Sons of the Pioneers

Variant names

Hide Profile

The Sons of the Pioneers was one of the leading vocal and instrumental groups in Western music. They were especially known for their harmonies, songwriting, and musicianship. In addition to their creative success, the Pioneers were among the longest lasting groups in the history of country music, celebrating 65 years of continuous performances in 1998. Over the years, the members of the group included Pat Brady, Ken Carson, Ken Curtis, Tommy Doss, Hugh Farr, Karl Farr, Shug Fisher, Luther Nallie, Bob Nolan, Lloyd Perryman, Rusty Richards, Roy Rogers, Tim Spencer, and Dale Warren.

From the description of Sons of the Pioneers transcription discs collection, WorldCat record id: 64186340

In the fall of 1933, Roy Rogers (1911-1998), Tim Spencer (1908-1976), and Bob Nolan (1908-1980) formed the Pioneer Trio in Los Angeles, Calif., a Western singing group specializing in cowboy songs. Shortly after, the Trio decided to add instrumentation and recruited Hugh Farr (1903-1980) to play the fiddle. By 1935, they had also recruited Hugh's brother, Karl Farr (1909-1961), to play the guitar. At this time, a radio announcer at KFWB in Los Angeles introduced the group as the Sons of the Pioneers, rather than the Pioneer Trio. Initially upset by the announcer's mistake, the Pioneers eventually accepted the new name and their long career began.

In 1936, the group needed a temporary replacement for Tim Spencer and recruited Lloyd Perryman (1917-1977), a vocalist stayed with the Pioneers longer than any other member. Later, in 1937, Roy Rogers left the group to pursue his film career and Lloyd Perryman was chosen to complete the trio. Many consider the trio of Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer, and Lloyd Perryman, with the Farr Brothers and Pat Brady on bass, to be the original Sons of the Pioneers.

From 1938 to 1942, the original Sons of the Pioneers remained together; however, after World War II began, Lloyd Perryman and Pat Brady were drafted and were replaced by Ken Carson and George Shug Fisher. During the war, the trio was Nolan, Spencer, and Carson, with the Farr Brothers and Shug Fisher on bass. When Perryman and Brady returned in 1946, Carson continued with the group for another year, eventually leaving in 1947.

1949 brought major changes for the Sons of the Pioneers. Because of increasing voice problems, Tim Spencer left the group and was replaced by Ken Curtis. Pat Brady also decided to leave to join Roy Rogers as his sidekick and, once again, Brady was replaced by Shug Fisher. Another major change came when Bob Nolan decided to retire, causing the Pioneers to lose their lead singer. Lloyd Perryman stepped in, and Tommy Doss was recruited to complete the trio. The trio was now Perryman, Curtis, and Doss, with the Farr Brothers and Shug Fisher.

The new trio lasted from 1949 to 1953 and maintained a daily radio and TV program, the Lucky U Ranch, which aired from 1951 to 1953. The Lucky U Ranch had the Pioneers living and working on a ranch located near the desert's edge and involved skits that included Betty Taylor as the local schoolmarm, Frankie Messina as the ranch boss, and special guests. At the same time, the Pioneers performed in some of John Ford's films, including Wagon Master (1950) and Rio Grande (1951). In 1953, the Sons of the Pioneers decided to quit the Lucky U Ranch and begin touring again.

From 1953 forward, the Sons of the Pioneers went through many changes in personnel. In 1953, Ken Curtis and Shug Fisher left the group to continue with the radio and TV program, changing the name from the Lucky U Ranch to the Lucky U . They were replaced by Dale Warren and Pat Brady. Although Tommy Doss retired from the group in 1963 and was replaced by Rusty Richards, he continued to record in the studio with the Pioneers until 1967. Luther Nallie joined the group in 1968. Thirty years later, in 1998, the group celebrated 65 years of continuous performances.

From the guide to the Sons of the Pioneers Transcription Discs Collection,  , 1940-1959, (bulk 1951-1953), (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Dickson, Dick. Portrait photographs with Dickson : photographic prints, ca. 1940. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn The Railroad hour, radio program [sound recording], 1948-1954 The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection song folios, circa 1882-1983. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection Artist Name File, 1940-2005 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection transcription discs, 1940-1968. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Sons of the Pioneers. Sons of the Pioneers transcription discs collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection artist name files, 1940-2005 (artists R-Z). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Spencer, Hal;. Oral history interview with Hal Spencer; 1974 June 26; interview conducted by Douglas B. Green and Gene Bear. Country Music Foundation, Library & Media Center
creatorOf Sons of the Pioneers Transcription Discs Collection,  , 1940-1959, (bulk 1951-1953) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
referencedIn McDonald, Elizabeth Drake, 1943-. Elizabeth Drake McDonald collection, 1927-2000. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Sons of the Pioneers. John Edwards memorial collection, n.d. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Allen, Fred, 1894-1956. Mail call, radio program [sound recording]. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Elizabeth Drake McDonald Collection, 1927-2000 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
creatorOf Butcher, Dwight, 1911-. John Edwards memorial collection, n.d. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, Rex, 1920-1999. person
associatedWith Allen Roth person
associatedWith Arness, James, 1923-2011. person
associatedWith Arnold, Eddy, 1918-2008. person
correspondedWith Art Linkletter person
associatedWith Barbara Stanwyck person
associatedWith Beneke, Tex. person
associatedWith Betty Taylor person
associatedWith Billy Gray person
associatedWith Boggs, Noel. person
associatedWith Bond, Ward, 1903-1960. person
associatedWith Brady, Pat, 1914-1972. person
associatedWith Brennan, Walter, 1894-1974. person
associatedWith Broderick Crawford person
associatedWith Buchanan Brothers corporateBody
associatedWith Carolina Cotton person
associatedWith Carson, Ken. person
associatedWith Cindy Walker person
associatedWith Cooley, Spade, 1910-1969. person
associatedWith Cotton, Carolina. person
associatedWith Crawford, Broderick, 1911-1986. person
associatedWith Curtis, Ken, 1916-1991. person
associatedWith Dick Foran person
associatedWith Dickson, Dick. person
associatedWith Dink Swink person
associatedWith Doss, Tommy, 1920- person
associatedWith Dr. Pepper corporateBody
associatedWith Eddie Arnold person
associatedWith Faron Young person
associatedWith Farr, Hugh, 1903-1980. person
associatedWith Farr, Karl, 1909- person
associatedWith Ferlin Husky person
associatedWith Fisher, Shug. person
associatedWith Foran, Dick, 1910-1979. person
associatedWith Gray, Billy, 1938- person
associatedWith Hamblen, Stuart, 1908-1989. person
associatedWith Hugh Farr person
associatedWith Hugh O'Brian person
associatedWith Husky, Ferlin. person
associatedWith Jack Berch person
associatedWith James Arness person
associatedWith Jones, Stan, 1914-1963. person
associatedWith Jon Provost person
associatedWith Karl Farr person
associatedWith Ken Curtis person
associatedWith King, Wayne, 1901-1985. person
associatedWith Linkletter, Art, 1912-2010. person
associatedWith Lloyd Perryman person
associatedWith Martha Mears person
associatedWith McDonald, Elizabeth Drake, 1943- person
associatedWith Messina, Frankie. person
associatedWith Montana Slim person
associatedWith Montana Slim, 1904-1996. person
associatedWith Nallie, Luther. person
associatedWith Noel Boggs person
associatedWith Nolan, Bob. person
associatedWith O'Brian, Hugh. person
associatedWith Pat Brady person
associatedWith Perryman, Lloyd. person
associatedWith Provost, Jon, 1949- person
associatedWith Railroad Hour Radio Program corporateBody
associatedWith Reverend Wells person
associatedWith Rex Allen person
associatedWith Richards, Rusty. person
associatedWith Rogers, Roy, 1911-1998. person
associatedWith Roy Rogers person
associatedWith Shug Fisher person
associatedWith Spade Cooley person
associatedWith Spencer, Hal; person
associatedWith Spencer, Tim, 1908-1974. person
associatedWith Stan Jones person
associatedWith Stanwyck, Barbara, 1907-1990. person
associatedWith Sweet Georgia Brown person
associatedWith Taylor, Betty, vocalist. person
associatedWith Tex Beneke Orchestra corporateBody
associatedWith Tex Williams person
associatedWith Tommy Doss person
associatedWith Tune Twirlers corporateBody
associatedWith Walker, Cindy. person
associatedWith Walter Brennan person
associatedWith Ward Bond person
associatedWith Warren, Dale. person
associatedWith Wayne King Orchestra corporateBody
associatedWith Whippoorwills corporateBody
associatedWith Whippoorwills (Musical group) corporateBody
associatedWith Williams, Tex. person
associatedWith Young, Faron. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
West (U.S.)
United States
West (U.S.)
United States
Country musicians
Folk songs
Popular music
Old-time music
Radio programs
Songs, English

Corporate Body




Ark ID: w6p881p6

SNAC ID: 5264467