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The Chitlin' Circuit: and the Road to Rock 'n' Roll Hardcover – 23 Sep 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (23 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393076520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393076523
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.3 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 733,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Lauterbach s tribute to [the chitlin' circuit] is welcome and overdue. --Jonathan Yardley

Lauterbach's tribute to it [the chitlin' circuit] is welcome and overdue. The Guardian ...densely researched yet marvellously vivid... Independent on Sunday The Chitlin' Circuit is immensely informative...with a fresh and persuasive take on the origins of rock and roll. Lauterbach has a knowing yet unaffected style. TLS This is a riveting account of a lively and colourful...scene. The Scotsman This is one of the best music books I've read in ages. Word The Chitlin' Circuit: And the Road to Rock'n'Roll is the best music book I've read in years. Record Collector Scrupulously uncovering a musical history long neglected... --Word Magazine

About the Author

Preston Lauterbach is a music journalist. This is his first book.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
First off, The Chitlin' Circuit And The Road To Rock `N' Roll is the best music book I read in 2011. Superbly researched and beautifully written, its subject is how the Chitlin' Circuit - the unofficial collection of blue collar black American clubs that almost every soul singer of note cut their teeth on - came to be. Rather than approach this as a sociological study, Lauterbach chooses to focus on a handful of club owners, promoters and musicians from the early-1930s to the mid-1960s (when US local governments began tearing the heart out of black urban communities). What fascinating tales they have to tell, often running the clubs as brothels and illegal drinking and gambling dens at the same time as booking the hottest bands going. I never thought I could learn a lot more about Little Richard and James Brown but Preston digs up fresh material. A long essay on Roy "Good Rockin' Tonight" Brown brings this unfairly marginalised artist to life and made me see him as a great pioneer rather than a one hit wonder. Understandably, a lot of the men - and it is almost all men documented here - are unsavoury, brutal types. Yet through their desire to make money and give the people what they wanted they helped create this sound we know as R&B and R&R. What characters. What stories. What a book. Highly recommended to anyone who loves good writing on American music.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read substantial amounts of bios and record label history this book reveals some new angles from which to look at the development of structures substantial for spreading r & b and r & r. The book also details the perspectives of Afro-American biz during the fifties and early sixties with hints at further urban development such as eradication of grown structures by means of city planning. Quite a read!
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Format: Paperback
This book provides all the background to the pub rows about ' what was the first rock n roll record' or where did 'rock n roll come from'. It also tells the start of rock n soul or soul and r 'n' b call it what you will.....without the pioneers that often laid their lives on the line as described in this book there would be no pub row ! I thought it a rocking good read and I wished I had it when I went to the southern states a few years ago. An essential precursor to Graceland tours and Sun Studio visits this book is as much social history as music history, if you can split them anyway. I would have gone 5 stars but didn't as personally I would have liked a map of the area and the odd town in there but that is a very personal and possibly unfair ask.
Buy it if at interested in this topic.well recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I’m always on the lookout for a new book to help indulge my musical interests and a friend recently recommended this to me. I’ve been in love with Black Rhythm and Blues for a number of years and that genre had its dancing feet firmly stuck in the backwoods mud of the Chitlin’ Circuit; the mildly derogatory term for the network of Black music venues littered about the (mainly) Southern states of the U.S.A.

This book seeks to tell the tale of these venues creation, a response to a virtually new phenomenon, the disposable income of a self determined Black population. It sets out to tell tall tales of the musicians and gig goers, the ingenuity of the venues creators, the shadowy background of their financing, stories of the back handers given to a white controlling force of politicking and policing. The book is littered with tales, lacework links, and histories of all those names you’ve come to know and love such as Louis Jordan, T-Bone Walker, Gatemouth Brown, Jimmy Lunceford, Amos Milburn, Dave Bartholomew, and Roy Brown.

These places, the timber frame buildings of Chicken Shack Boogie fame are where Rock n’ Roll was birthed. Louis Jordan once said that Rock N’ Roll was only a poor imitation by Whites of Black Rhythm and Blues and the more I listen and the more I learn, the more I’m agreeing with that statement. Lauterbach’s book just confirms it … yet again.

I haven’t got more than a third of the way into this, and I’m here telling you all about it, because it’s that good. It’s oozily wet, not dry, teeming with tales and hearty history. It beats with the sort of knowledge only an insider can ever get the low-down on, and luckily for us, the reader, it has been passed on with ’nuff style.
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