and the Live Sex Show
Panama Red Plays Roosendaal
to Amsterdam, Buffy
ROGERS AND 'DANCE HALL GALS'
Nashville, TN, May
1, 2003 - - I sang this song (Dance
Hall Gals) for the late legendary storyteller and
performer Gamble Rogers while sitting on a beach in
Florida with him and Peppermint Patty in 1974 or so.
Later that same year he told me that he had taken to
performing it and that "they love it in Chicago." This
was really a compliment and source of pride to me, that
Gamble liked this straightforward little tune enough that
it had become an occasional part of his act.
I had met Gamble on
the Florida folk circuit, such as it
was then, at Beaux Arts Gallery in Pinellas Park. When we
were introduced, Gamble said he had already become aware
of me through legends of my cocksmanship. After
momentarily tripping over the fact that no one I knew at
the time(or since, really) was conversationally capable of
tossing off the word 'cocksmanship' in such a natural way,
I assured Gamble that my prowess was undoubtedly somewhat
exaggerated. Which, of course, it was. He was probably
putting me on, anyway.
And thus began my friendship
with James Gamble Rogers,
trained in architecture but a builder of songs and
stories, a friendship which was to last over distance and
twenty years. I have met other Southern aristocrats,
but he was certainly the most aristocratic of them all.
But he was also the
quintessence of that noblest of
callings, the troubadour. There are other performers more
renowned than I who learned much of their craft from
watching Gamble Rogers work. I learned a lot about
personal Honor from him as well. He was a good friend to
have when you were in a bind, a man of vastly
sophisticated humor, and a constant light and
encouragement to me.
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with Gamble's
longtime friend and business associate, Mr. Charles
Steadham, who has been steadily releasing Gamble Rogers
recordings on Oklawaha Records since Gamble's heroic and
untimely death in 1991.
Charles revealed to
me that not only had Gamble performed
'Dance Hall Gals' live, but that he had recorded a version
of it, a fact of which I'd had no knowledge. The CD,
called "Good Causes - The Southern Gothic Art Songs of
Gamble Rogers" (OK1006), will be released on May 1, 2003,
the starting day of this year's annual Gamble Rogers
Festival in St Augustine, Florida. A streaming version of
Gamble's cut of the tune, along with others from his
catalogue, is available on the website maintained in his
honor and memory: http://www.gamblerogers.com
Whether or not you are
familiar with Gamble Rogers and his
work, you will do yourself well to go to the foundation's
website and read about this remarkable performer and
consummate Southern gentleman. If you're near
St Augustine, go to the GambleFest. May 2 through 4th.
Festival website: http://www.gamblefest.com/