Larry Nolen

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Larry Nolen & the Bandits
Jerry Robinson   Kermit Baca    Slimbo Mills    Larry Nolen    Frenchie Arcenax   Junior Pruneda   Gil Baca

Country Music Living Legend   *   Triple Hall of Fame Member   *   Proud Dad & Grandpa


In 1946, when he was barely 13 years old, Larry Nolen began his professional music career.  He was asked to play rhythm guitar with The Mountain Rhythm Band which featured Boy and Gene, the Jacoby Brothers.  Smiley Whitley, leader of one of the most famous western swing bands in Texas, recognized a star on the rise and invited Larry to play with his band, Smiley Whitley and the Texans.  They performed most Saturday nights at Bandera’s famous Cabaret Dancehall and also hosted a radio show at San Antonio’s KONO / KMAC radio station five days a week. Larry delivered his first solo radio performance one day when he was the only band member who was able to travel to the station during a severe ice storm in San Antonio.  Fans loved his debut performance and demanded more.  Soon he became Smiley’s lead vocalist and was well on his way to his own successful career.  Later, he formed his own band, Larry Nolen and the Bandits, and entertained record-breaking crowds each weekend at The Cabaret as well as numerous other notable dancehalls, rodeos, fairs, festivals and major venues throughout the country.

Larry is a Living Legend in the Western music world and has performed on more than fifty Grand Ol’ Opry Road Shows as well as the Louisiana Hay Ride.  He has appeared on numerous television shows and commercials and has even been in a few movies.  He has worked with many major recording stars of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s including Elvis Presley, Porter Wagoner, Spade Cooley, Marty Robbins, Johnny Paycheck, and George Jones as well as his great friends, Hank Thompson, Doug Sahm and Roger Miller.  Larry’s live performances continue to draw crowds of eager, music-loving fans to this day.

Larry has been inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame for “King of the Ducktail Cats”, the Texas Western Swing Music Hall of Fame with the Texas Tophands, and the Bandera Music Hall of Fame as a Living Legend.  A few of his hit records include “I Need You Now”, “Please Talk To My Heart”, The Bandit”, “Hillbilly Love Affair” and “Ramblin’ Rose” which was recorded by Nat King Cole.

Larry is the proud father of seven sons.  Larry Jr. and Ladd, both accomplished musicians, continue the Nolen tradition by performing professionally and operating Ladd’s Song Riders Recording Studio.  Lance and Tony are in real estate and electronics sales, while Christopher is with the Houston Fire Department.  Breaking with the family’s western tradition, Rann, Larry’s youngest son, is in the process of recording his first rap CD at his Dad’s Bandit Recording Studio.  Clark, Larry’s #6 son, is with God in Heaven.  Larry is also the proud grandfather of thirteen grandchildren and the great grandfather of one.

Larry lives on a ranch near Pipe Creek, Texas with his wife, Dixie.  He owns and operates Bandit Records, his own private recording studio on the ranch.  His private saloon, The Bandit Bar, is filled with musical memories - photos of his performances and great friends in the music business.  Among those pictured in his bar are longtime friends Willie Nelson, who long ago tagged Larry as “The Original Bandit”, and the ever popular Johnny Bush, one of Larry’s early drummers.

Larry continues to make appearances at venues and events throughout Texas and has recently recorded his latest CD, “Hangovers Sure Hang On”.  He will be the first to tell you that his country music career has given him an amazing life filled with great friends and wonderful memories.  Join Larry in making more musical memories at his next live performance ... and wear your dancin’ boots! 098
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