Author(s): Preston Lauterbach
A definitive account of the birth of rock'n'roll in black America, this book establishes the Chitlin' Circuit as a major force in American musical history. Combining terrific firsthand reporting with deep historical research, Preston Lauterbach uncovers characters like Chicago Defender columnist Walter Barnes, who pioneered the circuit in the 1930s and larger-than-life promoters such as Denver Ferguson, the Indianapolis gambling chieftain who consolidated it in the 1940s. From Memphis to Houston, The Chitlin' Circuit brings us into the sweaty back rooms where stars such as James Brown, B.B. King and Little Richard made their start. With his portraits of unrecognised heroes including King Kolax, Sax Kari and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Lauterbach writes of a world that has avoided examination despite its wealth of brash characters, intriguing plotlines and vulgar glory, and gives us an excavation of underground musical America.
Lauterbach's writing is as energetic as a Little Richard song (a performer who started on the chitlin' circuit and crossed over to national fame).... a rocking read and a deserving tribute to the people and places who were the foundations of rock and roll.
Preston Lauterbach is a music journalist. This is his first book.