Jim LaBarbara, dubbed "The Music Professor," a name given to him when he worked in Cincinnati with WLW, WCKY, WSAI, and WGRR FM, among others. The moniker became prophetic as he earned a master's degree in broadcasting and taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati. A respected musicologist on early rock and roll, he was named one of the "Top 40 Radio Personalities of All Time," is listed in the Rock Jock Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Radio/Television/Broadcasters Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio. Working throughout the years under the names of Jimmy Holiday in Meadville, Titusville, and DuBois, Pennsylvania, and J. Bentley Starr in Erie, Pennsylvania, he began using his real name on WKYC and WIXY in Cleveland and Denver.
Jim shares his honest firsthand account of his experience during a dynamic and sometimes turbulent life on and off the radio. He was there when the controversy of playing music performed by black artists was coming to an end, and was later innocently thrust in the middle of the payola scandals. When Jim LaBarbara did his first radio show in 1959 he couldn't have imagined it would lead to a Hall of Fame career that spanned more than fifty years; one where he would work on some of the country's most powerful stations. There have been a couple of "Guardian Angels" in his life and a "Hell's Angel" who saved his life.
For those who grew up in the '50s and the baby boomer generation, along with others interested in pop culture, this story will transport you back to the beginning of rock music. Jim was with the Supremes, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. He interviewed hundreds of entertainers including Bill Haley, Jackie Wilson, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, James Brown, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Neil Diamond, John Denver, and others. It is with the help of these interviews that he tells his own story and in so doing gives a unique perspective of the history of rock 'n' roll.
Patrick and Mary O'Brien came to America from the town of Ballinagar, Kings County, Ireland. It was a quiet town about fifty miles west of Dublin. They were not young when they decided to board the ship for America in 1852 as their eight children were adults by that time. Richard Hidy tells an interesting story about his ancestors and the events that could have brought them, and many of their fellow Irishmen, here to America. The Catholic O'Briens and their family settled in the Cincinnati and Springfield, Ohio, area and the author provides an interesting history as to the possible reasons the O'Briens and others chose these areas. A good portion of the book tells of their grandson Richard's experience becoming a police chief and a history of the turbulent times experienced by local riots and the Ku Klux Klan. The book details the infiltration of the klan members into all aspects of society and its effect on Richard O'Brien.
This is an interesting history told in following an Irish Catholic family and their acclimation to a new neighborhood, a new parish, in a new country.