Words & Music

Frankie Rodgers

Frequently referred to as Canada's Old Time Fiddle King, he was the composer of many great fiddle favourites, including "Ookpik", "Gold Fiddle Waltz" and "Houston On My Mind".

The influence of country music from over the border was particularly felt in the cowboy in the West of Canada. Frankie Rodgers, from British Columbia, after a spell in a circus, formed the Rodgers Brothers Band with his brother. They soon became the backing band of choice for touring acts from the Grand Ole Opry, such as Ray Price, Jim Reeves, Lefty Frizzell and George Jones. Frankie was a fine tune writer. "Ookpik Waltz", a tune often thought to be traditional, was one of his.
- from Fiddling Around The World

Frankie Rodgers at the age of 16, knew he wanted to be a country style fiddler, yet there he was leading an elephant through its tricks, catching a high diving trick dog and playing about 6 tunes per show with Alberta Slim and his one ring circus on a cross Canada tour. For the next couple of years Frankie played with dance bands around Edmonton which was a breeze after the circus life. A cross Canada tour in 1954 with Edmonton singer Scotty Stevenson introduced Frankie to the recording side of music at RCA Victor Studios in Montreal. After this tour, Frankie and his guitar picking brother Hank, were hired to open for several Grand Ole Opry shows in Edmonton. Their talents were quickly recognized by the Opry stars who began leaving their bands in Nashville and hiring Frankie and his brother to back them, not only in Edmonton, but on many Western Canada tours. George Jones, Lefty Frizzel, Jim Reeves and Ray Price are a few of the many Opry stars that relied on Frankie and Hank as their back-up band. During the '60s the Rodgers brothers were busy and much in demand. There were three across Canada tours with Wilf Carter. They toured all over the USA with Rex Allen and a tour down under to Australia. Between tours, Frankie and Hank managed to fit in 10 seasons of TV shows on CFRN-TV. It was during this time that Comp Recording Company, later called MCA, signed Frankie to record 10 albums of fiddle tunes.
- from Frankie’s BC Country Music Hall of Fame induction

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