About "Gamble's Ramble", written by Eli Perras: Bill loves folk music. It seems like it is kind of inbred in him. Bill moved to Florida at the beginning of 1978 and would spend hours on end practicing the folk cover songs of the day. Music from the likes of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, The Byrds, Simon & Garfinkle, and so many more, but he could not really find many local songwriters playing live gigs. Only cover song artists seemed to be playing the venues in the area, but in January of 1980, Bill found a new job in Orlando that paid much more than he was already getting. Additionally, this new job was more in line with what he had studied in his vocational high school drafting major, so, off to Orlando he went. Within a few weeks of moving to Orlando, he hit gold! Actually, he ran into a local singer/songwriter by the name of Jim Ballew. Jim was an extraordinary singer/songwriter, finger-style guitar player, and one of the kindest gentlemen that could be found. He had a weekly gig on Friday nights at the Downtown Motor Inn and playing along with him was Ed Bradford on stand-up bass, and Alan Stowell who was a fiddle virtuoso as well as a well as a very good guitar player. Bill would do whatever possible to be at these Friday night shows and although Jim did play covers, he played his own original songs, and Bill especially enjoyed the songs he wrote about Florida. About once a month, Jim would invite another top-notch artist on stage and would usually let that artist do a solo set of their own. People like Charlie Robertson, Bob Patterson, Bobby Hicks, Uncle Ray Sine, Will McLean, Dale Crider, Don Grooms, and others took the stage. Bill extolled the virtues of these artists, and one day, Jim asked Bill to attend a party he was going to have at his house, but, for some reason, Bill refused the offer. To this day, Bill is still upset that he didn't take Jim up on his offer. One of the people that Jim would often mention from the stage was a fellow by the name of Gamble Rogers from St. Augustine and he even told the crowd that night, that Gamble would come in the following Friday to play some of his songs. Knowing that Gamble was one of the best entertainers that Florida had to offer, Bill bowed his head in disappointment because he had already made arrangements to spend that weekend in Ft Myers with some old friends. Bill knew quite a bit about Gamble since several of his co-workers knew about him and told Bill to go see him if the opportunity ever arose. Bill was told that Gamble once played with the late 1950's New York folk group, The Serendipity Singers, and that there was nobody that could outplay Gamble on guitar. Gamble was right up there with Doc Watson, Merle Travis, and other guitar wizards of the time, and beyond that, Gamble was a comedic entertainer that told some of the most hilarious stories about a fictitious county in Florida that he called Ocklawaha County. Bill waited for the opportunity to catch one of Gamble's live shows and on a Saturday night in early 1983, at a venue in Winter Park, Florida, Harrigan's Irish Pub, it happened. Bill says to this day that there was nothing like it, and that it was the very best solo show that he had ever seen. As time passed, when Bill and I got more involved in the Florida folk music scene and started to write songs of our own, we were we invited to perform at the 1997 Florida Folk Festival on the River Gazebo Stage that was hosted by Frank and Ann Thomas. From there, as we grew musically and became better known figures in the state, we were invited to perform at nearly all of the major folk festival in Florida, including a 10 year stretch at the Gamble Roger's Folk Festival. In 1991, Gamble was at Flagler Beach, just south of St. Augustine, when a young girl ran up to him shouting that her daddy was drowning. With rip tides at their strongest that day, Gamble stripped down to his skivvies and ran straight into the water without reservation, hoping to save the man. Gamble also knew that the arthritis he was dealing with would hinder his effort, and certainly impede his attempt at swimming. The effort was valiant, but Gamble, and the tourist man did not return from the sea. James Gamble Roger's died on October 10, 1991. A very good account of Gamble's life can be found in a book titled “Gamble Rogers – A Troubadour's Life”, by Bruce Horowitz. The Lyrics: Winter Pak Florida, 1983, Harrigan's Irish Pub was the place to be From back in the crowd I was trying to see this hot guitar picker from St. Augustine Guitar slung over his shoulder to free up his hands Then he pulled the microphone right off of the stand chorus After a rendition of Sheik of Araby he reeled of a rant about some Turkey Massacre He took us to Terminal Tavern on a Saturday Afternoon And to Ocklawaha County without leaving the room I knew about Doc, Merle and Chet, but a hadn’t seen nothin', I mean nothin' like this yet When he played his guitar, the room was in a trance With his over the top performance I nearly peed my pants Then he picked out Orange Blossom Special for more than just a while Then said “The Lord gives me grace and the devil gives me style” chorus instrumental Someone once said “Only the good die young”, and James Gamble Rogers final song was sung While trying to save a man from an ocean surge His life as a hero was about to emerge So, now I'm here to sing this song That I call Gamble's Ramble For the incomparable troubadour That we all know as Gamble chorus Then to Ocklawaha County without leaving the room