"This 42 song Varese Vintage Series album represents a range of The Sons of the Pioneers musical styles. Guitars are strummed as fiddles add quality of a wistful echo of sentiment, of the B-Westerns we enjoyed as little cowboys and gals. Saddle up for "The Essential Collection:The Sons of the Pioneers", as we sit round the campfire listening to lesser known works that render the ultimate of "pure Americana". Enjoy the cue "BLUE PRAIRIE", melody is deeply woven into the American landscape, blends of warmth and simplicity add a welcomed appreciation for the early days of The Western. First rate singers, the Pioneers are also wonderful instrumentalist with this line performing ~ Bob Nolan (string bass/guitar/baritone vocals), Tim Spencer (tenor vocals), Lloyd Perryman (tenor vocals/guitar), Pat Brady (stand-up bass/vocals/comedy), Hugh Farr (fiddle/bass vocals) and Karl Farr (guitar/tenor vocals) singing and yodeling, became quickly the very definition of Western Cowboy Music. Moving tunes inclusive "WEST IS IN MY SOUL", "TRAIL HERDIN' COWBOY", "HE'S GONE, HE'S GONE UP THE TRAIL", "OPEN RANGE AHEAD", "DOWN ALONG THE SLEEPY RIO GRANDE" slow sad songs about a very difficult life in the west. Loneliness, old age and romance made a lifelong impression upon the wranglers. In closing this 2-CD-Set we enjoy "I'LL TAKE YOU HOME AGAIN KATHLEEN", traditional tune that director John Ford used in many John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara films ~ this lyrical and melodic song still tugs at your heartstrings. If you want a collection of the Pioneers, this album would be the essential choice.Total Time: 2-CD-Set ~ Varese Records 302-066-439-2 ~ (3/04/2003)"
Lawrence Rapchak | Whiting, IN United States | 10/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This music has made a really deep impression on me; it's pure, simple, honest and...historic---it preserves a sound, a vocal and instrumental style and a world view which I'm afraid is just about dead in 2004. A real pity. In fact, it's tragic.
So get this set and experience it! It's vintage PIONEERS, at the height of their fabulous art. The bare essentials---vocal trio, bass, 2 guitars and the astounding fiddling of Hugh Farr (who famous conductor Leopold Stokowski called one of the 2 greatest living violinists during the 1940's!)
Bob Nolan's "Song of the Bandit" is like a mythical American folkloric ballad--that third verse, when the bandit comes to the girl in her dream, complete with angels and a winged horse gliding down the moonbeams---whoa!! And yet, the tune is upbeat and energetic--not at all what you would expect from the lyrics.
"So Long to the Red River Valley" is another beauty---the haunting yodeling in the final verse, with Hugh's fiddle gently wailing away---it's true ART!
"Trail Herdin' Cowboy" is another rare gem---with more amazing fiddlin' from Mr. Farr, paricularly at the very end, when the voices go into what sounds like an extended "Amen" cadence.
"Whispherin' Wind" resembles a 19th-Century "parlor" Waltz tune--rather simplistic--yet the Pioneers arrangement and performance transform it into something remarkably elegant and touching.
This performance of Bob Nolan's masterpiece "Cool Water" is MUCH better than the later ones I've heard; the RCA version included on the "Cigareets & Whusky" cd is rushed and almost sounds like they were bored with it; this version, even though it ends a bit abruptly, really captures that mythical quality which we associate with the Old West, as man interacts with nature.
AND FINALLY----"Ridin' Home"---for me, the ultimate in the Pioneer's art---profoundly beautiful, the absolute essence of the romantic spirit of the Old West (unfortunately THIS TRACK is marred by some pretty harsh crackling from the old acetate master recording---but GOD, it's still so lovely!)
Wonderful music, beatifully preserved and re-mastered.
Incidentally, I am a "classical" (symphonic) conductor by profession, but this 2-cd set has given me some of the most satisfying musical enjoyment of the past 10 years."
Outstanding collection of classic Western music
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 12/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though this doesn't cover the entire Sons' career, it captures them in the full-flower of their post-Roy Rogers line-up, after founding member had returned to the group. At the time the Sons' were a 5-piece with the vocal trio of Spencer, Bob Nolan and Lloyd Perryman backed by Pat Brady on bass, Hugh Farr on fiddle and Karl Farr on guitar. All three of the instrumentalists also added vocals.
The group was well-served by the compositions of Nolan, including numerous Western standards like "Cool Water." In addition to their trademark harmonies and yodeling, the band also cut the occasional instrumental, such as the hard-swinging "Cajon Stomp" and the hot fiddle tune "The Texas Crapshooter." Forty-two finely-remastered tunes on two discs may be an oversized helping for a few, but for fans of Western song, this is an outstanding value. Those wishing a broader overview (with less detail on this particular Sons' line-up) might look at Hip-O's single-disc "Ultimate Collection," which includes earlier highpoints like "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" and "Bluebonnet Girl.""
One of the Best
Eclectic Revisited | Arizona | 10/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have a lot of cassettes by the Pioneeers, some dating back to when Leonard Slye wasn't Roy Rogers yet; they are all special to me. I've read the other reviewers' comments and I agree wholeheartedly with the positive comments about this CD. I'm especially happy about one song in particular, "He's Gone, He's Gone Up the Trail", originally done by Pat Brady and Gabby Hayes (yes,Gabby Hayes) in a Roy Rogers movie. This is a real collector's item."
GREAT RECORDING -- BRINGS BACK FOND MEMORIES
D. W. Rossa | Chicago, IL USA | 08/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was lucky enough to live during the era of the COWBOY and COWBOY music. This collection of the Sons of the Pioneers bring back many happy memories. It has a lot of the songs I remember. If you like the Sons of the Pioneers you will love this recording of their most popular songs."