My first introduction to music was from my mom and dad, Charles and Katherine Jackson. My father bartered for my first set of drums. He did work for a guy named Bobby Maynard in exchange for an old set of drums with real skin heads.
Val Carroll was my first instructor when I was 13 years old. He taught me the basics of rudiments and reading music.
Fred Thompson was my second and final instructor. He taught me the essence of music, the drummers true responsibilities and most important of all, the art of using brushes.
My first “gig” was on the Bill Riley Talent Show, held at the Iowa State Fair Grounds where I accompanied Harlan Thomas who played “The Lullaby of Broadway” by Errol Garner. It really does not seem possible, but my professional music career began forty years ago at the age of 16. I traveled to Chillicothe, Mo. with a group who backed a dynamic singer named Ronnie Brewer. We drove all day and played all night and into the next day. That is when I knew that music would always be a part of my life.
My next gigs were at well remembered places like Stovalhs (backing Sweet Georgia Brown and Jimmy Pryor), The 790, The NIP, The Basin Street West, The San Francisco Lounge, Hyperion Golf & Country Club and many others not mentioned here.
During my forty years of playing I know that I have been blessed to come up in an era when some of the most talented performers, musicians and singers, would take you by the hand and help you achieve your dreams. It is understood that there were many that cared about Gene Jackson enough to help him be the best musician that he could be.
The following individuals will always be a part of my life. They are listed in no particular order, however, we all understand that it makes no difference about order, because it’s only when everyone plays their part that it is possible to make music.
- Carl Burst
- Jimmy Pryor
- Fat Daddy
- Rose Marie Gaitors (Webster)
- Seymour Gray
- Bobby Dawson
- Jimmy Gale
- Ronnie Brewer
- Rufus Spates
- Monte Williams
- Marvin Simms
- Gary Jackson (my very talented brother)
- Sam Anthony Salomone
- Janey Hooper
- Tommy Gordon
- Billy Lordon (drummer with the Amazors)
- Ross Cornelison
- K-Jac’s Recording Studio
- My musical and real brothers – “The Soul Brothers”
Now that I have retired from UPS, Gene Jackson is becoming known in local Blues Clubs in Atlanta, where players that I jam with better understand that the Blues may have been born in the South, but in many ways it grew up in the North.
I feel very much honored to have been selected for the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame, because music will always be a part of my life and there is no life without the BLUES…
PHOTO © LORI BOWLING