Picks and Pans Review: The Sound of a Pioneer
Back in 1931, Nolan, a Canadian whose family moved to Arizona when he was a boy, joined a hillbilly singing group called the Rocky Mountaineers in California with another transplant, Ohioan Leonard Slye. The group eventually turned into the Sons of the Pioneers. Then Slye turned into Roy Rogers, and Nolan became one of the most prolific composers of Western tunes as well as one of those movie sidekicks who looked serious and supportive whenever Roy was about to set off after the bad guys. Nolan eventually tired of the business in 1949 and retired on his royalties. He hadn't recorded since 1957 when producer Snuff Garrett talked him into doing this LP. At 71, Nolan retains many of the warm, mellow qualities that made the Sons of the Pioneers such a delight, and he reprises two of his own songs—Tumbling Tumbleweeds and Cool Water—that are among the most evocative in Western music. This album won't set Nashville on fire, but it makes one want to say, "Welcome back, old-timer."
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