Gene Bourgeois (Jivin’ Gene)
Gene Bourgeois was born in Port Arthur, Texas in February of 1940. His beginnings in music start with Gene and his backing band – The Jokers in 1959. He shopped the recording to Floyd Soileau who was just starting to think he should be releasing some rock and roll on his Jin label.
Other acts he was trying out included Johnnie Allan and the Krazy Kats, Johnny and the Dial Tones and Al Chase and the Midniters – many getting airplay in and around Jin’s base of operations out of Ville Platte, Louisiana.
But no national success for the independent label. The label had an incredible run from 1958 well into the 1980’s featuring tons of regionalized artists with few exceptions – like Rockin’ Sidney and Rod Bernard who came to the label well after his hit bound days with Argo and Mercury Records.
Based on Gene’s local success with his first Jin recording, he soon traveled to Crowley, Louisiana owned by J.D. Miller – a studio of solid notoriety back then.
Gene would record his “Breaking Up is Hard To Do” b/w “My Need For Love” released first on Jin 116. The “A” side caught the attention of Mercury Records. It would be Gene’s ‘moment in the sun’ and his only charting record reaching a modest number 69 in the fall of 1959 with a very short 4-week run on the charts.
Freddy Fender would later record the song with Tommy McLain – but with no chart success. The song which was composed by Gene – was a short tale describing his marital difficulties. He had one other minor Mercury hit “Go On, Go On” number 101 in April of 1964
Gene continued recording for a long time and performing – releasing many singles on Mercury before moving on to Chess, Hall-Way/TCF Hall, and even one single on Capitol records released under his birth name Gene Bourgeois. Not sure if he is still going strong today but was still performing as of 2011.
Jivin’ Gene 45 Discography
Jin 45-109 – 1959
Jin 45-116 – 1959
Mercury 71485X45 – July, 1959
Mercury 71561X45 – February, 1960
Mercury 71751X45 – January, 1961
Mercury 71802X45 – April, 1961
Mercury 7186345X – August, 1961
Chess 1873 – October, 1963
Hall-Way 45-1202 – July, 1964
TCF Hall TCF-103 – June, 1965
TCF Hall TCF-121 – December, 1965
Capitol D-2566 – October, 1968