Preston Lauterbach’s The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock ‘n’ Roll is a must read, but it’s also a must listen. The music covered spans a period of sixty years, and listening while you read is the way to go. Below are just a few of the outstanding cuts that you’ll read about. I’m going to forego my usual blather other than a brief comment or two. You want commentary? Buy the book!
Want more? Check out my Q&A with the author.
“Birmingham Bertha,” Walter Barnes and his Royal Creolians:
“It’s Tight Like That,” Walter Barnes and his Royal Creolians. Yeah, he meant what you think he meant:
“Junker’s Blues,” Champion Jack Dupree. Pay attention to the lyrics:
“Knockin’ Myself Out,” Lil Green. Another song about getting high:
“Don’t Worry ‘Bout the Mule,” Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five
“That’s Alright,” Arthur Crudup. You know this track. Here’s the original:
“Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” Big Joe Turner. Another familiar cut you’ve probably never heard in its original form:
“Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well,” Wynonie Harris:
“Chicken Shack Boogie,” Amos Milburn. A chitlin’ circuit song about the chitlin’ circuit:
“Open the Door, Richard!” Jack McVea. I think Cheech and Chong should owe some royalties:
“Good Rockin’ Tonight,” Roy Brown. Yep, another huge hit in its original form.
“Atomic Energy,” Clarence Gatemouth Brown
“You Know I Love You,” B.B. King
“Rocket 88,” Kings of Rhythm/Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats. Young Ike Turner makes good:
“Every Hour,” Little Richard. His first record:
“My Song,” Johnny Ace:
“Eight Men, Four Women,” O.V. Wright. Does that melody sound familiar? Think Eric Burdon.
“Prayer Meetin’,” Willie Mitchell. Quentin Tarantino, what happened? You asleep at the wheel? How’d you miss this one?
“Drivin’ Wheel,” Al Green. Forget the rest of this list. Just lay back in this groove and enjoy the rest of your day:
“Down Home Blues,” ZZ Hill
“Candy Licker,” Marvin Sease. Man, when this came out my little record store in Savannah, Georgia couldn’t keep it in stock. Apparently Marvin hit the right spot. So to speak.
“Lick It Before You Stick It,” Denise Lasalle. This would make a great “The More You Know” spot on television: