Guitar Towns


"I couldn?t put it down. Randy McNutt?s passion for music comes through loud and clear on every page." ?George Thorogood

Everyone knows the importance of Nashville, New York, LA, and Chicago to popular music, but what about Norfolk and

When recording was more art than commerce, regional music centers flourished. From the 1940s to the 1970s, hundreds of hits?from ...

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"I couldn’t put it down. Randy McNutt’s passion for music comes through loud and clear on every page." —George Thorogood

Everyone knows the importance of Nashville, New York, LA, and Chicago to popular music, but what about Norfolk and

When recording was more art than commerce, regional music centers flourished. From the 1940s to the 1970s, hundreds of hits—from "My Guy" to
"Five O’Clock World"—came out of New Orleans, Muscle Shoals, Memphis, Houston,
Cincinnati, and other music centers that are too often forgotten today. The important role they played is described in Randy McNutt’s entertaining new book, Guitar Towns.

Paying tribute to neglected treasures, McNutt, a writer for the Cincinnati
Enquirer and a record producer himself, traveled across America to seek the creators of pop music’s hits, misses, and myths. The book recounts his personal odyssey as it documents an important chapter in American cultural history.

McNutt persuaded singers,
songwriters, disc jockeys, producers, and session players to talk to him about their lives and their music, and they responded with enthusiasm and flair. Guitar Towns is irresistible to anyone interested in pop music and culture.

Each spring my itch for sonic Americana worsened with the tree pollen. I navigated with two dozen old and new state and local maps, which I
stored in a nylon briefcase on my back seat. Right away, I realized I couldn’t visit every music center. So I limited my journeys to areas with strong roots and music ties. I preferred the
Soul Zone, a musical hothouse stretching from Cincinnati to the Gulf of Mexico and an area that wielded a disproportionate influence on American music for decades. Amazingly, Southern music teams,
often consisting of blacks and whites, made high-quality records as their cities churned with racial conflict. —from Chapter One

Indiana University Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253340580
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2002
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

RANDY McNUTT, longtime reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer, is also a record producer and cultural historian, with a deep-seated love for American roots music. His previous books include We Wanna Boogie: An Illustrated History of the American Rockabilly Movement; Ghosts:
Ohio's Haunted Landscapes, Lost Arts, and Forgotten Places; and (with Rick Kennedy) Little
Labels—Big Sound: Small Record Companies and the Rise of American Music (Indiana University
Press). Whether he's writing about pop music, politics, or Americana, Randy McNutt takes readers behind the scenes and to little-known places to give them a different look at life in the United

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

1. Hamilton, Ohio: Driving the Blues
2. New
Orleans: Sea Cruise
3. Jackson: Just a Dream
4. Thibodaux, Louisiana: When There's
No Way Out
5. Shreveport: Susie-Q
6. Houston: Treat Her Right
Memphis: Cry Like a Baby
8. Memphis Redux: Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
9. Muscle
Shoals: Funky Fever
10. Norfolk: If You Wanna Be Happy
11. Bakersfield: Act
12. McGonigle, Ohio: Lonnie on the Move
13. Cincinnati: Honky
Appendix: Selected Hits from Regional Music

Indiana University Press

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