Issue 2
February 2021
Greetings to all our friends and fans of Gamble Rogers Music Festival. We're happy to bring you another edition of the Gamble Gazette which features stories submitted by Bruce Horovitz, author of the Gamble Rogers biography 'A Troubadour's Life', and Red Henry, who has been with the festival from the very beginning, and a life-long friend of Gamble's.

Both of these gentleman's submissions speaks to the humanity of Gamble Rogers. After all, that is what we are trying to keep alive, the kindness and decency that he portrayed.
If you have a Gamble story you would like to share, please submit it to me at . Please keep your submission to 500 words or less.

The photograph of Gamble and his mentor, Merle Travis, I took at the 1976 Philadelphia Folk Festival. It was indeed a special moment which is easily seen by the expressions on each of their faces. Grateful that I was there to take the picture and grateful, too, to play on stage with Gamble and Liz Corrigan.

Dates for the next Gamble Rogers Festival are April 30, May 1 and 2. The dates are confirmed at the Colonial Quarter in downtown St Augustine. Your purchase of our new beautiful T-shirt created by Taylor Fausset, and donations will help us move forward to that end.

Yours in music,
Bob Patterson
Gamble and his mentor, Merle Travis, at the 1976 Philadelphia Folk Festival. Photo by Bob Patterson
By Red Henry
This occurred in the summer of about 1990, when Gamble and Nancy happened to be in North Georgia at the same time as Murphy and our kids were visiting at the home of her parents, Dr. and Mrs. L. G. Hicks, in Clarkesville. Murphy invited Gamble and Nancy over for supper.
After Mrs. Hicks' delicious meal, everyone was seated around the dinner table and Gamble, as he typically would, began telling a story.
Gamble had spent his summers, growing up, at his uncle's house a few miles from Clarkesville, in the Nacoochee Valley. He told a story about a farmer who lived in that area. The story dated from the late 1940s, when the county roads were first being paved:
A local road was about to receive its first coat of paving, and all the people who lived along the road were told to stay off that new hot, soft asphalt for a day so it could cool. But one farmer paid no attention to that. After the crews had laid that new asphalt on the road, he hitched his mules to his big farm wagon and headed into town.
The iron tires of the heavy wagon left two-inch-deep ruts in that nice new asphalt. The ruts came out his front gate, went into town, returned on the other side of the road, and then came right back into his gate again.
Then came the day of reckoning. A deputy sheriff came out to his farm to give him a ticket for having ruined that nice new paving job. The farmer was amazed. He didn't even try to deny driving his wagon on the road. Instead he asked, dumbfounded:
"How could you tell it was ME?"
Now, this was a pretty funny story, and it got a good laugh at the table. But then Dr. Hicks, who as usual had said little during the whole meal, spoke up. He said, "What was that farmer's name?" Gamble thought a moment and replied, "Will Sosebee." Dr. Hicks said, "Yep. He was my uncle."
A glacial silence descended upon the table. Gamble had told a hilarious story about a family member of the folks he was having supper with! For once in his life, Gamble was speechless.
It was an awkward moment. For a minute or two, nobody said anything. But I expect that Nancy may have been sitting there highly amused.
Florida native Red Henry began playing music in 1967, inspired by such Florida heroes as Dale Crider, Will McLean, and Gamble Rogers. He usually plays several Florida folk music festivals each year, often accompanied by his son Christopher. They invariably include songs and stories inspired by Gamble Rogers in their shows.
I never knew
Gamble Rogers

By Bruce Horovitz

I never knew Gamble Rogers.
In fact, I never even saw him perform. Not even once.

Yet somehow, I feel like I’ve known him all my life.

That’s what happens when you have the good fortune to write a biography about one of Florida’s most iconic, cultural legends.

I came to write Gamble’s story innocently enough. A neighbor and friend, the late Honorable Bruce McEwan showed me a 1937 photograph of two babies crawling on a blanket. 

It was a photograph of McEwan and James Gamble Rogers IV, clad only in diapers. Their friendship would last a lifetime. The old photograph would set me on a personal journey to discover everything I could about “Jimmy” Gamble Rogers.

Like so many others, I was familiar with the name Gamble Rogers. I even knew about a state park in his honor and that a musical festival bearing his name was held somewhere in St. Augustine. But beyond that, I knew scant little about this giant of a man. It turns out I wasn’t alone. A quick search of the public library and the internet revealed little if any about this ordinary man with an extraordinary gift. The more I learned about Gamble Rogers the man, the more passionate I became about wanting to tell his story.

During my research I learned of a movement to remove his name from the state park in Flagler Beach. “No one really knew who he was,” remarked one city official. I was astounded. My passion to tell his story turned into an obsession. 

What I learned on my journey was that Gamble Rogers was so much more than the charismatic performer who wowed audiences with his unforgettable choke style guitar picking and who left bar patrons laughing out loud at the “skull orchard” tapestry of Oklawaha County. For sure Gamble will always be associated with the apocryphal Terminal Tavern, Still Bill, War Bunny and Agamemnon Jones. Their images are forever etched in Florida’s folk culture. 

What I felt needed to be told was the story of Gamble’s humanity, his compassion and his ability to connect. Gamble’s friend Jim Carrick once told me, “Everyone wanted to play guitar like Gamble, but more than that, everyone wanted to be like Gamble.” It was a tall order.

Time and again while writing his biography I found people whose lives had been touched by Gamble. Even more so, while on speaking engagements to talk about the book, I was constantly approached by individuals with a poignant Gamble Rogers story perhaps known only to themselves. 

Writing the book, “Gamble Rogers, A Troubadour’s Life” was an honor and a privilege. I am grateful to so many of his friends and family who were so giving their time and insights. 

For me, it was an inspiration. I got to know about a hero I had never met. I learned the true meaning of a humanitarian. I learned about decency and humility at a time when such virtues seem all too scarce. 

I never knew Gamble Rogers, but I will carry his message with me forever.
Bob Patterson, Gamble Rogers, and Liz Corrigan at the 1976 Philadelphia Folk Festival.
25th Annual T-shirt Available!
Thanks to Taylor Fausset for the awesome 
design for the 25th Annual T-shirt! 

Photo shows musicians Sam Pacetti and Bob Patterson
wearing the new shirts!

"We have so much to offer our community to help people though these times. The greatest healing will begin when live music returns. We have the power to make that happen." — Bob Patterson

Thank you to our community for the support. Donate to the nonprofit Gamble Rogers Music Festival to help continue our efforts to support youth music programs in our community.
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