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Book Reviews

Preston Lauterbach: The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock ‘n’ Roll

By Published: October 21, 2012
The forgotten Roy Brown, who wrote "Good Rockin' Tonight" and Wynonie Harris, who first recorded it, were regulars on the circuit along with bandleader Jimmy Lunceford, who began as an educator in Memphis' Manassas High School, where he founded the Chickasaw Syncopators, who eventually morphed into the Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra, who performed between the mid-1930s to Lunceford's death from a heart attack in 1947 The book closes with the arrival of James Brown and his Famous Flames and the rise of Al Green and the Hi Records Rhythm Section.

To be sure, The Chitlin' Circuit and the Road to Rock 'n' Roll is the first in depth expose on a portion of the American landscape largely ignored by other scholars. The mammoth importance of the Chitlin' Circuit and the roll it played in the evolution of rock & roll cannot be overestimated. Lauterbach writes proudly of his Memphis home, shining an important and well deserved light of one of music's most important cities. Were it not for Memphis, there would have never been Detroit or Philadelphia soul. Lauterbach draws a refined picture of the origin of all American music today.


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