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In The Chitlin' Circuit and the Road to Rock 'N' Roll, first-time author Preston Lauterbach thoroughly explores an important part of American musical history: the Chitlin' Circuit. The 352 pages of Chitlin' Circuit detail the historic underground black network of music and vice in Lauterbach's native Memphis, Tenn., and how this background gave rise to rock 'n' roll as we know it today.
Lauterbach was born in Virginia, raised in California and settled in Memphis, the birthplace of rock 'n' roll. Working for much of his life as an editor and journalist, he switched to the role of popular historian with this debut book. Lauterbach truly immersed himself in his work to bring to light this bygone piece of American heritage, including lessons on pickpocketing, shooting craps with loaded dice, and pulling a con. Equally important are the musical elements — blues, soul, and R&B — and the innovation that swirled through these circles. The result is a bold, vibrant look at the people and places behind rock roots, as "energetic as a Little Richard song," — who himself got his start in the Chitlin' Circuit.
Hear Lauterbach discuss his work on this session of World Cafe.