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June 16

Why today? Bob Nolan, a founder of the Sons of the Pioneers, owner of one of the most distinctive voices in all of music, and among the best and most prolific Western-music songwriters ever, died on this date 30 years ago.

About the record: RCA Victor 20-2076, recorded Aug. 15, 1946, at the label’s Hollywood studio. Released the following January. First LP appearance was on Cowboy Classics, RCA Victor LPM-3032 (10-inch), released in 1952.

Steve Huey, in his Allmusic.com biography of Bob Nolan, notes that the Canada-born singer became the clear leader of the Sons of the Pioneers after co-founder Leonard Slye left to make movies as Roy Rogers. “Chant of the Wanderer” was one of the many songs he wrote, an extensive catalog that includes the classics “Cool Water” and “Tumbling Tumbleweeds.”

The group’s move to RCA Victor from Decca in the mid-’40s meant an update from the simple guitar-and-fiddle accompaniment of their early records, as our featured selection shows. Isn’t this a great sound?

About the artist: Read Huey’s biography to learn more about the great Bob Nolan, a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and, as one of the original Sons of the Pioneers, the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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