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SXSW Music 2014

he Chitlin Circuit and the Road to Rock & Roll

The African-American Chitlin Circuit has long been a colorful part of American music, particularly in the South where it picked up influences from the country-western and Latino bands. It was a shifting, unorganized concept, run by a few national promoters with local connections from big cities to the deep swamps.
from Count Basie to Etta James to Jimi Hendrix. This panel is inspired by Preston Lauterbach's book of the same name.
NOTE: I have not contacted Preston with this idea but am gambling he'll go for it - that's why everything but his email is my info. I believe we can get Curley Mayes, Spot Barnett, Bobby Rush, or Barbara Lynn - all Chitlin Circuit veterans - to be on the panel, and putting together as Chitlin Circuit showcase could work well with this.

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  1. What defined the Chitlin Circuit and when was it popular?
  2. Was the Chitlin Circuit exclusively black musicians for black audiences?
  3. Who were some of the major promoters and how did they organize tours in the pre-internet days?
  4. Did the Civil Rights Movement and desegregation contribute to the decline of the Chitlin Circuit?
  5. What's the legacy of the Chitlin Circuit in today's music?



Margaret Moser, music writer, Austin Chronicle

Meta Information:

  • Tags: history, music
  • Event: Music
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Historical
  • Track 2
  • Level:
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