On its back cover, Patrick B. Mullen’s Right to the Juke Joint: A Personal History of American Music (University of Illinois Press, 2018) is aptly described as “part scholar's musings and part fan's memoir”. Mullen is professor emeritus of English and folklore at the Ohio State University and across the eight chapters that make up this book, he enthusiastically and engagingly describes his many encounters with a wide range of vernacular musics throughout the North American continent and details his experiences with the various genres, performers, events, and songs that have shaped the soundscape of his life. As his fellow music scholar E. Cecilia Conway puts it: this “book lets us ride shotgun with Mullen on his journey from Beaumont, Texas boy to Ohio professor to dancing to 'Don't Be Cruel' and 'The Twist' amidst the diversity of American Music. Read Pat Mullen at his expansive best."
Rachel Hopkin is a UK-born, US-based folklorist and radio producer and is currently a PhD candidate at the Ohio State University.