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Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security


Old Man Atom: The Sons Of The Pioneers [1950]

This take on Sam Hinton's definitive version was rushed to release by RCA Victor after Hinton's record achieved such overwhelming response. It is notable for the lyrics being slightly altered so that the tune is being presented in the first person, sung by 'Old Man Atom himself.' The Pioneers' version also drops a verse about the United Nations and is a generally more watered down interpretation of the songwriter's original intent.

This long running western group was first formed as The Pioneer Trio by Leonard Franklin Slye (better known as the future Roy Rogers). The original trio included Slye, Bob Nolan and Tim Spencer. In 1933 or 1934, country fiddler Hugh Farr was added and in 1935, Hugh's brother, guitarist Karl Farr, joined the group. It was this line-up that constituted the original Sons Of Pioneers.

In 1934 the group began a series of transcriptions for Standard Radio where their smooth harmonies, western themes and trio yodeling became quite popular and served to influence other country groups. That same year, The Pioneers signed with Decca. Some of their songs from this period include Tumblin' Tumbleweeds, Cool Water and Happy Rovin' Cowboy. Many of the group's compositions were inspired by their frequent appearances in B-movie westerns starting in 1935 for Columbia Pictures. In 1937 Slye left the group for Republic Pictures where he would be reborn as Roy Rogers. Pat Brady served as his replacement. Rogers did not forget his humble beginnings and made sure that his old band got signed to Republic after their Columbia contract ran out in. The group appeared in films with Rogers through 1949.

In 1945 the group signed with RCA Victor where, incredibly, they remained until 1969. In 1980 the original group members were inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame. In 1998 the latest incarnation of the combo celebrated 65 years in show business in their new home base, Branson, Missouri.

Old Man Atom: The Sons Of The Pioneers [1950]

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Alamogordo, Bikini...

Talking blues:
I'm gonna preach you-all a sermon 'bout Old Man Atom, that's me
I don't mean the Adam in the Bible datum.
I don't mean the Adam that Mother Eve elated
I mean that thing that science liberated.
The thing that Einstein says he's scared of,
And when Einstein's scared, brother, you'd better be scared.

If you're scared of the atom here's what’s you gotta do
You gotta gather all the people in the world with you
‘Cause if you don't get together and do it
Well, first thing you know I'm gonna blow this world plum two

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Alamogordo, Bikini

Now life used to be such a simple joy
My cyclotron was just a super toy
And folks got born, they'd work and marry
And "atom" was a word in the dictionary
And then it happened!
The science boys, from every clime
They all pitched in with overtime
And before they knew it, the thing was done
And they'd hitched up the power of the gol-dern sun
And put a harness on Old Sol
Splittin' atoms, while the diplomats was splittin' hairs

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Alamogordo, Bikini...

But the atom's here, in spite of hysteria,
Flourishes in Utah, as well as Siberia.
And whether you're a black, white, red or brown,
The question is this, when you boil it down:
To be or not to be! That's the question!

The answer to it all ain't military datum,
Like who gets there firstest with the mostest atoms,"
No, the people of the world must decide their fate,
They gotta get together or disintegrate.
I hold this truth to be self-evident
That all men may be cremated equal!

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Alamogordo, Bikini...

Yes, it's up to the people, ‘cause the atoms don't care,
You can't fence me in, I'm just like air.
I don't give a hoot about any politics
Or who got what into whichever fix
All I want to do is sit around and have my nucleus bombarded by neutrons.

Now the moral is this, just as plain as day,
That Old Man Atom is here to stay.
I'm gonna stick around, and that's for true
But, ah, my dearly beloved, are you?

So listen, folks, here is my thesis:
"Peace in the world, or the world in pieces!"

The Sons Of The Pioneers [1950]
Old Man Atom
(Vern Partlow-Irving Bibo)
RCA Victor 21/48-0368



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