Saying Goodbye to a True Son of the Pioneers

Dale Warren, the ‘Trail Boss’ for the legendary Sons of the Pioneers passed away on August 9, 2008 in Branson. He joined the group in 1952 replacing lead singer Ken Curtis, who went on to play Festus in the long-running television show, Gunsmoke.

Dale, who sang lead, baritone and played bass, was called upon to serve as the Pioneers’ leader in 1977 when Lloyd Perryman passed away. For over thirty years, Dale led the group known for its tight, rich cowboy harmonies featured in such songs as ‘Tumbling Tumbleweeds’ and ‘Cool Water.’

The Sons of the Pioneers were created by the ‘King of the Cowboys’ Roy Rogers in 1933 and have been in continuous performance ever since. The Smithsonian Institute dubbed them a ‘National Treasure.’ Having been inducted into the Singing Cowboy, National Cowboy and Western Music Association’s Halls of Fame, the Pioneers arguably set the standard for all western singing groups. They have appeared in close to 100 films with stars such as Gene Autry, Bing Crosby, John Wayne and, of course, Roy Rogers.

This promotional photograph shows Dale Warren in the upper left with the Sons of the Pioneers in 1967.

Dale, thanks for all that you have done. You’ve left quite a legacy. And as Roy would say, ‘Happy Trails, until we meet again!’

Note: You can still see the Sons of the Pioneers in performance at Shepherd of the Hills’ Pavillion Theatre, 5586 West Highway 76 in Branson. I highly recommend it. And take your appetite- there’s a Chuckwagon Dinner waiting for you that you are really going to enjoy!

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