Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A True Gentleman

For those of you who knew him, nuff said. For those of you who don’t, stick around, for Gamble Rogers was the finest folk entertainer I’ve ever had the pleasure to see, hear, and know. I bestow upon this fine man the highest honor I know to bestow on someone… he was a true gentleman. Kind, considerate, and an entertainer of the first degree.

I first saw Gamble back in the folk coffee house days of the late 50s. He was a regular at a place in St. Augustine, Florida called the Trade Winds. The place is still there, having gone from coffee house to biker bar to contemporary tourist trap.

A few years back, I was the membership barker for the local public TV and radio station. “Where else can you enjoy programming like this? Only on public television. But we need your help. Go to the phone right now and call the number on your screen.”

For several seasons I would end the weeks long fund drives with a live variety show. A party. I would set up café tables and invite friends and whoever to join us for dinner and a couple of hours of entertainment featuring local talent, who all volunteered their time for the cause. On several occasions, Gamble agreed to perform. It was always the highlight of the evening.

He created an entire community of colorful characters for his stories. Much like Garrison Keillor. They all resided in make believe Oklawaha County Florida, somewhere south of Gainesville, around Micanopy.

Sadly, Gamble was lost to us in a tragic accident in 1991 when he drowned in the ocean trying to save a tourist in trouble. It was at Washington Oaks State Park a little north of Flagler Beach. The beach side of that park is now Gamble Rogers State Park. Such was the universal admiration and esteem for the man.

I was able to come up with a couple of videos that I’m sure you will enjoy. His audio recordings are still available at Amazon and on a web site hosted by the Gamble Rogers Folk Festival. If you like these videos, you will love his albums. I highly recommend them.


  1. Thank you for posting this fine tribute to Gamble.

  2. My pleasure brother Punch. I figured an old Ocklawahan like yourself wouldn't mind hearing a tale or two.
    Thanks for your kind words concerning the banner. I'm getting there, slowly but surely. Having too much fun getting there as I'm neglecting my writing... and most everything else to for that matter.

  3. I'd never heard of Gamble but enjoyed this exposure to him.

    I'm loving your new banner Mr. Charleston.

  4. Bit late with a comment here, but thanks for the tribute. I too am a fan of Gamble, and also discovered him at the Trade Winds. Sorry to hear of its contemporary status, though.

    The header is getting there. No offense, but I preferred the B of L in the window. Love the side images, though.


Sorry about the comment thingy folks. Too much spam.