The Chitlin' Circuit

By Preston Lauterbach,

Book cover of The Chitlin' Circuit: And the Road to Rock 'n' Roll

Book description

For generations, "chitlin' circuit" has meant second tier-brash performers in raucous nightspots far from the big-city limelight. Now, music journalist Preston Lauterbach combines terrific firsthand reportage with deep historical research to offer a groundbreaking account of the birth of rock 'n' roll in black America.

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Chitlin' Circuit as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Want to write about music and musicians? You’ll need to understand the world in which they live. And if you’re writing about jazz and rock ‘n’ roll in the middle of the last century, that means a segregated, ugly world where even the most talented were treated as less than human. This was the world of the Chitlin’ Circuit. A dangerous, exciting, lawless network of nightclubs and juke joints from Memphis to New Orleans, Houston to Indianapolis, this topography spawned the popular music we love today. And nobody brings it to life like Lauterbach, whose reporting and language are as…

Lauterbach’s book travels back to the late 1920s up to the 1960s, illustrating the creation of a major strand in the African American music business, and how rock and roll took its first steps into the marketplace. The chitlin circuit was a necessarily segregated touring circuit, giving black performers nationwide a chance to build an audience, innovate with their music, and start a career. This is also a civil rights story, documenting African Americans in a segregated world supporting each other while building independent businesses.

When black musicians started achieving more notoriety and profit in the 1950s and 1960s, and…

From Harvey's list on American popular music history.

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