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A True WWOZ Legend Takes A Bow

Tag(s): Show host blog

Jivin' Gene, the DJ not the singer... I've heard him announce himself in such humble fashion many times, in his smooth, down home New Orleans accent. What followed after was always some of the best Rhythm and Blues of the 1950's that have ever been played on these airwaves, or that of any other frequency. Myself being raised by a father who was born in 1939, and who's own personal musical knowledge stops right before the Beatles, I've always had an affinity for that classic sound of such a vintage era, for its what I was raised on. It takes me back to my own youth, which happened long after these records were recorded, just as it takes those who did grow up during that time period back to theirs. This is the music that shaped the history of American culture, which was then absorbed by other cultures and expanded upon, like those Beatles I was talking about earlier. The Rhythm & Blues of the 1950's was Rock N Roll before Allen Freed coined the term. It shook up the minds and dancefloors of all those who heard it, and influenced everything that came after. And on the forefront of this powerful wave of song, was, of course New Orleans. Jivin' Gene was right there growing up next to his radio and his turntable absorbing all of these incredible sounds and somehow being organized enough to compile them in his legendary record collection. Having him share this important piece of America's musical history on WWOZ has been a blessing to all of us fortunate enough to listen to him for the past twenty-something years. It's a hip-shakin' history lesson every time you tune in! On those tuesday nights where I would DJ a Kitchen Sink, I'd always have Jivin Gene' tuned in on my way to OZ, proud to know that I was about to take the DJ chair that had just been sat in by a seasoned veteran of the world's greatest radio station. But yet, though I was proud of being chosen for such a duty, I was also humbled by the magnitude of such a task, for we all know, especially Jivin' Gene, that WWOZ is greater than any one person. I'd get to the station and be greeted by Gene's warm smile, humble kindness and welcoming demeanor. I'd try and kick those shows off with some Fats, Snooks or K-Doe, honoring Gene by playing his old friends. It's been an honor to have shared the DJ chair of WWOZ with so many incredible human beings, and Gene is right up there with the best of them. I think I know about 50's R & B until I tune in to Jivin' Gene. His last show tonight will be a very special occasion, so do what I do, tune in and take notes! Because nobody ever will do it like Jivin' Gene ever again. 

-Soul Stu

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Thanks Jivin' Gene!

Your final show was terrific, which makes your departure even more bittersweet. Great guests and great music -- just what we'd expect for the finale. I listened via iphone from my couch in Chicago. It was the perfect soundtrack to the TV broadcast of the lowly White Sox beating the first place Detroit Tigers 11-4. I'm sure the positive karma from your show was the reason! Thanks for all the happiness Gene!

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