WHO WAS GAMBLE ROGERS?
James Gamble Rogers IV was born in 1937, the son and grandson of prominent architects in Florida, but he chose to be a musician instead. He blended music with dialogue and storytelling to captivate any audience he came before.
Gamble inspired many artists, including Jimmy Buffet, to expand their capacity for storytelling and their musical talent will follow. Gamble first gained national attention as a lead singer and guitarist, both acoustic and electric, for the band the Serendipity Singers.
He introduced and verbally set the stage for their songs when they appeared on television shows such as The Tonight Show, Hootenanny, and The Ed Sullivan Show. Gamble soon moved to a solo career where he earned national acclaim, appearing on talk shows across the country, hosting numerous music specials, and continuing to play his whimsical, spellbinding music. At the age of 54, Gamble passed away trying to save a drowning man at Flagler Beach in Florida. He is remembered today through the Gamble Rogers Memorial Foundation and the Gamble Rogers Folk Fest.
Gamble Rogers balanced a love of balladry and folk songs with a passion for the oral tradition and storytelling. The son and grandson of influential architects, Rogers was described as both a "modern troubadour" and the "resurrection of Will Rogers and Mark Twain". Rogers was a master performer--enchanting an audience with Travis-style guitar finger picking and relating downright rib-tickling tales about the inhabitants of the fictitious Oklawaha County.
The Atlanta Constitution called Rogers, "an American treasure worthy of inclusion in the Smithsonian". Rogers was just hitting his peak when he died, on October 10, 1991, trying to save a man from drowning. The recreational area in Flagler County, where the accident occurred, was later renamed, Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area.
In the liner notes of his album, Fruitcakes, Jimmy Buffett dedicated the recording to Rogers' memory and wrote that Rogers, "taught me how to move an audience with dialogue and delivery as much as with music". In 1993, Rogers was posthumously awarded a Folk Heritage award.
~ Craig Harris, All Music Guide
Visit the Foundation website to learn more
about Gamble, to hear his music and stories,
or even to buy something!