only Be Mine
Sierra Nevada
River of No Return
Lilies Grow High
Lonely Little Room
Somebody Bigger Than You & I
Mystery of His Way
The Mystery of His Way

People who buy sons of the pioneers CDS may also enjoy, in order of descending probability, the works of Riders In The Sky, Bob Wills And His Texas Playbo, Tex Ritter.