Lonnie Mack in Rising Sun, Indiana, 2003.
|Birth name||Lonnie McIntosh|
July 18, 1941 |
Dearborn County, Indiana, U.S.
|Genres||Blues rock, blues, country, southern rock, rockabilly, blue-eyed soul, bluegrass, gospel|
|Instruments||Vocals, Electric guitar, Acoustic guitar, Bass Guitar|
|Labels||Alligator, Elektra, Fraternity, Capitol, Flying V Records, Jewel[disambiguation needed], King, Ace, Epic, Sage Records, Dobbs Records|
|1958 Gibson Flying V guitar|
In 1963 and early 1964 he recorded a succession of full-length electric guitar instrumentals that combined blues stylism with fast-picking techniques and a rock beat. The best-known of these are "Memphis", "Wham!", and "Chicken Pickin'". These instrumentals preceded the emergence of major rock guitar soloists such as Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix in the late 1960s, and established the standard of virtuosity for a generation of rock guitarists. They are also said to have formed the leading edge of the "blues rock" lead guitar genre. The pitch-bending tremolo arm found on some electric guitars reportedly became known as the "whammy bar" in recognition of Mack's aggressive, rapid manipulation use of the device in 1963's Wham!"
In 1979, music historian Richard T. Pinnell called 1963's "Memphis" a "milestone of early rock guitar". In 1980 the editors of Guitar World magazine ranked "Memphis" first among rock's top five "landmark" guitar recordings. Mack is widely regarded today as a pivotal historical figure in expanding the role of the electric guitar in rock.
Mack is regarded by some critics as one of the finer early "blue-eyed soul" singers. Crediting both Mack's R&B vocals and his guitar solos, music critic Jimmy Guterman ranked Mack's first album, 1963's The Wham of that Memphis Man!, No. 16 in his book The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time. He released several singles in the 1950s and 1960s as well as thirteen original albums spanning a variety of genres between 1963 and 1990. He enjoyed his greatest recognition as a blues-rock singer-guitarist, with especially productive periods during the 1960s and the latter half of the 1980s. Mack switched musical genres and idled his career as a rock artist for lengthy periods, due to an aversion to notoriety and a preference for simple country living.
In 2011 he announced an upcoming self-published album of informally recorded compositions, including the recently released acoustic blues single "The Times Ain't Right". Beyond his career as a solo artist, Mack recorded with The Doors, Stevie Ray Vaughan, James Brown, Freddie King, Joe Simon, Ronnie Hawkins, Albert Collins, Roy Buchanan, Dobie Gray and the sons of blues legend Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, among others.
- 1 Career
- 1.1 Childhood and early influences
- 1.2 Early career
- 1.3 Mack's guitar
- 1.4 "Memphis", "Wham!", and the birth of blues-rock guitar
- 1.5 Mack's influence on other guitarists
- 1.6 "Blue-eyed soul" ballads
- 1.7 The Wham of that Memphis Man!
- 1.8 Historical significance of Mack's guitar solos
- 1.9 Transition period
- 1.10 Rediscovery
- 1.11 Elektra years
- 1.12 Country years
- 1.13 Blues-rock comeback
- 1.14 Late career
- 1.15 Today
- 2 Guitar style and technique
- 3 Discography
- 4 Career recognition and awards
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Lonnie Mack's music career began in the mid-1950s. It included historically significant recordings, critical and popular recognition, and periods of reclusion, rediscovery, and comeback. He never became a commercial superstar during his years as an active performer, but acquired the status of an "unsung hero" of early rock guitar and a "guitar hero's guitar hero". He performed regularly until 2004, and during the next few years appeared occasionally at special events.
On November 15, 2008, Mack performed at a production of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honoring Les Paul. On June 5–6, 2010, he performed at a reunion concert with the surviving members of his early-1960s band. In 2011, after a 21-year recording hiatus, he announced the upcoming release of a self-published "album" consisting of entirely new, informally recorded tunes.
Critic Sean McDevitt called Mack rock's first "virtuoso" lead guitarist and its first "guitar hero". In the early 1960s he augmented the electric blues guitar genre with fast-picking techniques borrowed from traditional country and bluegrass styles, leading one early reviewer to puzzle over the "peculiar running quality" of Mack's bluesy solos. These recordings prefigured the fast, flashy, blues-based lead guitar style which dominated rock by the late 1960s.
Although better-known as a guitarist, Mack was a double-threat performer from the outset. A 1968 feature article in Rolling Stone magazine rated Mack a better gospel singer than Elvis Presley, who earned all of his Grammys as a gospel singer.
By the 1980s Mack was recognized as a pioneer of virtuoso rock guitar, and according to Guitar World magazine influenced every major rock guitarist of the day, "from Clapton to Allman to Vaughan" and "from Nugent to Bloomfield". His early "blue-eyed soul" vocals remain notable for their gospel-like fervor.
Mack's recordings drew on rural and urban blues, country, bluegrass, rockabilly, vintage R&B, soul, and gospel styles. Attempts to classify Mack's music proved challenging, but the common thread throughout Mack's best-known music is a unique mix of black and white musical roots, later dubbed "roadhouse rock". Music critic Alec Dubro summarized: "Lonnie can be put into that 'Elvis Presley-Roy Orbison-Early Rock' bag, but mostly for convenience. In total sound and execution, he was an innovator." In a 1977 interview, Mack commented on his merger of country and blues styles: "I think they're about the closest musics there are. They're the earth musics of the white and black people. Country is never gonna die, and neither is the blues—and rock and roll is a little bit of both." His managers over the years have included the late Harry Carlson of Fraternity Records, John Hovekamp and James Webber, a former vice president of Elektra Records. Webber is listed on Mack's website as his current manager.
Childhood and early influences
In 1941, Mack's family moved from southeastern Kentucky to southern Indiana, where he spent his childhood on a series of small subsistence farms. Although Mack's childhood homes had no electricity, the family had a primitive battery-powered radio and were devotees of "The Grand Ole Opry" radio show. As a child, listening after the rest of the family had gone to bed, Mack became a fan of early R&B and black gospel music.
He began playing at the age of 7, using an acoustic guitar he had traded for a bicycle. While still a small child, he was playing guitar for tips at a hobo jungle near his home and outside of the Nieman Hotel in nearby Aurora, Indiana. Mack has stated, "I started off in bluegrass, before there was rock and roll. My family was like a family band. We sang and harmonized, and Dad played banjo. We were playin' mostly gospel, bluegrass, and old-style country. We played a lot of that old-style Jimmie Rodgers (country singer) and Hank Williams kinda music."
Mack's mother was his earliest country guitar and singing influence, and a blind gospel singer, Ralph Trotto, was his earliest musical mentor. Mack recalls that at the age of ten he was introduced to an elderly black guitarist who "played gutbucket and slide and Robert Johnson-type guitar". Mack, who was "into Merle Travis's finger-pickin' style", suddenly realized that he could combine his fast-picking techniques with an exciting and different musical genre.
In several recordings, Mack acknowledged Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles and Bobby "Blue" Bland as musical influences. Early in his career, Mack recorded tunes by Reed, Charles, and Bland. He has also cited 1950s R&B vocalist Hank Ballard, Gospel singer Archie Brownlee (lead singer for The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi) and country vocalist George Jones as singing influences. Mack recorded tunes by each of them as well. Various sources have noted that Mack's playing shows influences of electric blues guitarist T-Bone Walker (one of whose tunes he recorded), country guitarist Merle Travis, and jazz guitarist Les Paul. Mack's highest-charting single, the 1963 instrumental "Memphis", was based on the melody of a Chuck Berry tune.
As a teen-aged solo artist in the late 1950s, Mack recorded a cover of Al Dexter's 1944 western swing hit, "Pistol Packin' Mama" on the Esta label. During the same period, Mack played lead guitar for his older cousins, Aubrey Holt and Harley Gabbard, on two recordings, The Stanley Brothers' "Too Late To Cry" and the cousins' own "Hey, Baby". These two singles were released in 1959 on the Sage label. "Pistol-Packin' Mama" and "Too Late To Cry" have been out-of-print for decades. "Hey, Baby", a rockabilly tune with close-harmony bluegrass vocals, was reissued by the German label, Bear Family Records, in 2010 and is now available in the U.S. By the late 1950s, Mack had assembled a band of his own. They performed throughout Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, playing both rockabilly and, increasingly, R&B-tinged rock and roll. In the early 1960s, he shortened his surname to "Mack" and named his band "The Twilighters" after the Hamilton, Ohio club where they had had a steady engagement.
In 1958 Mack bought the seventh Gibson Flying V guitar from that model's first production run, which he used almost exclusively during his career. Mack, who is of Scottish and Native American ancestry was attracted to the arrow-shaped instrument because of his ethnic heritage. The 1958 Flying V model is now considered highly collectible, as only 81 of them left the factory that year. In 2011, Mack's guitar (which he calls "No. 7") was featured in The Guitar Collection, a $1,500 two-book set of detailed essay and photo presentations on each of the world's 150 most historically significant guitars. Rolling Stone included No. 7 in its 2012 list of "20 Iconic Guitars".
"Memphis", "Wham!", and the birth of blues-rock guitar
In the early 1960s Mack often worked as a session artist for Fraternity, a small record label in Cincinnati. There, he played guitar on a number of singles by local R&B artists, including Max Falcon, Beau Dollar and the Coins, Denzil Rice (who, as "Dumpy" Rice, went on to become the piano player in Mack's band), and Cincinnati's leading female R&B trio, The Charmaines. Several of these recordings are found on compilation CDs entitled Lonnie Mack: From Nashville to Memphis (Ace, 2004) and Gigi and the Charmaines (Ace, 2006).
On March 12, 1963, at the end of a recording session backing up The Charmaines, Mack and his band were offered the remaining twenty minutes of studio rental time. Not expecting the tune to be released, Mack immediately recorded a rockabilly/blues guitar instrumental loosely based on the melody of Chuck Berry's 1959 UK vocal hit, "Memphis, Tennessee". Mack had improvised the guitar solo in a live performance a few years earlier, when another member of the band (who usually sang the tune) missed a club date. Mack's instrumental version was well-received, so he adopted it as part of his live act. The tune featured a then-unique combination of several key elements. As recorded in 1963, it had seven distinct sections, with an unusually fast 12-bar blues solo. "An extended guitar solo exploiting the entire range of the instrument rings in the climax of the song in the fifth section. Lonnie Mack begins this portion by quoting several measures of the riff one octave higher than before. From there, he breaks into his choicest licks, including double-picking and pulling-off techniques — all with driving, complicated rhythms and technical precision".
By the time "Memphis" was first broadcast, in the spring of 1963, Mack had already forgotten the impromptu recording session and was engaged in a nationwide performing tour with singer-songwriter Troy Seals. A friend located him on tour and told him his tune was climbing the charts. In a 1977 interview, Mack recalled, "I was completely taken by surprise. I [hadn't] listened to the radio. I had no idea what was happening". By late June "Memphis" had risen to No. 4 on Billboard's R&B chart and No. 5 on Billboard's pop chart. It was only the fourth rock guitar instrumental to penetrate Billboard's "Top 5". It was the only top-20 single of Mack's career. In 1964, Johnny Rivers released his own version of "Memphis", recombining Berry's vocal treatment with signature elements of Mack's instrumental. Rivers' version scored No. 2 on the U.S. Hit Parade.
Still in 1963, Mack released "Wham!", a gospel-inspired guitar instrumental, which reached No. 24 on Billboard's Pop chart in September. He soon recorded  several more full-length rock guitar instrumentals, including his own composition,"Chicken Pickin'", and an instrumental version of Dale Hawkins' "Suzie Q". Mack used a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece on "Wham!" and several other tunes to achieve sound effects so distinctive for the time that guitarists began calling it the "whammy bar", a term by which the Bigbsy and other vibrato bars are still known. According to music historian and guitar professor Richard T. Pinnell, Mack's fast-paced interpretation of blues stylism in "Memphis" was unique in the history of rock guitar to that point, producing a tune that was both "rhythmically and melodically full of fire" and "one of the milestones of early rock and roll guitar".
Although the term "blues-rock" had not yet come into common usage in 1963, "Memphis" is now widely regarded as the first genuine hit recording of the virtuoso blues-rock guitar genre. "Wham!" soon became the second.
Mack's influence on other guitarists
Many prominent lead guitarists were strongly influenced by Mack during their formative years. British guitarist Jeff Beck considers Mack a "major influence". As a teenager, Stevie Ray Vaughan honed his guitar skills by playing along with "Wham!" so incessantly that his father finally destroyed the record. Vaughan, who said "Wham!" was "the first record I ever owned", simply bought another copy and resumed his practice. Vaughan considered Mack one of his "very big influences" and said, "I got a lot of the fast things I do from Lonnie". At the peak of his career, in the mid-1980s, Vaughan recorded covers of both "Wham!" and "Chicken-Pickin'". In 1963, 17-year-old Duane Allman played along with his copy of "Memphis", stopping, starting, and slowing the turntable with his foot, until he had mastered the tune. Western Swing guitarist Ray Benson, frontman for eight-time Grammy-winner Asleep at the Wheel, called Mack "my guitar hero". Southern Rock guitarist Dickey Betts: "Lonnie is one of the greatest players I know of. He's always been a great influence on me".
"Blue-eyed soul" ballads
While Mack's first recording successes were instrumentals, his roadhouse performances typically included both vocals and instrumentals, and in 1963 Mack recorded a number of tunes featuring his singing talents. These early "blue-eyed soul" vocal recordings were critically acclaimed. Rolling Stone said, "It is truly the voice of Lonnie Mack that sets him apart. [His] songs have a sincerity and intensity that's hard to find anywhere". According to another review:
Ultimately—for consistency and depth of feeling—the best blue-eyed soul is defined by Lonnie Mack's ballads and virtually everything The Righteous Brothers recorded. Lonnie Mack wailed a soul ballad as gutsily as any black gospel singer. The anguished inflections which stamped his best songs ("Why?", "She Don't Come Here Anymore" and "Where There's a Will") had a directness which would have been wholly embarrassing in the hands of almost any other white vocalist.
— music critic Bill Millar, 1983 essay "Blue-Eyed Soul: Colour Me Soul"
R&B radio stations throughout the South played Mack's gospel-inspired version of the soul ballad "Where There's a Will" in 1963; eventually, Mack was invited to give a live radio interview with a prominent R&B disc jockey in racially polarized Birmingham, Alabama. Mack recalls that when he appeared at the radio station, the DJ took one look at him and said, "Baby, you're the wrong color" and canceled the interview on the spot.
After that, Mack recalls, there was a precipitous drop in the airplay time devoted to his vocal recordings on R&B radio stations. Fraternity reacted by delaying release of one of Mack's signature soul ballads, "Why?" (recorded in 1963), as a single, until 1968, and then only as the "B" side of a rerelease of "Memphis". "Why?" received scant notice and never charted. It was eventually recognized as a "lost masterpiece of rock 'n' roll". Despite the de facto ban of Mack's vocal recordings on R&B radio stations, his 1963 cover version of Jimmy Reed's "Baby, What's Wrong" became a modest crossover pop hit (Billboard Pop, No. 93), particularly in the Midwest, Fraternity's traditional distribution market.
After the 1960s Mack recorded fewer "pure" blues and soul ballads and more country and rockabilly vocals. Mack's mature singing style has been variously described as a "country-esque blues voice" and the "impassioned vocal style of a white Hoosier with a touch of Memphis soul". 1983's Live at Coco's contains several bluesy vocals in this style, including a version of T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday". Other examples include Mack's own soul ballad, "Stop", on 1985's Strike Like Lightning, and a gospel-drenched version of Wilson Pickett's "I Found a Love" on 1990's Live: Attack of the Killer V.
The Wham of that Memphis Man!
During 1963, after the release of "Memphis" and "Wham!", Mack returned to the studio several times to cut additional recordings, including instrumentals, vocals and ensemble tunes. In early 1964, Fraternity packaged several of these, along with his 1963 singles, into an album entitled The Wham of that Memphis Man!
Mack's guitar instrumentals were blues-based, but unusually rapid, seamless and precise. His vocals were strongly influenced by Black gospel music. All the tunes were backed by bass guitar and drums, and many also featured keyboards and a Stax/Volt-style horn section. The Charmaines provided an R&B backup chorus on several cuts. In The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time, Jimmy Guterman ranked album No. 16.
The first of the guitar-hero records is also one of the best. And for perhaps the last time, the singing on such a disc is worthy of the guitar histrionics. Lonnie Mack bent, stroked, and modified the sound of six strings in ways that baffled his contemporaries and served as a guide to future players. His brash arrangements insure that [the album] remains a showcase for songs, not just a platform for showing off. Mack, who produced this album, has never been given credit for the dignified understatement he brought to his workouts.
The Wham of that Memphis Man! was released within weeks of the beginning of the British Invasion. Competing with the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones was an obstacle encountered by many, but Mack faced an additional challenge: In the words of critic John Morthland, "It was the era of satin pants and histrionic stage shows, and all the superior chops in the world couldn't hide the fact that chubby, country Mack probably had more in common with Kentucky truck drivers than he did with the new rock audience". Mack slowly slipped back into relative obscurity until the late 1960s. The Wham of that Memphis Man! has been reissued at least ten times, most recently in 2008. However, most of Mack's Fraternity recordings are not found on the album. Fraternity continued to release additional Mack singles during the 1960s, but never issued another album. Some of his Fraternity sides, including some alternate takes of tunes released in the 1960s, were first released three or four decades after they were recorded, on a series of Mack compilation albums.
Historical significance of Mack's guitar solos
In the early 1960s, Mack's extended guitar solos displayed exceptional levels of speed, dexterity and improvisational skill. In Skydog: The Duane Allman Story, guitarist Mike Johnstone recalled the impact of Mack's playing upon rock guitarists in 1963: "Now, at that time, there was a popular song on the radio called 'Memphis' - an instrumental by Lonnie Mack. It was the best guitar-playing I'd ever heard. All the guitar-players were [saying] 'How could anyone ever play that good? That's the new bar. That's how good you have to be now'". Seventeen years later, in July 1980, the editors of Guitar World magazine ranked "Memphis" the premier "landmark" rock guitar recording of all time, immediately ahead of full albums featuring blues-rock guitarists Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop, Jimi Hendrix and Cream's Eric Clapton.
Ultimately more influential and historically significant than commercially successful, Mack had a significant impact on guitarists Jeff Beck, Duane Allman, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dickey Betts, Neil Young, and Ted Nugent, among others, and profoundly influenced the evolution of rock guitar.
In all, it is not an exaggeration to say that Lonnie Mack was well ahead of his time....His bluesy solos pre-dated the pioneering blues-rock guitar work of Jeff Beck... Eric Clapton... and Mike Bloomfield... by nearly two years. Considering that they [were] 'before their time', the chronological significance of Lonnie Mack for the world of rock guitar is that much more remarkable.
— Brown & Newquist, Legends of Rock Guitar, Hal Leonard Co., 1997, p. 25'
[Mack's early work] was an aggressive, sophisticated, original and fully realized sound, developed by a kid from the sticks. It's questionable we'd have incandescent moments like Cream's  rendition of "Crossroads" without Lonnie Mack's ground-breaking arrangements five years earlier.
— Sandmel, , Guitar World, May 1984, pp. 55-56'
Mack's own assessment is more modest. He views himself as a transitional figure: "I was a bridge-over between the standard country licks in early rock 'n' roll and the screamin' kinda stuff that came later."
In the mid-1960s, the public's musical tastes shifted radically due to the initial, "pop" phase of the "British Invasion". However, during the same period, the "folk music" movement in the US and the popularity of Black American musical forms in both the US and the UK expanded the appeal of classic rural and urban blues among young whites of the baby boom generation.
Soon, a handful of predominantly white blues bands rose to prominence, including John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in the UK and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the US. During the mid-through-late 1960s, a new generation of electric blues guitarists emerged, including Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, most of whom were, or soon became, frontmen for blues-based rock bands. The late 1960s witnessed the appearance of many such bands, most of which showcased the virtuosity of their lead guitarists. These included the enormously successful "power trios": Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. By that point, blues-rock was recognized as a distinct and powerful force within rock music on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1968, these developments led to the rediscovery of Mack's seminal blues-rock guitar recordings of the early 1960s.
Still in the mid-1960s, Mack released a succession of new singles on Fraternity, but none charted, and Mack turned to R&B session work. At Cincinnati's premier record label, Syd Nathan's King Records, he played second guitar on a number of King-label recordings by blues singer-guitarist Freddie King, and lead guitar on several King-label recordings by "The Godfather of Soul", James Brown. Brown's band can be heard accompanying Mack on Brown's "Stone Fox" (1967); beyond that, however, it was a Lonnie Mack R&B guitar instrumental. During the same period, Mack found steady work as a session guitarist for John Richbourg's Soundstage 7 Productions in Nashville, backing soul singer Joe Simon and several other Richbourg R&B acts on Monument Records. He also played lead guitar on several Fraternity recordings of Cincinnati blues singer Albert Washington. None of the Washington tunes were major hits at home, but one featuring Mack's guitar ("Turn On The Bright Lights"), reportedly stayed on the pop charts in Japan for several years and all were later reissued in the UK.
In 1968, with the blues-rock movement approaching full force, Mack entered into a multi-record deal with Los Angeles' Elektra Records, and relocated to the West Coast. A feature article in the November 1968 issue of Rolling Stone magazine rated Mack "in a class by himself" as a rock guitarist, and compared his R&B vocals favorably with Elvis Presley's best gospel efforts. Rolling Stone urged Elektra to reissue Mack's 5-year-old Fraternity album. Elektra soon obliged, reissuing The Wham of that Memphis Man!, with two additional 1964 tracks, under the title For Collectors Only. Rolling Stone's October 1970 review of For Collectors Only compared Mack's guitar work from the early 1960s to "the best of [Eric] Clapton".
The Wham of that Memphis Man!/For Collectors Only remains Mack's most significant early album. In his review of a 1987 reissue, Gregory Himes of The Washington Post wrote: "With so many roots-rock guitarists trying to imitate this same style, this album sounds surprisingly modern. Not many have done it this well, though."
Mack recorded three new albums with Elektra, Glad I'm in the Band and Whatever's Right (both released in 1969) and The Hills of Indiana (1971). In the aggregate, these albums represented a stark departure from the strengths and stylistic formula represented by Mack's earlier work, previously touted by Rolling Stone. They were eclectic collections country and soul ballads, blues tunes, and updated versions of earlier recordings. In contrast to The Wham of that Memphis Man, both 1969 albums emphasized Mack's vocals and de-emphasized his guitar work. Only two instrumentals appear on these albums, a full-length blues guitar piece on Glad entitled "Mt. Healthy Blues", and a re-make of "Memphis".
Despite the shift in musical emphasis, Mack's output from this period was relatively well received by music critics. This, from a contemporary assessment of Glad:
Mack's taste and judgment are super-excellent. Every aspect of his guitar bears a direct relationship to the sound and meaning of the song. [H]is voice is strong without straining and of great range and personality. [I]f this isn't the best rock recording of the season, its the solidest. – Rolling Stone, May 3, 1969, p. 28.
Representative of these two albums were two consecutive vocals on Whatever's Right. Mack sings Willie Dixon's "My Babe" in a soul style typical of that era. Within seconds of the closing measure on that tune, he begins his vocal on "Things Have Gone To Pieces", a country tune previously recorded by George Jones. He repeated the pattern in Glad by performing a country tune, "Old House", and the soul tune, "Too Much Trouble" in sequence.
Upon completing the 1969 albums, Mack assumed a "Chet Atkins-Eric Clapton role at Elektra, doing studio dates, producing and A&R." In that role, Mack recruited a number of country and blues artists from Nashville, Memphis and Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and Elektra flirted with the idea of starting a new label to record them. Mack tried to sign Carole King, but Elektra rejected her, on the grounds that they already had Judy Collins. He also attempted to interest Elektra in gospel singer Dorothy Combs Morrison, formerly lead vocalist for the Edwin Hawkins Singers of "Oh Happy Day" fame. Mack recorded Morrison singing a gospel version of "Let It Be" before The Beatles released their own version, and urged Elektra to release it immediately. However, corporate red-tape at Elektra delayed the release, and The Beatles were first-to-market. Undeterred, he urged Elektra to capitalize on The Beatles' success by releasing Morrison's version next. Further delays at Elektra allowed the next release to be Aretha Franklin's own gospel version. "That...bummed me out", Mack said, enough that he resigned his corporate job.
By that point, Elektra had put together an old-fashioned whistle-stop tour of Mack's band, along with some of Mack's Memphis and Muscle Shoals artists, to be billed as "The Alabama State Troupers and Mount Zion Choir". According to Elektra producer Russ Miller, Mack disappeared six days before the tour was to begin. Miller soon found Mack at his rustic farm in backwoods Kentucky, and urged him to join the tour. Mack refused, citing a nightmare during his last night in Los Angeles, in which he and his family had been pursued by Satan. He told Miller that when he awoke in a sweat, he found his Bible opened to a passage commanding him to "flee from Mount Zion". Miller returned to L.A. without Mack, stating later: "[Lonnie's] a real country boy. [T]hat was it for Lonnie".
Mack's final Elektra album, The Hills of Indiana, was released in 1971. Foreshadowing the next phase of Mack's career, The Hills of Indiana completed Mack's shift of focus away from high-octane R&B and blues-rock, towards the pastoral, country end of the musical spectrum. The album sold poorly. His contract with Elektra fulfilled, Mack left L.A. and returned home, soon adopting the roles of low-profile country recording artist, sideman, session-player and occasional roadhouse touring performer. His recordings during this period display only rare glimpses of guitar virtuosity. Over the next fourteen years, he slipped back into a state of relative anonymity.
Years after leaving Los Angeles, Mack commented on his retreat from the rock 'n' roll spotlight before the age of 30: "Seems like every time I get close to really making it, to climbing to the top of the mountain, that's when I pull out. I just pull up and run". The lyrics of several Mack tunes shed further light on the topic. According to two, he yearned for the anonymous, uncomplicated country life of his youth. In another, he equated the pursuit of "fortune and fame" with selling one's soul to Satan. In yet another, he stated simply: "L.A. made me sick."
In 1973, Mack teamed up with Rusty York on an all-acoustic bluegrass LP, Dueling Banjos (QCA No. 304). Unavailable for 35 years, Jewel Records re-issued it on CD in 2009 (JRC 920011). It contains 16 bluegrass standards in a dueling-banjos format, with guitar and fiddle. Mack played guitar on all 16 cuts and provided the sole vocal track (the gospel tune "I'll Fly Away") on this otherwise instrumental album.
In 1974, Mack played lead guitar in Dobie Gray's band. Gray is best known for his hit tunes, "The 'In' Crowd" (later covered by The Ramsey Lewis Trio and others), "Drift Away" and "Loving Arms". Mack's guitar work from this period can be found on Gray's 1974 album Hey, Dixie. Mack wrote or co-wrote four tunes on the album, including the title track. In March 1974, Mack performed as Gray's lead guitarist at the last broadcast of The Grand Ole Opry from Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.
In 1975, Mack was shot during an altercation with an off-duty police officer. His account of the incident is preserved in one of his better-known late-career tunes, "Cincinnati Jail". According to the lyrics of that tune, the officer's unmarked car narrowly missed Mack while he was walking across a city street, whereupon Mack hit it on the fender, shouting "better slow it down!"; the officer stopped, emerged from his car, shot Mack "in the leg", then hauled him before a judge who threw him in jail. Mack recovered, but once again virtually disappeared from the music scene. For the next several years, he rarely performed in public, except at his "Friendship Music Park" in rural southern Indiana, where he showcased bluegrass and traditional country artists.
In 1977, Mack signed with Capitol Records. There, he recorded Home at Last, an album of country ballads and bluegrass tunes which attracted little attention. In 1978, he recorded another Capitol LP, Lonnie Mack with Pismo. A somewhat faster-paced album, Pismo featured country, southern rock and rockabilly tunes. In 1979, Mack began working on an independent recording project with a friend, producer-songwriter Ed Labunski. The intended result was a country-pop album ultimately entitled South. However, Labunski died in an auto accident before the project was completed, and the album was shelved. Mack released demos from the project 20 years later. Labunski's death also derailed Mack's and Labunski's plans to produce then-unknown Texas blues-guitar prodigy Stevie Ray Vaughan, who was destined to play a key role in Mack's blues-rock comeback a few years later.
Shortly after Labunski's death, Mack traveled to Canada, where he entered into a six-month collaboration with American expatriate rockabilly artist Ronnie Hawkins. Hawkins is best known for having founded The Hawks, a popular Canadian roots-rock group which became Bob Dylan's backup musicians and, later still, independently famous as The Band. Mack's guitar work from this period can be heard on Hawkins' 1981 solo album, Legend In His Spare Time.
By the early 1980s, Mack had been largely absent from the rock music scene for over a decade and his visibility as a recording artist had waned considerably. He chose this low point in his career to resume performing and touring, emphasizing a hard-driving blues-rock/rockabilly fusion style that became the cornerstone of his sound for the rest of his career. His first album from this period was Live at Coco's, recorded in 1983. It is Mack's only mid-career roadhouse performance preserved on disc. Originally a "bootleg" recording, Mack sanctioned its commercial release in 1998. On Coco's, Mack and his band can be heard playing familiar tunes from the Fraternity era, lesser-known tunes from the 1970s, tunes which appear on no other album (e.g., "Stormy Monday", "The Things I Used To Do" and "Man From Bowling Green") and tunes which did not appear on his studio albums until several years later (e.g., "Falling Back In Love With You", "Ridin' the Blinds", "Cocaine Blues" and "High Blood Pressure").
Still in 1983, Mack relocated to Texas, where he played regularly at venues in Dallas and Austin. Early in this period, Mack entered into a performing collaboration with Stevie Ray Vaughan. Little known outside of Texas in 1980, Vaughan's own career took off during this period; by 1985 he was an international blues-rock guitar sensation. Mack and Vaughan had first met in 1979, when Mack, acting on a tip from Vaughan's older brother, went to hear him play at a local bar. Vaughan recalled the meeting in a 1985 interview:
I was playin' at the Rome Inn in Austin, and we had just hit the opening chords of "Wham!" when this big guy walked in. He looked just like a great big bear. As soon as I looked at his face, I realized who he was, and naturally he was blown away to hear us doing his song. [W]e talked for a long time that night. [Lonnie said] he wanted to produce us.
— Stevie Ray Vaughan, as quoted in Sandmel, "Rock Pioneer Lonnie Mack In Session With Stevie Ray Vaughan", 'Guitar Player, April 1985, p. 33
Mack and Vaughan became close friends after that first meeting. Despite the generation gap between them, Mack said that he and Vaughan "were always on the same level", describing Vaughan as "an old spirit...in a young man's body". Mack regarded Vaughan as his "little brother" and Vaughan said Mack was "something between a daddy and a brother". When Mack was stricken with a lengthy illness in Texas, Vaughan put on a benefit concert to help pay his bills; during Mack's recuperation, Vaughan and his bass-player, Tommy Shannon, personally installed an air-conditioner in his house.
Vaughan said that "Wham!" was "the first record I ever owned", that Mack was "the baddest guitar player I know", and that Mack "really taught me to play guitar from the heart". Vaughan's musical legacy includes four versions of "Wham!"---two solo versions and two dueling-guitar versions with Mack. He also recorded Mack's "If You Have To Know", and an instrumental homage to "Chicken-Pickin", which Vaughan called "Scuttle-Buttin'".
Mack signed with Alligator Records in 1984, and, upon recovering from his illness, began working on his blues-rock comeback album, Strike Like Lightning. It became one of the top-selling independent recordings of 1985. Mack and Vaughan co-produced the album. Mack himself composed most of the tunes, which featured his vocals and driving guitar equally. Vaughan played second guitar on most of the album, and traded leads with Mack on "Double Whammy" and "Satisfy Susie". Both played acoustic guitar on Mack's "Oreo Cookie Blues". Strike propelled Mack back into the spotlight at age 44. Much of 1985 found him occupied with a promotional concert tour for Strike which included guest appearances by Vaughan, Ry Cooder and both Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, among others. Videos of Mack and Vaughan playing cuts from Strike are found on YouTube and similar websites. In 2007, Sony's Legacy label released a 1987 "live" performance of Mack's "Oreo Cookie Blues" featuring Mack and Vaughan trading leads on electric guitar.
The Strike Like Lightning tour culminated in a Carnegie Hall concert billed as Further On Down the Road, a tip of the hat to Mack's 1964 recording by the same title. There, he shared the stage with blues guitar stylist Albert Collins and blues-rock guitar virtuoso Roy Buchanan. The concert was marketed on home video and remains available from Flying V Records on Mack's website.
In 1986, Mack recorded another Alligator album, Second Sight, which featured both introspective and up-tempo tunes as well as an instrumental blues jam. In 1988, he moved to Epic Records, where he recorded the critically acclaimed rockabilly album, Roadhouses and Dance Halls, including the autobiographical single, "Too Rock For Country".
In 1990, Mack returned to Alligator to record a live blues-rock album, Attack of the Killer V, featuring two extended guitar solos and expanded renditions of earlier studio recordings. From one review: "This disc has everything that a great live album should have: a great talent on stage, an exciting performance from that talent, a responsive crowd and excellent sound quality ... This is what live blues is all about!" Although Mack continued to tour in both America and Europe until 2004, he has not released a full album since Attack of the Killer. In 2000, he appeared as a session player on the album Franktown Blues, by the sons of blues legend Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup. Mack provided guitar solos on two cuts, "She's Got The Key" and "Jammin' For James".
In recent years, Mack has occasionally appeared at benefit concerts and special events. On November 15, 2008, Mack was a featured performer at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 13th annual Music Masters Tribute Concert, soloing on "Wham!" in honor of electric guitar pioneer Les Paul. On June 5–6, 2010, Mack appeared in concert with the surviving members of his original band. Reportedly, he has been working on a memoir and is engaged in a songwriting collaboration with award-winning country and blues tunesmith Bobby Boyd.
Guitar style and technique
From inception, Mack's rock-guitar style was steeped in the blues. However, he routinely used fast-paced "fingerstyle" and "chicken picking" techniques and runs with origins in traditional country and bluegrass styles. This distinguished Mack from most of the blues-rock guitarists who rose to prominence in the decade following "Memphis", guitarists whose styles had evolved more exclusively from the Delta and Chicago blues traditions.
Mack typically manipulates the whammy bar with the little finger of his right hand, while picking at a 45-degree angle with a pick or the remaining fingers of the same hand, and bending the strings on the fret-board with his left. Stevie Ray Vaughan: "Nobody can play with a whammy-bar like Lonnie. He holds it while he plays and the sound sends chills up your spine". Mack's pioneering use of "lightning-fast runs" and machine-gunned climaxes became hallmarks of virtuoso rock guitar by the end of the 1960s.
On most of his early guitar solos, Mack employed a variant of R&B guitarist Robert Ward's distortion technique, using a 1950s-era tube-fired Magnatone amplifier to produce a distinctive "watery" tone. On other tunes he plugged into an organ amplifier to enhance his vibrato with a "rotating, fluttery sound".
- 1964: The Wham of that Memphis Man!
- 1969: Glad I'm in the Band
- 1969: Whatever's Right
- 1971: The Hills of Indiana
- 1973: Dueling Banjos
- 1977: Home At Last
- 1978: Lonnie Mack With Pismo
- 1980: South (rel. 1999)
- 1983: Live at Coco's (rel. 1999)
- 1985: Strike Like Lightning
- 1986: Second Sight
- 1988: Roadhouses and Dance Halls
- 1990: Attack of the Killer V
Career recognition and awards
|Year||Award or recognition|
- Poe, "Skydog: The Duane Allman Story", Backbeat, 2006, pp. 10-11
- Potoski, "SRV: Caught in the Crossfire", Backbeat, 1993, pp. 15-16
- see, e.g., Brown & Newquist, Legends of Rock Guitar, Hal Leonard Co., 1997, p. 25
- McDevitt, "Unsung Guitar Hero Lonnie Mack", Gibson Lifestyle, 2007.
- Pinnell, Richard T. (May 1979). "Lonnie Mack's 'Memphis': An Analysis of an Historic Rock Guitar Instrumental". Guitar Player. p. 40.
- "Landmark Recordings", Guitar World, July 1980 and July 1990, p. 97
- Sandmel, Guitar World, May 1984, pp. 55-56
- Goldmine Magazine, "When No Words Were Necessary, Pt. 1", December 18, 2010, "Lonnie Mack's brilliant record of Chuck Berry's song, “Memphis”, went to No. 5 in 1963. Mack's hit record is noteworthy, because it pushed a new generation of white kid guitarists in the unaccustomed direction of soul music."
- Guterman, The Best Rock 'N' Roll Records of All Time, 1992, Citadel Publishing
- "Account of disappearance from 1968 tour". Answers.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- Peter Guralnick, "Pickers" column, "Lonnie Mack: Fiery Picker Goes Country", 1977, pp. 16, 18; Holzman, Follow The Music, First Media, 2000, pp. 366-67
- Peter Guralnick, Pickers, "Lonnie Mack: Fiery Picker Goes Country", 1977, pp. 16-18
- "Country", 1976: I don't care what you think of me, I'm a-gonna live my life bein' country. Had a fancy job out in Hollywood, everybody said I was doin' good. Had lots of money and opportunities, but I'm a-gonna live my life bein' country.
- See specific reference to each of these artists footnotes after their names in text of article
- Sandmel, "Lonnie Mack is Back of the Track", Guitar World, May 1984, pp. 55-56
- Brown & Newquist, Legends of Rock Guitar, Hal Leonard Pub. Co., 1997, p. 87
- Santoro, "Double-Whammy", Guitar World, January 1986, p. 34
- "Unsung Guitar Hero Lonnie Mack", Gibson Lifestyle, 2007
- Gettleman, Orlando Sentinel, "Gutiar Hero Lonnie Mack", as reprinted in Salt Lake Tribune, August 3–4, 1993, p. 3
- "Poconut.com". Poconut.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- John Soeder, The Plain Dealer. "Guitar stars pay tribute to Les Paul in Cleveland concert". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- "Lonnie Mack profile at". Facebook. Retrieved 2012-11-10.
- Alec Dubro, Review of "The Wham of that Memphis Man!", Rolling Stone, November 23, 1968
- "Donnie Sumner, 'Voice', and Elvis Presley: Elvis Australia". Elvis.com.au. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- "Landmark Recordings", Guitar World, July 1980 and July 1990, p. 97
- see, e.g., Bill Millar, 1983 essay, Blue-Eyed Soul: Colour Me Soul
- "Unsung Guitar Hero Lonnie Mack", Gibson Lifestyle, 2007,
- Peter Watrous, "Lonnie Mack in a Melange of Guitar Styles", New York Times, September 18, 1988
- McNutt, Guitar Towns, University of Indiana Press, 2002, p. 174
- "Lonnie Mack profile at". Rockabillyhall.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- Dubro, Rolling Stone, March 23, 1968
- Russ House, Triad Publishing. "Lonnie Mack's Flying V Music". Lonniemack.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- In a July 24, 2005, interview Mack said, "We was beyond poverty. We was so poor, we didn't know we was poor. But it didn't matter, because we was happy, and we had a loving family. I wouldn't trade it for nothin' in the world. Mom and Dad, y'know, they never had nothin', but we had lots of love. We always had food to eat. We grew big gardens. We killed all the meat we ate. Dad made me a bow and arrow so I could go huntin'. We wouldn't kill 'em for sportsmanship, although that was a proud thing to do. Just for food. And we'd get black walnuts off the trees, and dig out grooves in the maple trees and put buckets on 'em and make some maple candy with the walnuts. Those were our sweet goodies."
- McDevitt, "Unsung Guitar Hero Lonnie Mack", September 5, 2007
- Dan Forte, "Lonnie Mack: That Memphis Man is Back", 1978, p. 20
- From transcript of July 24, 2005 interview with Mack.
- Bill Millar, liner notes to album, "Memphis Wham!"
- McNutt, Guitar Towns, University of Indiana Press, 2002, p. 175
- McDevitt, "Unsung Guitar Hero Lonnie Mack" Gibson Lifestyle online magazine, 09/05/2007, http://www2.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/Unsung-Guitar-Hero-Lonnie-Mack.aspx
- Bill Millar, liner notes to "Memphis Wham!"
- Dahl, Bill. "Lonnie Mack profile at". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- Russ House, Triad Publishing. "Lonnie Mack bio at". Lonniemack.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- Lonnie Mack bio; McNutt, Guitar Towns, University of Indiana Press, 2002, p. 175
- Bill Millar, liner notes, album "Memphis Wham!"
- "Mack Discography". Koti.mbnet.fi. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- Terry Gordon. "Harley Gabbard discography". Rockin' Country Style. Retrieved 2007-11-15.[dead link]
- Album, "That'll Flat Git It", V. 27, track 17, ISBN 978-3-89916-577-78
- "That'll Flat Git It! Vol. 27: Rockabilly & Rock 'N' Roll From The Vault Of Sage & Sand Records: Various Artists". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- "Lonnie Mack biodata at musicianguide.com". MusicianGuide.com. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
- Meiners, Larry (2001) [2001-03-01]. Flying V: The Illustrated History of this Modernistic Guitar. Flying Vintage Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 0-9708273-3-4.
- See the set's website at http://www.theguitarcollectionbook.com/
- See, album entitled From Nashville to Memphis, Ace, 2001, and liner notes thereto
- See, albums entitled From Nashville to Memphis (Ace, 2001) and Gigi and the Charmaines (Ace, 2006) and liner notes thereto
- 1963 Stewart Colman, liner notes to album "From Nashville to Memphis", March 2001
- Bill Millar, liner notes to album "Memphis Wham!"
- Richard T. Pinnell, "Lonnie Mack's Version of Chuck Berry's 'Memphis' — An Analysis of an Historic Rock Guitar Instrumental", Guitar Player Magazine, May 1979, p. 41
- March 1977 Capitol publicity release entitled "Lonnie Mack"
- The Virtues, "Guitar Boogie Shuffle" (1959) The Ventures' "Walk, Don't Run" (1960) and Duane Eddy's "Because They're Young" (1960).
- Russ Miller, liner notes to album For Collectors Only, Elektra EKS-74077, 1970 and "From Nashville to Memphis" Ace CDCHD807
- Others: "Down in the Dumps", "Nashville", "Tension" and "Lonnie On The Move" in 1963 and "Chicken Pickin'" and "Coastin'" in 1964.
- "Unsung Guitar Hero Lonnie Mack", September 5, 2007
- "Talink' Blues: Lonnie Mack and the Birth of Blues-Rock", Wyatt, December 4, 2012.
- ("Well before the term was coined, “Memphis” defined blues-rock."
- Bill Millar, liner notes to album Memphis Wham, Ace, 1999
- Guterman, The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Record of All Time, Citadel, 1992, p. 34; Neil Young: Kent, "Selected Writings on Rock Music", DaCapo Press (2002), p. 299
- "Sandy Bull". Global Village Idiot. 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- "Jeff Beck profile at". Reference.findtarget.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- DVD, SRV Live at the Mocambo, track 13, Sony, 1991
- Patoski (1993), "SRV: Caught in the Crossfire", Backbeat: 15–16
- Vaughn interview, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhffhhnibQY, at 15:20,
- Menn, Secrets From The Masters, Miller-Freeman, Inc, 1992, p. 278, ISBN 0-87930-260-7
- See, infra, under heading "Comeback, Strike Like Lightning"
- "Skydog: The Duane Allman Story". Backbeat. 2006. pp. 10–11.
- Benson interview, VHS/DVD entitled "Further On Down The Road", Flying V, 1985
- Ben Sandmel, The Allman Brothers Band Live at Ludlow Garage-1970, http://www.spectratechltd.com/extrapages/Allman%20Brothers%20-%20Live%20at%20Ludlow%20Garage%20CD%20-%20cover%20&%20notes.pdf
- Delehant, "Lonnie Mack Four Years After Memphis", Hit Parade, 1967; Bill Millar, liner notes to "Memphis Wham!"
- Alec Dubrow, Rolling Stone, November 23, 1968) Quote: The guitar, always high and uptight, is backed by and pitted against either the chorus, the saxes, or both. But it is truly the voice of Lonnie Mack that sets him apart. He is primarily a gospel singer, and in a way not too different from, say, Elvis, whose gospel works are both great and largely unnoticed. But where Elvis' singing has always had an impersonal quality, Lonnie's songs have a sincerity and intensity that's hard to find anywhere.
- Bill Millar (1983). "Blue-eyed Soul: Colour Me Soul". The History of Rock. Archived from the original on 2007-11-22. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
- Sandmel (May 1984). "Lonnie Mack is Back on the Track". Guitar World. p. 59.
- Sandmel (May 1984), Lonnie Mack is Back on the Track, Guitar World, p. 59
- Curtis. Lost Rock & Roll Masterpieces Fortune, 2001-04-30 Quote: "Why?", Mack wails, transforming it into a word of three syllables. "Why-y-y?" It's sweaty slow-dance stuff, with an organ intro, a stinging guitar solo, and, after the last emotional chorus, four simple notes on the guitar as a coda. There's no sadder, dustier, beerier song in all of Rock".
- Compare the vocals on 1963's "The Wham of that Memphis Man!" to those in "Home at Last" and "Lonnie Mack With Pismo", both recorded in the mid-1970s
- Watrous, "Lonnie Mack in a Melange of Guitar Styles", New York Times, September 18, 1988
- Francis Davis, History of the Blues, Da Capo, 1995, p. 246
- "Stormy Monday" is track 12 of the first CD in the set entitled "Live at Coco's". On the same album, hear "Why" and "The Things That I Used To Do".
- Stop" appears as track 3 of "Strike Like Lightning". A live version of the same tune appears as track 3 of 1990's "Attack of the Killer V".
- Russ Miller, liner notes to album "For Collectors Only", Elektra EKS-74077; Stuart Colman, 2001 liner notes to "From Nashville to Memphis", with accompanying Fraternity discography
- Guterman, The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time, Citadel, 1992, p. 34
- John Morthland, "Lonnie Mack", Output, March 1984
- "WangDangDula.com". Koti.mbnet.fi. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- 1987 reissue, without label reference: Himes, "Lonnie Mack" (column), The Washington Post, February 20, 1987
- The Wham of tha Memphis Man!, Ace (UK), 2006
- "Alligator reissue". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- "Unsung Guitar Hero: Lonnie Mack". Gibson.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- 2008 release on Collectables label, For Collectors Only, a copy of the 1970 Elektra reissue.
- Comprehensive Mack Fraternity Discography reproduced in tabular form by Ace Records, current owner of Fraternity, in the liner notes to CD "Lonnie Mack: From Nashville to Memphis"
- See: Ace CDs entitled "Memphis Wham!"
- "Lonnie Still On The Move" and "Lonnie Mack: From Nashville to Memphis", and comprehensive liner notes to each.
- See: Flying V's 2-CD set entitled "Direct Hits and Close Calls" and comments re same on Mack's website)
- Poe, "Skydog: The Duane Allman Story", Backbeat, 2006, p. 10
- "Betts 1985 interview". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- Kent, The Dark Side: Selected Writings on Rock Music, DaCapo, 1995, p. 299
- "Ted Nugent biography at". Musicianguide.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- Guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan Guitar World, November 1985, p. 28. Quote: [T]he way I look at it, we're just giving back to him what he did for all of us. [A] lot of producing is just being there, and with Lonnie, reminding him of his influence on myself and other guitar players. Most of us got a lot from him.
- Dickey Betts interview on YouTube", "God bless the Beach Boys, but I was really gettin' tired of "Little Deuce Coupe" and all the beach songs, and "Louie, Louie" — which are all great songs, but I'm talkin' about guitar-playin'. And then, here come Lonnie Mack right down the middle of it all. God, what a breath of fresh air that was for me." – Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts
- Alec Dubrow, Review of "The Wham of that Memphis Man!, Rolling Stone, November 23, 1968;
- Bill Millar, liner notes to album Memphis Wham!
- "Stone Fox, an anomaly". mog.com/Spike/blog_post. 2007-04-20. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
- Mack interview from 2000; hear: Joe Simon's album "Monument of Soul" on RPM Records, a recent compilation of Simon recordings from that period
- album "Albert Washington, Blues and Soul Man" (Ace, 1999) and liner notes thereto by Steven C. Tracy, Ph. D
- Steven C. Tracy, Ph.D.: (1) Liner notes to Ace CD "Albert Washington: Blues and Soul Man, with Lonnie Mack" and (2) Going to Cincinnati: A History of the Blues in the Queen City, Univ. Of Illinois Press, 1988, p. 165 et. seq
- CD entitled "Albert Washington, Blues and Soul Man, with Lonnie Mack", Ace CDCHD 727. (1999)
- Gregory Himes (1987-02-20). "Lonnie Mack". The Washington Post. "With so many roots-rock guitarists trying to imitate this same style, this album sounds surprisingly modern. Not many have done it this well, though."
- Rolling Stone, "Random Notes", February 7, 1970, p. 4
- According to original album notes, in one "studio date", Mack was one of the bass-players on The Doors album "Morrison Hotel".
- Holzman, Follow The Music, First Media, 1998, pp. 366-67
- Sandmel, "Lonnie Mack is Back on the Track", Guitar World, May 1984, pp. 59-60
- Holzman, Follow The Music, First Media, 2000, p. 367
- Holzman, Follow the Music, First Media. 1998, p. 367
- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 2009-10-28. Archived from the original on 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- "Country", 1976: I don't care what you think of me, I'm a-gonna live my life bein' country. Had a fancy job out in Hollywood, everybody said I was doin' good. Had lots of money and opportunities, but I'm a-gonna live my life bein' country.; hear also: Title track from Mack's 1971 album, "Hills of Indiana"
- Song: "A Song I Haven't Sung", track 10 on album "Second Sight", Alligator, 1986
- "A Long Way From Memphis", track 4 on "Strike Like Lightning" album, Alligator (1985)
- Staff (2005-06-19). "Lonnie Mack teams up with Rusty York". Tradebit.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- Planer, Lindsay. "Hey Dixie - Dobie Gray". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- A studio version of the tune appears as track 5 of the album Second Sight. A live version appears as track 8 of the album Attack of the Killer V.
- Mack bio at rockabillyhall.com
- Cincinnati Magazine - Jun 1986 - Page 73 " ... neither of which received much attention, Mack teamed up with an old friend named Ed Labunski to form a group called South "
- 1990 Lonnie Mack interview by Rikki Dee Hall.
- "Michael Smith, "Gritz Speaks With Guitar Hero Lonnie Mack", June 2000". Swampland.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- SRV interview, Guitar World, November 1985, p. 30
- As heard on bootleg DVD entitled "American Caravan: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble", recorded in 1986 at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis
- Davis, Francis (2003-09-02). History of the Blues. Da Capo Press. p. 246. ISBN 0-306-81296-7.
- Video: Live at the Mocambo; Album: The Sky is Crying
- "Strike like Lightning". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- Album: SRV and Double Trouble: Box Set, Disc 2
- "...the Lonnie Mack-inspired instrumental". Blues.about.com. 1984-08-17. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- Albums: SRV and Double Trouble: Box Set, Disc 2 and Live at Carnegie Hall; Vaughan said he "dedicated" the tune to Mack. Menn, Secrets From The Masters, Miller-Freeman, Inc, 1992, p. 278, ISBN 0-87930-260-7
- "Lonnie Mack Blues HDtrack downloads". HDtracks.com. 1999-12-04. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- CD, SRV: Solos, Sessions and Encores, track 7, Epic/Legacy, 2007
- Guterman, Rolling Stone, December 1, 1988
- ""Live! - Attack of the Killer V" Review". Members.tripod.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- Bo Baber (2000-05-31). "Review of Franktown Blues". Warehousecreek.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- "Photo of Mack playing at concert". Pureprairieleague.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- [dead link]
- "Lonnie Mack Comes Back To Life". Rockabillyhall.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- "Bobby Boyd profile at". Bobbyboydband.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- Gene Santoro, "Double Whammy", Guitar World, January 1986, p. 34
- Nixon, "It's Star Time!", Guitar World, November 1985, p. 82
- Alec Dubro, writing for Rolling Stone in November 1968 was the first to comment on this aspect of Mack's style, which undoubtedly derives from Mack's early mastery of bluegrass guitar. Dubro noted the "peculiar running quality" of Mack's solos.
- Pinnell, "Lonnie Mack's Version of Chuck Berry's 'Memphis': An Analysis of an Historic Rock Guitar Instrumental", Guitar Player magazine, May 1979, pg. 41
- Lonnie Mack bio at allmusic.com
- Meiners, Larry [2001-03-01], Flying V: The Illustrated History of the Modernistic Guitar, Flying Vintage Publishing, p. 13.
- Larry Nager, Cincinnati Enquirer, "Lonnie Mack Wins Lifetime Achievement Cammy", March 15, 1998
- Russ House, "Lonnie Mack Awarded Second Lifetime Achievement Award", March 15, 2002, Lonnie Mack 2nd Cammy Award
- "List of Hall of Famers". Rockabillyhall.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- "Full Inductee List". Widmarcs.com. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- "The Guitar Collection". Theguitarcollectionbook.com. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
- Lonnie Mack's official site
- Lonnie Mack biography at Allmusic website
- Rockabilly Hall of Fame website article on Mack