Keray and Bob Regan

More famous artists from the Spirit River area!  “You may know the songs Poor, Poor Farmer” and “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You”… and did you know that Pouce Coupe brothers Keray and Bob Regan were behind them?

Keray, born in 1923 and little brother Bob, born in 1931, spent their childhood years playing ukelele, fiddle, guitar, accordion, harmonica and mandolin.  Keray wrote a few songs but didn’t consider them to be of much importance.  In 1946 his sister got hold of a home recording he’d made of “My Home By the Fraser” and took it to the local radio station.  Soon it was topping the local charts and selling out in Vancouver.  In 1947, Keray’s song outsold Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.”

Sales skyrocketed a few years later when the record company owner had Keray re-record the single with professional musicians.  Stardom was in the making for Keray Regan.  He covered “Those Beautiful Big Brown Eyes,” “My Dreams and I,” “The Little White House on the Hill,” and “Picking Flowers,” a song by Elizabeth Clarke, the writer of “There’s a Bluebird on your Windowsill”.

Keray went to California, was a guest on a tv show, and toured with Vic Siebert and Sons of the Saddle.  But the city lights were not for Keray.  He went back to farming.  That’s where he wrote “Poor, Poor Farmer,” a song that reached #1 on Canadian charts and became Keray’s most famous contribution to Canadian country music (most familiarly as Stompin’ Tom Connors’ recording).  It wasn’t just Canadians who loved “Poor, Poor Farmer”: it was recorded in 32 countries by 32 artists.  Most successful was Tim Pat’s recording in Ireland, where the song was the best-selling record Ireland had had up til then.

Keray always preferred hunting and singing for friends to the possibilities of fame.  He stuck to the Peace Country, his inspiration and his home.  In 1992 he recorded Alaska Highway, a special cassette for the anniversary of the northern trail.  The tape included the title song and seven other local ballads.  Maybe you still have a copy somewhere?

Keray Regan died in Dawson Creek in 2005.  Wonder if he’s “still a farmer up in the land above?”

Meanwhile, Bob Regan became a talented guitarist.  For a short time he formed a duo with his sister Fern, but when she got married he was looking for a new partner.  He found one he liked very much, Lucille Starr.  They married and became the Canadian Sweethearts.

The Canadian Sweethearts went to California and found success.  They were on several tv shows in the US and Canada, toured with Hank Snow, and travelled to Europe and Africa to sing.  They had several popular country singles, as well as rockabilly song Eeny Meeny Miney Moe.  They are recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame for their contribution to the genre.

The Canadian Sweethearts didn’t last forever; Bob and Lucille split and each took up solo careers.  Bob died in 1990, but you can still see him (and hear him) on YouTube.  His brother Keray is there too.

If you know any local artists, or can correct any information on Town Spirit, your input is most welcome!  Email or comment below.

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4 Responses to Keray and Bob Regan

  1. Those names and songs definitely ring a bell for me. But what a long time ago!

  2. Pingback: Answers to Quiz 14 | Town Spirit

  3. Susie Boyer says:

    Id like to know why a part of bob regans life was left out. The fact that he also had another singing partner by the name if patricia Morine who changed her last name to patricia lane. They eventually married, i know this because my grandmother attended the wedding. We have pictures of the wedding. This man was my uncle and visited my family. We have pictures of him sitting in my parents living room. My aunt was beautiful and the most amazing voice and when i read this article i was quite upset that his life with her was ommitted. Our family had many great memories with bob and my aunt. They lived in California yes, we have pictures of my aunt living there. I am quite saddened that this whole part of his life which our family was a part of was not mentioned, like it never happened. But it did and i got to be a part of that.

  4. Len Nugent says:

    I’m looking for Bob’s last LP Popular Tree recorded in Vancouver. With myself and Even Kemp and his band. My LP got destroyed and I sure wish I could replace it! !!

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