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Lonnie Mack

When Lonnie Mack sang the blues, country strains were sure to infiltrate. Conversely, if he dug into a humping rockabilly groove, strong signs of a deep-down blues influence were bound to invade, par for the course for any musician who cited both Bobby Bland and George Jones as pervasive influences. Fact is, Mack's lightning-fast, vibrato-enriched, whammy bar-hammered guitar style influenced many a picker, too, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, who idolized Mack's early singles for Fraternity and later co-produced and played on Mack's 1985 comeback LP for Alligator, Strike Like Lightning.

Growing up in rural Indiana not far from Cincinnati, Lonnie McIntosh was exposed to a heady combination of R&B and hillbilly. In 1958, he bought the seventh Gibson Flying V guitar ever manufactured and played the roadhouse circuit around Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. Mack steadfastly cited another local legend, guitarist Robert Ward, as the man whose watery-sounding Magnatone amplifier inspired his own use of the same brand.

Session work ensued during the early '60s behind Hank Ballard, Freddy King, and James Brown for Cincy's principal label, Syd Nathan's King Records. At the end of a 1963 date for another local label, Fraternity Records, Mack stepped out front to cut a searing instrumental treatment of Chuck Berry's "Memphis." Fraternity put the number out, and it leaped all the way up to the Top Five on Billboard's pop charts.

Its hit follow-up, the frantic "Wham!," was even more amazing from a guitar-playing perspective, with Mack's lickety-split whammy-bar-fired playing driven like a locomotive by a hard-charging horn section. Mack's vocal skills were equally potent; R&B stations began to play his soul ballad "Where There's a Will" until they discovered Mack was Caucasian, then dropped it like a hot potato. Its flip, a sizzling vocal remake of Jimmy Reed's "Baby, What's Wrong," was a minor pop hit in late 1963.

Mack waxed a load of killer material for Fraternity during the mid-'60s, much of it not seeing the light of day until later on. A deal with Elektra Records inspired by a 1968 Rolling Stone article profiling Mack should have led to major stardom, but his three Elektra albums were less consistent than the Fraternity material. (Elektra also reissued his only Fraternity LP, the seminal The Wham of That Memphis Man.) Mack cameoed on the Doors' Morrison Hotel album, contributing a guitar solo to "Roadhouse Blues," and worked for a while as a member of Elektra's A&R team.

Disgusted with the record business, Mack retreated back to Indiana for a while, eventually signing with Capitol and waxing a couple of obscure, country-based LPs. Finally, at Vaughan's behest, Mack abandoned his Indiana comfort zone for hipper Austin, Texas, and began to reassert himself nationally. Vaughan masterminded the stunning Strike Like Lightning in 1985; later that year, Mack co-starred with Alligator labelmates Albert Collins and Roy Buchanan at Carnegie Hall (a concert marketed on home video as Further on Down the Road).

Mack's Alligator encore, Second Sight, was a disappointment for those who idolized Mack's playing -- it was more of a singer/songwriter project. He temporarily left Alligator in 1988 for major-label prestige at Epic, but Roadhouses and Dancehalls was too diverse to easily classify and went nowhere. Mack's 1990 album, Live! Attack of the Killer V, was captured on tape at a suburban Chicago venue called FitzGerald's and once again showed why Lonnie Mack was venerated by anyone even remotely into savage guitar playing. Lonnie Mack died in Nashville in April 2016 at the age of 74. ~ Bill Dahl
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: From Nashvill To Memphis

1. Soul Serenade

2. Nashville

3. No More Pain

4. Blues Twist Part 1

5. Blues Twist Part 2

6. Tonky-Go-Go

7. She Don't Come Here Anymore

8. Honky Tonk '65

9. Buckaroo

10. I Left My Heard In San Francisco

11. Omaha

12. Craying Over You

13. Coastin'

14. When I'm Alone

15. The Circus Song

16. Are You Guilty?

17. Wildwood Flower

18. Don't Make My Baby Blue

19. Down In The Dumps

20. Any Day Now

21. Teacha

22. Doggin'

23. Instrumental #1

24. I'm So Satisfied

25. Goodbye Baby Goodbye

26. Memphis

x

Track List: Live! Attack Of The Killer V

1. Riding The Blinds (Live)

2. Natural Disaster (Live)

3. Stop (Live)

4. Camp Washington Chile/If You Have To Know (Live)

5. Satisfy Suzie (Live)

6. I Found A Love (Live)

7. The Move (Live)

8. Cincinnati Jail (Live)

x

Track List: Second Sight

1. Me And My Car

2. Rock And Roll Bones

3. Tough On Me, Tough On You

4. Camp Washington Cilil

5. Cincinatti Jail

6. Rock People

7. Buffalo Woman

8. Ain't Nobody

9. Back On The Road Again

10. A Song I Haven't Sung

x

Track List: Strike Like Lightning

1. Hound Dog Man

2. Satify Susie

3. Stop

4. Long Way From Memphis

5. Double Whammy

6. Strike Like Lightning

7. Falling Back In Love With You

8. If You Have To Know

9. You Ain't Got Me

10. Oreo Cookie Blues

x

Track List: The Hills Of Indiana

1. Asphalt Outlaw Hero

2. Florida

3. Lay It Down

4. The Hills Of Indiana

5. Uncle Pen

6. Bicycle Annie

7. A Fine Way To Go

8. Rings

9. The Man In Me

10. She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye

11. All Good Things Will Come To Pass

12. Three Angels

x

Track List: Whatever's Right

1. Untouched By Human Love

2. I Found A Love

3. Share Your Love With Me

4. Teardrops On Your Letter

5. Baby What You Want Me To Do

6. Mt. Healthy Blues

7. What Kind Of World Is This

8. My Babe

9. Things Have Gone To Pieces

10. Gotta Be An Answer

x

Track List: Glad I'm In The Band

1. Why

2. Save Your Money

3. Old House

4. Too Much Trouble

5. In The Band

6. Let Them Talk

7. Memphis

8. Sweat And Tears

9. Roberta

10. Stay Away From My Baby

11. She Don't Come Here No More

x

Track List: The Best Of Lonnie Mack - The Alligator Records Years (Remastered)

1. Strike Like Lightning

2. Cincinnati Jail (Live)

3. Natural Disaster (Live)

4. I Found A Love (Live)

5. Hound Dog Man

6. Oreo Cookie Blues

7. Riding The Blinds (Live)

8. Stop (Live)

9. If You Have To Know

10. Double Whammy

11. Fall Back In Love With You

12. Satisfy Suzie (Live)

13. Tough On Me, Tough On You

14. Camp Washington Chili

15. A Song I Haven't Sung

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Lonnie Mack was a gifted musician and extraordinar y guitarist. He died the same day as Prince and - not to take anything away from Prince or his admirers - didn't even get a small line of recognition. Prince was good but he was no Lonnie Mack.
Report as inappropriate
Shame he's gone....for us....
RIP.

You are Rockin' with the LEGENDS!!!

0;o)))
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allenmorales 2 3 0
Sad he died on the same day as Prince and was overshadowed by it.
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Used to talk to him when I was a kid when he visited his parents house under the water tower in Milan. Loved that Flying V!
Report as inappropriate
He just passed way (04/21/2016) . RIP Lonnie
Report as inappropriate
dkwatson2012
I will never forget the time I was jamming with my band and he was in the crowd. I talked to him afterwards not knowing who he was, he said "You're a hell of a guitar player." Coming from him, that's probably one of the best complements I have ever had.
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He was so great in anything he did
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Definitely need to go to Susan Distel and to finally meet her at the Sports Inn in the little city of Sheridan, Colorado!!!
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Lonnie is one of the best
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Love this guys music...... forgot all about him till now....thank s Pandora
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interesting stories about Lonnie, thx.
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kingtung1
Hey jannacoogle he's still ALIVE
Report as inappropriate
levicgarrett
Lonnie now lives in Smithville, TN next to my dad's old home. My brother and I didn't know who was living next to us for the longest time, and one evening we were jamming on the back porch and attracted Lonnie's attention. He invited us up to his cabin and showed us his records, pictures with SRV, and he even let us play the '58 Flying V. We began talking to him regularly and even got the opportunity to play with him at a couple little outdoor venues just outside of town near Center Hill Dam.
Report as inappropriate
oma.b
Sing it Lonnie, sing it! What a voice! Love it.
Report as inappropriate
My first guitar hero. His Wham album is a treasure and he practically invented Blues/Rock. Nobody in 1963 even came close to him. Still true! God bless Lonnie Mack.
Report as inappropriate
He never died! and I don't get how he dropped out of the music scene… Thus guy was something else! Really great ! Great Great! That's meeeee below.. Misunderstoo d his BIO! I love you Lonnie!
Report as inappropriate
W O W ! What a man Lonnie really was! Died too young! He really knew The BLUES and it it sooooo sad he left us… He sounded downhearted and I wish he was not so sensitive The GOOD Die Young
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rpmh7625
Hometown star...the first bluesman I heard when I was young...like d the blues ever since
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very good
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Wow! I use to listen to Lonnie Live everyday as a kid growing up in Cinti. He rented a cottage from my best friends Mom down on River rd SR#50.
What a treat to hear his music again..Love ya Lonnie, peace out hippies
Report as inappropriate
hey galen..i did not think anyone else besides myself new about siegal schwall band....used to check them out at an old coffeehouse from the beatnik age in Detroit called 'The ...now I forgot the name .....anyway they were excellant ....and yes I am a survivor of the 60s.
Report as inappropriate
I grew up with Lonnie's music playing above my head. My uncle, Rod Jones, was Cincy session man and his drummer in the early 60's. They practiced at my Grandmother' s house, upstairs. Main Street, Lawrenceburg , Indiana. I was underage but Rod got me into the surrounding clubs-joints where they rock-a-billi e d - o u t to ever adoring crowds. Thanks, Lonnie, for my musical center. GI Indian-a Joe
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this 1 make me think of seagal schwall band
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lonnie mack do play the blue.oh yes he do.
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LONNIE MACK is way cool, I got to see him open for Roy Buchanan & Dickey Betts, great concert
Report as inappropriate
billy3bam
...really dug mack and stevie ray 2gether!is he still alive?if so does he still play/record?
Report as inappropriate
As Jim Morrison says, "Do it Lonnie, do it!!
Report as inappropriate
michaelhaydn m v
Very Nice Rock'n Roll band!

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