"I dare you to walk away from this book uninspired. Readers of all races will learn volumes from this far-reaching new book for our times"
Joe Donn Martin – January 27, 2015:
There is a soundtrack to your best memories. The morning radio in your mother’s kitchen; music blasting from from a car’s speakers while cruising for trouble with your friends; and, all importantly, that one song which will forever make you think of her….
A significant number of people can credit their personal life soundtrack to one Mr. Jack Gibson, aka Jockey Jack, aka Jack the Rapper – a renowned disk jockey and pioneer of Black Radio with a career spanning over half a century.
In Mello Yello, Jack the Rapper shares his own incredible reminiscences, and it is much more than just a soundtrack; it is first hand insight into the lives of the legends responsible for making – and distributing – the music responsible for so many important memories in so many people, it has certainly forged the soul of this country.
The radio in mother’s kitchen? Jack was there. Stories of his family, his childhood, his wife and children are touching and, as too often happens, heartbreaking. Ballads inseparable from tender moments shared by lovers? Jack was there. Not that Mello Yello is a kiss ‘n tell expose, but Mr. Gibson was no stranger to the romantic rendezvous. Finally, those dangerous songs that drive you and your crew right over the edge of trouble? Oh yeah. Jack was definitely there. Some of his wild stories are jaw-droppingly reckless, others are infuriating, and many are simply laugh-out-loud hilarious.
The best memories are set to music. Why trust them to anything less than a professional?
Speaking of professionals; Walker Smith, the author, is a skilled and confident historian. Her novels of historical fiction are meticulously written and are thematically significant and important. Which has many of you now thinking they must be boring as hell – but nothing could be further from the truth. Her prose is lively, she never loses pace, and her characters are full of passion – all while working in the unforgiving confines of history. In fact, to the list of paradoxes associated with time travel, I would add: Time travel must be impossible because if it weren’t every image ever rendered of humanity – from cave drawing to holographic projections – would include the figure of Walker Smith standing there taking notes.
And this unique expertise serves Mello Yello quite well. Jack speaks to us through Walker Smith – his voice, his personality, his rap is as unadulterated as if he were sitting beside us; and the stories all flow together to create a lasting written tribute to a remarkable man.
Tina Cope – January 28, 2015:
I knew Jack The Rapper when I worked at Warner Bros. Records with Ernie Singleton. He was a gracious and generous man that embraced his magazine and the music industry.
Patrick Spencer – January 29, 2015:
This book gives the reader a history lesson about the life of one of America’s first black disc jockey, Jack Gibson aka Jockey Jack or Jack The Rapper. Jack takes you back to his early childhood starting in Chicago, being the son of a doctor and his mother was a teacher. After his parents divorced he spent part of his childhood in NYC. Jack actually attended the same HS attended for one year, that my father graduated from years later, the prestigious all black boarding school, Bordentown Military Institute in NJ. ( My dad and Jack both played center for their football teams and neither weighed more than 170 lbs)
The origins of Black formatted radio was started by Jack. He tells some many wonderful stories of the struggles prominent black entertainers experienced and his relationship with them over the years.
Anyone who has ever been in Jack’s company will cherish how he relived his young days as disc jockey starting from WERD Atlanta, to WLOU in Louisville and on to many other markets. Jack then works in the music industry as a record promoter for Motown and several other labels. Anyone who attended or ever heard of the Jack the Rapper Family Affair Convention starting in the late 70’s in Atlanta will want to read this book. You will relive and reminiscence the fun and joy of music industry executives, radio dj’s, programmers and record artists coming together for the annual gathering.
Jack could tell some of the most amazing and funny stories anyone can ever imagine. You will laugh and you will learn about the past reading this book.
Not that bad