Margaret Lane Kobal, known to country music fans as Margie Lane
was a long-time country and western singer who got her start
on the east coast, but life's journey and marriage took her to New Mexico.
She was married for 44 years to Sundown Pete Kobal.
As Pete describes it in the liner notes of one of their recordings, they "...evolved
during the time when western music was popular both on the silver screen
Margie and Sundown Pete met at a popular western night club in New Jersey
back when both were touring with other musical acts.
Sundown Pete had other aspirations at the time and left New Jersey. Margie
stayed in the northeastern part of the country.
Meanwhile, Sundown Pete found himself eventually in California where he appeared
on a television talent show called "Rocket to Stardom" in 1955. He won first
prize on the show singing the western classic, "Ghost Riders In The Sky." He began
touring with various other local and national artists and his touring took
him once again back east.
Once back East, he made contact with Margie again. This time, they decided
to team up musically. They found an opportunity to fill in for an
act at a country and western show. From that moment on, they began touring
the 'circuit' as they called it. They worked with such stars back east
as Elton Britt, Shorty Warren and Kenny Roberts to name a few. They also
teamed up as life partners - they got married.
Their talents finally took them to Nashville, Tennessee. They were appearing
on shows that headlined Opry stars Roy Acuff and Hank Snow. In fact,
Hank owned a record label back then, Silver Star, and signed the duo
to record for it.
Their tours through Nashville and elsewhere helped them make contact
with one of traditional country music's tireless promoters, Cowboy Howard
Vokes, whom they've known since 1969.
Margie's vocal style was quite versatile having performed with combo pop bands,
western bands and country bands.
The duo also became acquaintances of Elsie Mcwilliams and Anita Rodgers Court while
in Meridian, Mississippi and again in San Antonio, Texas. They corresponded with
them regularly by mail over the years.
The recordings that Margie and her husband made stayed true to their musical
leanings in later years - country and a heavy emphasis on western as well
as including influences of the Mexican sounds that they found living
near the border.
Margie saluted the music of Mexico with her "Romantic Moments" album that
was released on the Broadcast Label. She described it as "...border music...it's honest,
sweet and the music of life and love." The two of them released another tribute album
to the southwestern sounds - "In El Paso" in which they were accompanied
by the Arriba Juarez Mariachi and the Midnight Strings. They dedicated the album
to the spirit of another legend who also used the Mexican sounds in his recordings, Marty
Pete notes that she always made sure that he 'blended' in with her when they appeared
together, noting her sense of fashion.
In 2003, they released an album called "The Only Star", which Sundown Pete notes
is a tribute song to his wife. The album contained songs they had made
from 1971 to 2003. Pete tells fans in the liner notes, "Margie's voice
stands alone in this crowded world of music and is recognized no matter
if it's old or new western, country, or pop music of the 40s with full orchestra
Margie passed away in late 2007 and was laid to rest in Deming, New Mexico.
Credits & Sources
- Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to thank Margie Lane
and Sundown Pete for providing us with photos, biographical information
and the opportunity to enjoy their musical recordings.
- Margie Lane and Sundown Pete; 2004 Radio Interview with
Darwin Lee Hill of radio station WHVW in Poughkeepsie, New York;
Copy provided by Sundown Pete.