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Jimmy Buffett's speech on the occasion of
Gamble Rogers' induction into the
Florida Artists Hall of Fame

(Read in his absence by storyteller, Jane Sims)

I am sorry that I cannot be in Florida for this wonderful and long deserved event, but to put it in a Gamblesque phrasing, "I have a gig up in Yankeeland."

One of the untold but essential qualities of a life as a troubadour is that you teach your trade to those you feel deserve and can handle the knowledge of performing, Gamble was my teacher. Our classroom was his fastback Mustang, or a bar stool at The Trade Winds or a bench in Peacock Park in Coconut Grove. It was in these spots that Gamble offered up his wisdom to an up-and-coming folk singer from the Gulf Coast.

In bar owner's terms, I was the opening act and he was the headliner, but in my mind, I was the apprentice and he was the master. Gamble Rogers taught me how to move an audience with dialogue and delivery as much as with music. I never tired of listening to him expound about the Maitland Turkey Farm Massacre or deliver a history lesson on the Seminole Chief, Osceola.

As we each continued down our respective paths, we saw less and less of each other, but stayed in touch as good friends do. He had settled into a quieter routine of teaching and doing festivals around Florida. I was trying to hold down the Fort of the Troubadours that was being bombarded constantly by pop culture. I attribute a lot of my ability to remain true to my vision to Gamble Rogers and what he taught me.

Gamble's untimely death affected us all. He has gone over to the other side where the guardian angels dwell, and has in all likelihood, become one. I feel privileged to have spent time with him, and I know I am a better person and performer for it.

Those of us who knew Gamble well, his family and friends, have known his talent and his heart for a long time. Now, hopefully many other Floridians who were not so lucky will have the opportunity to know the work of an amazing troubadour, and a historical Floridian - James Gamble Rogers as the newest member of the Florida Artists Hall of Fame.

-- Jimmy Buffett

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