First of all let me explain that this is no lightweight read. Hours of research and what appears to be meticulously recorded facts go to make this a very good run up from the 1930s into the sixties giving the reader the down and often dirty history of African American music from jazz to rock n roll. Some of the characters like Don Robey of Duke -Peacock records fame were well known to me and would be to any other student of fifties black music but others such as Sax Kari ,Denver Ferguson,Walter Barnes were new names that as described in this book helped to fill in the missing parts of the jigsaw of the black artists and promoters and club owners who through their sheer will to overcome prejudice ,corrupt police and city officials gave via the chitlin cicuit black patrons the entertainment that they craved. Lauterbach is a white writer but he evokes the feeling and mood of places like Beale Street,and the black owned clubs[most a huge jump up from the country juke joints] with an authenticity that you almost think he was a frequent visitor to them. Plenty of stories about Louis Jordan ,Big Mama Thornton ,Little Richard,Johnny Ace,Roy Brown and others, illustrated with well reproduced photos plus an index this book is probably not a casual read but a historical often funny ,often shocking account of a time that is fast fading from memory.