TOTFA Stories

Royce & Ray Franklin ~ Hallettsville Hall of Fame Induction 2003

The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Hallettsville was a bit different this year in that the usual recognition went not to a fiddler but to two gentlemen, brothers as it were, who are quite well known for their instrumental acumen when it comes to guitar accompaniment of the Texas-Style of old time fiddling. Joey McKenzie once remarked that, they are not much to look at but they are hard to beat when it comes to picking the guitar behind a Texas fiddler. Their wives most likely take exception to the first part of the above assessment, but the agreement is uniform in that these characters are guitar instrumentalist par excellence and are perhaps the most sought after accompanists at any contest. Also, it seems that they have been doing this forever. One Old Timer commented that, "them boys has been picken' since before the flood and theys oldern dirt. They orta be good."

For these and other reasons, it is about time that Royce and Ray Franklin are recognized for their abilities and contributions to the contest circuit by their induction into the Texas Fiddlers Hall of Fame in Hallettsville, Texas, and a place in posterity. You gentlemen deserve all the recognition, kudos, and accolades and the heartiest of congratulations that we in the Association can heap upon you. We are mighty proud of you!

Most are aware that they are the offspring of Major Lee and Inez Franklin, born in the Texas Panhandle, and finally growing up in Denison, Texas. It is not unusual that they would be musically inclined having been reared in the shadow of Texas fiddler legend, Major Franklin. They started their music at an early age and are still going strong. I first became aware of Royce Franklin when he played bass for Eddie Miller and the Oklahomans and cousin Louis Franklin played the fiddle and the group performed at the small community in southern Oklahoma where I lived about 1946-47 on a couple of occasions. I thought at the time that if I could play an instrument like the one on bass who was about my age, I would never have to pick cotton again. Both have served time in the armed forces and each is married, Royce to Loyce Stalcup of Denison, and Ray to Geraldine, (Geri) Whitehead both exceedingly genteel and marvelous ladies. Royce and Ray are on old age pension and enjoying retirement. Ray and Geri live in Marion in the San Antonio area and Royce and spouse in Roanoke near Ft. Worth, and are blessed with children and grandchildren. Aside from being in great demand as accompanists at contests, they still engage in a variety of musical activities beyond the contest circuit. Ray performs frequently with the "Texas Top Hands" Western Swing Band and Royce is frequently called upon to play in recording sessions, jam sessions, out- of-state contests, and there are others.

Both have been the winners of many accompanist competitions at fiddlers contests and have performed with many famous fiddlers and musicians. They are without reservation, two of the most valuable assets to the Texas Old Time Fiddlers Association, both onstage and off. Gentlemen, it has been a privilege and an honor to be in your acquaintance!

Charles Gardner