TRIBUTES TO THE LATE
A total shock to the music community was that of Frankie Rodgers'
sudden passing on September 9th, 2009 at his home in Cloverdale, a
suburb of metro Vancouver.
His career as a competent musician would span nigh on six
decades. As I would describe Frankie...he ate, slept, and
Having known him since his teen years, I have had the greatest respect
for him as both a personal friend as well as that of a fellow
musician. He, believably, was one of the most talented and
dedicated musicians I have ever come to know. He had a
remarkable sense of humour which could upset many a 'straight man'
! A tremendous loss to us all, he will be remembered as one
of Canada's finest instrumentalists and entertainers.
A celebration of his life was held in the Canadian Legion Auditorium in
Cloverdale on October 11th, 2009. A capacity crowd of friends and
musicians were in attendance to enjoy the proceedings and participate
on stage playing the music which was Frankie's life. This event
was hosted by his brother Hank and close associates whom are too
numerous to mention here.
Frankie's memory will forever be with us for he undoubtedly has left us
with a remarkable legacy that will live on for generations to come.
Frankie Rodgers.... where do I start? How about – the
Best!” And I miss him.
Met Frankie in Edmonton in 1957. In 1966 I was honoured to work
with the Rodgers Brothers as lead vocalist at many rodeos and fairs in
Alberta for radio CFCW.
In 1971 he arranged and played fiddle and viola on my first album, I
Found A Song.
In the 80's Frankie returned from Australia and moved to B.C. and
became a member of my Super Country Band. What an
asset that was! He could play lead and back me up with
harmonies. I finally had a band with twin
fiddles..along with his brother Hank on steel guitar, I had a real
We were always good friends and I really
miss him, plus I will not be able to see him perform any more and that
hurts. But what really hurts is that we are short one damn
good fiddle player!
God Love You Frankie.
Musicians know that when the chemistry is right, the music
swings. It was that way when I played with Frankie Rodgers.
Frankie was a fine soloist, composer, arranger...a violin/fiddle player
Having known Frankie for over 20 years, I had the privilege of
playing many gigs with him and exchanging stories of a musicians life,
especially of life on the road. It was always a neat experience
to work with Frankie. Whatever the venue, Frankie knew how to
work the crowd. When we nominated him for the
Northwest Western Swing Music Society Hall of Fame in 2008 the
audiences couldn't get enough of Frankie and his violin.
His induction into the NWWSMS was a highlight of that year's event.
Frankie was a quiet person...humble. He had a unique
technique with his 2 string harmonies and ability to create on the
spot. I will always remember the magic created when playing
together. When a musical connection is
made, it is never forgotten, always special...a fine soloist and a
pleasure to work with.
As a professional musician, I treasure the opportunities that I had to
perform with Frankie Rodgers.
For 20+ years I had the pleasure of playing music with this great
fiddle player, Frankie Rodgers.
I first met Frankie at a legion in the Vancouver area, where he was
playing with a group of my musical friends. The next day
being Sunday, the Fraser Valley Fiddlers in Abbotsford, were having
their fiddle contest, where Frankie's name was mentioned often in the
highest regard At that point, I decided to ask Frankie if
he would like to come over and put on a show for the fiddlers, and I
would back him up. This was the beginning of our musical
association, which continue on until his passing. As a
fellow musician, I always appreciated and respected Frankie's musical
talent. He will be greatly missed !
PS – I would be a very wealthy man if I could have had a buck for every
time we played the Orange Blossom Special together.
I met Frankie and Shirley Rodgers when they returned from
Australia. Frankie worked with Elmer Tippe and our band for
about six months and I haven't worked with a finer fiddle player
Frankie was the consummate entertainer with the fiddle. He
enjoyed doing things differently than other fiddle players. He
had fiddles made of toilet seats, plungers and other such finery.
He always enjoyed including things for children in his act.
One of the favourites was, Old MacDonald's Farm. He made
the fiddle sound like various farm animals. It always went
over very well.
I especially enjoyed doing the western swing jam sessions when I was
fortunate enough to jam with Hank and Frankie. Frankie
played excellent swing fiddle. He definitely will be missed
I first met Frankie Rodgers when we were both teaching at the B.C.
Bluegrass Workshop a few years ago. We performed together in a
concert with other instructors, and it was one of the most exciting
experiences of my life. His playing just added such a spark to
everything, and he was so quick to pick up songs he'd never heard
before and make them sound great ( There's a YOUTUBE video of that show
– you can find it by searching “ Orange Blossom Special – Frankie
We discovered that we both loved Western Swing, so I invited Frankie to
be part of a new band Sugar Moon, with my singing partner, Dale
Rasmussen on piano and vocals, Stu MacDonald on bass, John Cody on
drums, and me on vocals and rhythm guitar. Frankie asked if
it would be okay if we included his brother, Hank on steel
guitar. OK ? ? What a team those two were ! Every song
they did featured harmony licks, intros and endings that were so
perfectly in sync it sounded like they were being played by one
person. And singing with the Rodgers Brothers as backup was
a dream come true..
We did one demo recording, which can be heard on my website at
www.suemalcolm.com in the section titled 'news'.
Frankie also graced the stage with my bluegrass band at the time, False
Creek, in the summer of 2005. We performed at the Vancouver
Island Music Fest in Courtenay ( there's another YOUTUBE video titled
Sweet Georgia Brown – Frankie Rodgers as well as the Rombs Bluegrass
Festival in the tiny town of Fairview, Alberta, north of Dawson
Frankie and Hank were so well known in Alberta that many people
traveled to the festival just to hear Frankie, and they were not
No matter what the style of music- country, western swing, or
bluegrass, he always knew exactly the right thing to play.
I treasure the time I spent with Frankie Rodgers, who made every
performance, jam or rehearsal into a party.
We will miss Frankie Rodgers. He was an inspired,
imaginative player and a kind and generous man.
Frankie Rodgers with whom I played over the years at the WSMS showcases
was always able to inspire you to listen and to play your best .
He was forever playing jokes, musically, on musicians by leading you to
areas that were new grounds to explore.
A very humble man to know and work with and he'll be greatly missed.
SWING MUSIC SOCIETY
3565 CAMBRIDGE STREET
Contact – John York email
or phone: 604-299-2301