Here you can read short bios of the Sons of the Pioneers of the 1930s and 1940s. To read more complete biographies, visit the SOP section of the Bob Nolan Website.
Lloyd Wilson Perryman (January 29, 1917, Ruth, AK — May 31, 1977, Burbank, California)
Lloyd, aka “Mr. Pioneer”, one of the most formative and instrumental members of the Sons of the Pioneers, was a rustic tenor and guitar player. He was responsible for the intricate stacked harmonies that shot the group to stardom, and he maintained that level of excellence in the group until his untimely death in 1977 of complications after a heart attack. He was a member of the Sons of the Pioneers for 41 years. Click here to find a tribute to one of the Pioneers’ most important members.
Vernon Timothy Spencer (July 13, 1908, Webb City, MO – April 26. 1974, California)
Tim Spencer, one of the original members of the Sons of the Pioneers, was first their tenor and then their lead/middle singer when Lloyd Perryman joined them in 1936. His soft Southern voice blended seamlessly in the Pioneer harmonies, giving them body and continuity. He was also one of their main songwriters, contributing hundreds of songs to the repertoire of the Pioneers and many other recording artists. He was a member from their beginnings in the early 1930s until his retirement in 1949 (though he remained as their manager). Click here to find a tribute to Tim Spencer.
Clarence Robert Nobles, name changed to Robert Clarence Nolan (April 13, 1908, Winnipeg, Canada– June 16, 1980, California)
Bob Nolan was perhaps the man who defined the Sons of the Pioneers. After a time of making movies with Roy Rogers in the 1940s, the other men of the group chose to have the Pioneers billed as “Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers”, for they felt that Bob ought to have more recognition for his role as songwriter and lead singer, not to mention his man’s-man physique so trademark of the cowboy ideal. Bob was one of the original members of the Sons of the Pioneers, retiring in 1949. To read more about Bob Nolan, visit bobnolan-sop.net, the most comprehensive website on Bob and the Sons of the Pioneers.
Click here to find a tribute to Bob Nolan.
Karl Marx Farr (April 25, 1909, Rochelle, TX – – September 22, 1961, Springfield, MA)
Karl Farr was brought into the Sons of the Pioneers early in their career (1935) as their lead guitarist. He had an intricate style and played by ear to create, along with his brother Hugh’s fiddle, the Pioneer’s trademark instrumental sound. Karl was a member until his sudden death of a heart attack during a performance in 1961. Click here for a tribute to Karl Farr.
Leonard Franklin Slye (November 5, 1911, Cincinnati, OH– July 6, 1998, Apple Valley, CA)
Len Slye was perhaps the one responsible for the Sons of the Pioneers getting together in the first place. He was the idealistic young singer whose enthusiasm kept the hungry group of young men pressing on until they got a break and soared to success. Len left the Pioneers for a solo career in acting, and became famous worldwide as Roy Rogers.
He was lead singer and guitar player for the Pioneers from their beginnings until 1937.
Hubert Paul Flatt, name changed to Ken Carson (November 14, 1914, Centrahoma, OK– April 7, 1994, Jacksonville, FL)
Ken Carson was a popular singer on the radio when he met the Sons of the Pioneers in the late 1930s. When Lloyd Perryman was drafted into World War II, Ken was called in to deputize for him. He sang tenor and played guitar. He stayed on recording with the Pioneers for nearly two years after Lloyd’s return in 1946. Click the home page for more about Ken Carson. This is a website dedicated to him, after all.
This Ain’t the Same Old Range– Tribute to the Sons of the Pioneers