Slim Rogers was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on Jan 3 / 1923. He has brown eyes and hair, is six feet tall and weighs 140 pounds. He was influenced by movie cowboy Ken Maynard when he was 8 years old. He was also attracted to country music at the age of 10 years old, when coming home from school he saw a street singer whose name was Dick Young performing that day.
He got his first guitar at 14 and learn to play the cords by listening to Wilf Carter and Jimmy Rodgers records. Also around that time he made friends with school mate Claude Leblanc , who had started to take guitar lessons from a music teacher consisting of learning to read music. Claude then shared his lessons with Slim, unfortunately not long after Claude died by drowning.
Slim continued learning on his own by buying whenever he could, music song books and studying music and composing from the books. He started doing like Dick Young singing for nickels and dimes at picnics, fairs, honky tonks and anywhere people would listen. He started to try to find work in music in Ottawa, but outside of playing a few house party’s and weddings also a few shots on radio over C K C O ( now defunct ) C F R A and C J O H but he found there was no future in his hometown, that’s when he hit the road early, riding the rails to become a wandering minstrel a kind of a nomad.
He rode the freights for a number of years from town to town, singing and writing songs and forever endeavoring to improve and polish his style. Slim had a varied career; he played in strippers club and vaudeville shows in Montreal during the forty’s and early fifty’s when they still had vaudeville acts between movies, especially at the Crystal and Midway theatres on the main in Montreal. He also did a bit of Medicine shows in Hamilton Ont.
He also did a lot of floorshows in nightclubs, a booking agent agreed to book him providing he did some yodeling. Then he went touring with various western bands all over the Northern Ont and Quebec Provinces. About this time he formed his own band doing shows and dances working out of C.H.O.V. In Pembrooke Ont and C.K.R.C. in Rouyn Quebec.
In 1947 he teamed up with a guitar picker named Pee Wee Lafleur from Ottawa and they joined Daniel’s greater shows carnival that toured Ontario. In 1948 they worked the Rouyn hotel, also made guest appearance at the Commercial hotel with Willie Lamothe . In 1949 still with his partner Pee Wee, he joined Canada’s biggest carnival unit the Wallace Brothers show and performed in a tent side show for thousands of country music fans throughout central and western Canada. That same year the wondering buddy’s Slim and Pee Wee, played a week stand at the famous Calgary Stampede for the Buckhorn ranch outfit, playing for tourists on the street from 10 am to 12 noon.
He was still beating his way off and on riding the boxcars in the early fifty’s and doing a lot of street busking. He loved performing close to the working class people, that way as a street singer. He knew about a thousand songs including many of his originals, busking always remain his favorite form of entertaining, often more profitable than clubs. He had become an experience knight of the road bythis time. In 1953 Slim traveled south of the border and played numerous club dates around the Chicago area. Back In Canada he found himself in Montreal again, and in 1954 he was offered the feature spot on a new Radio show that was being inaugurated called Hometown Jamboree; a live two hours radio show broadcast at C.F.C.F. It was Bob Destry a prominent disk jockey and owner of Destry’s music center record shop, then producer of Hometown who became interested in the country singer and signed him to a contract as a regular feature on the show which took place every Saturday night at the Victoria hall on Sherbrooke . With an appreciated audience, it was the first major break in his career.
Destry was also instrumental in getting Slim to record for Quality record in 1956. He cut such songs as his own composition Sorrow Bound and Going honky tonkin” tonight. He remain on Hometown Jamboree for 3 consecutives years till the series ended. During this time he played Montreal night clubs such as the Blue Angel Cafe , the Clover, the Main Cafe and the Continental Ballroom. He also played dance hall with his hometowners band , outside of Montreal and the Eastern Townships, booking halls and announcing his date over C.F.C.F. Radio as he performed on his portion of the jamboree each week .
During that time he also did theaters and drive-in theaters with Montreal cowboy Walter Siedleak and his trick horse Thunder. He also guest on the main street jamboree over C.H.M.L. Hamilton Ontario and other nearby Radio and T V shows. In the summer of 1956 he made a tour of all the Maritimes Provinces of the Eastern Seaboard, also along the Gaspe Coast appearing on the local station along the route. After the Hometown Jamboree series ended Slim left his homeland and moved to CHICAGO ILLINOIS on July 18//1957 and played all the bars around, and recorded an album on the Rodeo Banff Records doing his own compositions
He did a string of guest appearances and appeared on W.W.V.A. WEELING WEST VIRGINIA ON DUSTY OWEN show and on W.S.N . NASHVILLE TENNESSEE as ERNEST TUBB guest on his midnight jamboree shows, also on K.C/U L cow town hoedown in Forth Worth Texas. As Slim became older he return to his Canada homeland, and started playing clubs in Montreal again. He had a long stay at the Rodeo Cafe on the Main. He also join Bob Fuller’s old time music club of Canada who incidentally is a record collector from all over the world.
Slim did a lot of shows for Bob doing festivals during the summer and also appearing at his hillbilly night, held every Monday night at the wheel club. A shinding he’s been doing for some thirty odd years. The olds songs and the country sounds are a must at these shows which Bob promotes. He still performs for him at the Wheels though in semi retirement. Last years he did 3 CD's under the promotion of his friend Ray who insist he did it his way (the old way, pure acoustic, of his own songs).
Biography written by: Raymond Potvin
When Slim was young , back in Ottawa in the 40 , he became great friends with Hank Rivers, a country singer and yodeler. He greatly admired Henry as he was known used to come to Slim's place a lot.
He used to borrow things from Slim, at about that time Hank was singing at the C. B. C National Radio on a program called (The Western Five). Slim used to go with him to the studio in the Chateau Laurier building.Hank was singing 2 of Slim's compositions on the network. They were (You played with my heart) wich he featuredon February 19/1946 and ( Going back to my old Southern Home) on May 4/1946
Slim had first heard Hank singing over the Radio Station CK C H in Hull Que, on a program called the "Happy Homesteaders" This was about 1933/34 He was a little older than Slim. Later on at one time Hank recorded a song called "The Ranger Speaks" there's a connection with him there too.
That song used to be a poem That Slim's cousin John Kierney put music to and adapted and sang it to Slim when he was14 years old and visiting John in Montreal where he was living.Slim always liked old Hank and still misses him he was quite a good old boy, he's gone now.
Slim knew another singer/yodeler back then that he became friends with. This was Fernand St-Jacques. He becamegood friends with him also, and in later years done shows with him., in Montreal at the Rodeo Club on the Main, and also in Gaspé at the Bonneaventure Hotel. Fern passed away there in Gaspé. IOt was thru Fern St-Jacques that Slim met Hank Rivers.
Slim now resides in Cornwall Ontario. he had played that town back in 1955 at "The Seaway Drive-In Theather" with Montreal cowboy Walter Siedlak & his trick horse, alsodone a benefit at the Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge that day.
Years later until recently, he decided to live there , He loved the town and its down home folks.
Another interesting item;
In the early 40's around 1943 or so, Hank Snow then known as Hank the Yodeling Ranger, was putting out a journal called Silver Star Song Club, that you could subscribe to., it ran a Song Contest. Members could send in their own compositions. Two winners would be chosen, the prize was a home recording of Hank singing your winning song, which was published in the the Club Bulletin along with your picture. Slim sent one of his song and was one of the winners, with his composition "Going Back To My Old Southern Home"
Recently Slim performed for Bob Fuller on his Monday Hillbilly Night show, at the Wheel Club in Montreal on Cavendish street. That particular Monday night was being filmed by an outfit from Toronto for television. It is to be televised sometime in February/2004 on cable Bravo channel, the date as of now undertermined