Formed in 1933, the Sons of the Pioneers trio of Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer and Len Slye soon featured the brilliant instrumental work of the Farr Brothers, Karl (guitar) and Hugh (violin). Karl Farr Jr once told this writer that his dad would listen to Stephane Grappelli, violinist with Django Reinhardt’s Hot Club of France quintet. No American fiddler has ever had a more supple right hand or more innate sense of touch or timing than Hugh Farr.
When Len Slye turned into Roy Rogers four years later, the Pioneers enlisted Pat Brady and Lloyd Perryman. Lloyd’s lustrous tenor voice and brilliant arranging skills enhanced what was already an electrifying bunch. In addition to Lloyd, Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer and the Farr Brothers, Brady’s bass, comedy and singing rounded out this greatest of all western musical groups. Allowing for WW2 interruptions, this classic six played from 1937 until the retirements of Spencer and Nolan in ’49.
Their recordings of Nolan’s “Tumbling Tumbleweed” and “Cool Water” are legendary. Try “The Touch of God’s Hand” some time. Or you might be swept away with “Chant of the Wanderer” or “Song of the Bandit.”
Americana has never been the same since the Sons of the Pioneers conquered the West.