Roger is the original guitarist from Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer band. In the early days it was just Jimmy and Roger. Two acoustic guitars, vocals and all the artificial inspiration they could consume. When Jimmy and Roger could no longer stand on their own, drive, or find their way back to the hotel, Jimmy added Greg "Fingers" Taylor on harmonica and keyboard, Harry Dailey on bass and Phillip Fajardo on drums who, in turn, followed suit. Eventually, they had to get a road manager, Mike Wheeler, to point them in the right direction and say "Play."
Roger is also infamous as the singer and writer of the song Fool for a Blonde from the classic horror movie "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and from the many incarnations of his own bands, including his newest band Scratch 'n' Sniff, featuring Bart McLaughlin on drums and Jeff Van Nostrand on bass, the now defunct blues band, Hell's Kitchen, and as lead guitarist for many artists from New York to Las Vegas.
Roger was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. His father, Ray Bartlett, announcer for the nationally-syndicated radio show, The Louisiana Hayride, announced his birth to the coast-to-coast radio audience setting off a chain of events that continues today. His dad, besides sharing the Hayride stage with such legends as Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Johnny Horton and others, hosted his own show, Groovey's Boogie... with Groovey Boy, featuring the records of Rhythm and Blues and Jazz artists like Muddy Waters, Johnny Otis, Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway. These were the musical influences that rocked Roger to sleep at night and played throughout the day.
As a singer/songwriter/lead guitarist Roger leads his newest band, Scratch 'n' Sniff, featuring Bart McLaughlin on drums, Jeff Van Nostrand on bass and Roderick Kohn on guitar, delivering contemporary music that has elements of Rock, Blues and Funk with a little jazzy thing thrown in. With his distinctive voice, lead guitar work and twisted sense of humor, his music is unique. As a composer, Roger is working hard on a new jazz-based musical called, Zinzi. It's the story of a girl with almost supernatural artistic talent from South-Africa who emigrates to the creative cauldron of BeBop Harlem in the post-war era in search of a family, an education and a dream.
As a sideman, Roger continues to keep a busy schedule working for Joy Ryder, the Crimson Queen of Soul and Barrie Cunningham and his company BC Entertainment among others. Joy plies the clubs and coffee houses of New York City and the East Coast, while Barrie provides a plethora of entertainment options for casinos, corporate events, concerts and clubs. He presents a Jimmy Buffett Tribute show that features Roger and other current and former Coral Reefer Band members. He also presents tribute shows featuring The Rat Pack, Elvis, Reba McIntire, Stevie Wonder and many others.
Roger cut his teeth playing roadhouses in Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana with The Legends (featuring Phil Byers, Delane Campbell, Tommy Orsini and Jackie Adametz) and The Reknown (featuring Paul Truett, Johnny Quattlebaum, Beegie Fraser and some of the Legends). Playing every kind of music from James Brown to James Taylor, from B.B. King to Queen.
This diversity lead to gigs with the jazz-rock sounds of The Black White and Blues Band, from North Texas State, playing Dallas clubs; Roger's first foray into playing original music in Dallas with Bobby Rodgers, Jo Riker and Doug Floyd in Baccus; The acoustic vocal group The Outlaw Brothers that took Roger, Michael Lind and George Worthington to Nashville, Atlanta and Los Angeles; Little Richie Jarvis and Good Home Cooking in Nashville playing the military base circuit in Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia; Teaming up with Bill Callery and Barry Walsh to form the acoustic group Lusaza that took Bill and Roger to Austin, Texas.Down in Austin, when Lusaza broke up, Roger happened to hook up with Jimmy Buffett for some of the most memorable gigs of his life. When Roger left the Coral Reefer Band, he ended up in New York City where he has been ever since. Playing gigs with his bands, doing studio work as a guitarist, producer and recording engineer, and writing music for film, TV and performing artists.
Roger Bartlett's Albums
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