Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Sons of the Pioneers

Who of my age era did not watch Roy Rogers on television?  Many of us watched everything there was on TV in our youth. TV was new and there was a limited, (though rapidly growing), selection of shows that would interest us. Ah, us Boomers. The infestation to US population following the GI’s return home after final success in Europe and the Pacific. We’ve had some impact and TV has been one. If we were not there to watch the early shows and pester our parents for the products advertised, what might have happened to TV? No Roy?
We went last evening to the hokey but cute, Old Tucson. It is today, mostly a tourist attraction. It was built in the late thirties as a western movie set for the 1940 movie, Arizona. The set designers overbuilt in terms of sturdiness and much of the original still exists, and has been expanded upon. It borders state parkland and so has remained an open range western movie filming oasis. Diverse acting from John Wayne to Sharon Stone, Glenn Ford, The Three Amigos and beyond has been filmed there.
They do occasional shows at the dance hall-like saloon that has been recreated. We went last evening to hear one of our country’s oldest musical groups, The Sons of the Pioneers.
What used to be Country & Western Music is now Country with endless sub-groups and Western, well, classical Western is now an idiosyncratic music form well off the play media’s radar. So for that, thank heavens for the survival of The Sons Of The Pioneers.
Formed in 1934, they are into their eighty-second year of continuous performance. They are a musical legacy from Roy Rogers.  The Sons were founded in 1934 by Leonard Slye, Bob Nolan and Tim Spencer. Leonard was the one that created the unique, tight harmony arrangements to vocal songs that have become the hallmark of this great type of American music. In 1938 Leonard was offered a movie deal and left the group, changing his name to Roy Rogers. The music and sound was too special not to survive and today’s five members are what you’d expect, and more, in terms of the caliber of their talent. Heck, you don’t play and sing this music if’n you don’t like it and you sure as jehosaphat don’t get yourself into The Sons unless you can sure play and sing it at the top of the game… They were stunning. The setting was perfect and they responded to it with a great show. Tumblin” Tumbleweeds, Don’t Fence Me In, Cool Water and the perfect close with, Happy Trails To You.

We have not adopted Happy Trails as our theme song, but we sure could. It has popped up often enough in our travels in this part of our US. It is a good descriptor for this phase of our RV adventure.

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