Timmie Rogers (Timothy Louis Ancrum) 1915–2006
Known as a pioneer of emancipated black stage comedy in the united states, he was also a tiple player and composer, adding songs in his shows during his entire career.
Back in the 20's dançing in the streets at 8 he joined the vaudeville circuit and was part of a successful dance duo in the 30's "Timmie & Freddie", probably learning uke & tiple in the early 30's as so many ...
Then, in the 40's & 50's he was the first black comedy artist acting alone, without blackface make up and stereotype racial clichés in front of a white audience … also known for his tuxedo wearing on stage and his famous"Oh Yeah !" gimmick.
He starts on TV Shows in 1949 "Sugarhill times" an "all stars" show with Belafonte, Armstrong, and guests as The Charioteers , probably singing & playing tiple…
Then during the 50's he appears many times with Jackie Gleason and later in the 60's in The Dom DeLuise Show.
Then, he shows up several times in the 70's "Sanford & son" sitcom with Redd Foxx (John Elroy Sanford) singing old times duos with an electrified T28 showing an humbucker style pickup betwin the neck and the hole, a pickgard and two buttons... probably a luthier customisation.
As a composer and singer he ran a parallel career, sharing scenes with Jazz artists he met Nat Cole and wrote for him “If You Can’t Smile and Say Yes, Please Don’t Cry and Say No” and for Tommy Dorsey “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven, But Nobody Wants To Die" and probably much more for other artists.
As an interpret he started in the 40's with for example this patriot 1944"Bring Enough Clothes For Three Days"
Then during the RockN'Roll decade he recorded some hot 78rpm around 1957 for Cameo records "Take me to your leader", "Back to school again" but the notable one is here "I've Got A Dog Who Loves Me" with what I think is an open chord tiple strumm covering the entire song…..wow !! a real RockN'Roll tiple hit!
...the later soul funk "Chicken Back" sounds more like a lousy come back... of course without tiple.
The splendid black and white photograph come from this page :
an interview of his daughter Joy King were she report a small museum project in Portsmouth showcasing his father memorabilia, including the famous Martin tiple....is it the old 50's/60's T28 showing strum wear on the table or the 70's electrified one ?