Don Nix

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Don Nix
Born (1941-09-27)September 27, 1941
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Genres R&B
Instruments Guitar, saxophone
Associated acts Mar-Keys, Alabama State Troupers

Don Nix (born September 27, 1941, Memphis, Tennessee) is an American songwriter, composer, arranger, musician, and author. Although cited as being "obscure", he is a key figure in several genres of Southern rock and soul, R&B, and the blues. He was instrumental in the creation of the distinctive "Memphis soul" developed at Stax Records.

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Nix came from a musical family (his brother, Larry Nix, became a mastering engineer for Stax and for the Ardent Recording Studios in Memphis). Don Nix began his career playing saxophone for the Mar-Keys, which also featured Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and others.[1] The hit instrumental single "Last Night" (composed by the band as a whole) was the first of many successful hits to Nix's credit. Without Nix, the Mar-Keys evolved into Booker T. & the M.G.'s.

As a producer, Nix worked with other artists and producers, such as Leon Russell of Shelter Records, Gary Lewis and the Playboys in Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars, the Beatles' George Harrison and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. One notable achievement was the collaboration with Harrison, Russell and many others in the production of The Concert for Bangladesh, a star-studded benefit concert at Madison Square Garden in 1971.

Throughout his career, Nix worked behind the scenes as producer, arranger, musician and in other roles for artists such as Lonnie Mack, Furry Lewis, Freddy King, Albert King, Delaney, Bonnie & Friends, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Jeff Beck, Brian May, Eric Clapton and many others. He wrote and produced albums for solo artists and for groups, such as Don Nix and the Alabama State Troupers, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and Larry Raspberry and the Highsteppers.

The song "Going Down", originally released by the band Moloch on their eponymous album in 1969, became a blues standard, having been covered by Freddie King, Jeff Beck, Deep Purple, JJ Cale, Marc Ford, Chicken Shack, Bryan Ferry, Pearl Jam, Gov't Mule, Sam Kinison, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Satriani, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Sammy Hagar and others.[2] Nix himself released a version of the song in 1972 as a single on Elektra Records. The song "Black Cat Moan" was covered on the 1973 album Beck, Bogert & Appice.

The Rolling Stones performed "Goin' Down" with John Mayer and Gary Clark, Jr. live on Pay-Per-View television on December 15, 2012, as part of the Stones' 50th Anniversary Tour.[3]



In God We Trust / Golden Mansions / I'll Fly Away / He Never Lived a Day Without Jesus / Nero My God to Thee / Amos / Long Way to Nowhere / Iuka / Will the Circle Be Unbroken / I've Tried (Trucker's Lament)
(personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr; Eddie Hinton, gtr; Furry Lewis, sl. gtr, poem on track 8; Larry Rasberry, rh. gtr; Barry Beckett, keys; David Hood, bs; Roger Hawkins, dms; J. A. Spell, fd; Jeanie Green, Marlin Green [the Mt. Zion Singers], background.vcls) (recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, produced by Don Nix) (reissue: Nippon Phonogram Records BT-5357, 1979 JAP)

1971 US

The Shape I'm In / Olena / I Saw the Light / She Don't Want a Lover / Living by the Days / Going Back to Iuka / Three Angels / Mary Louise / My Train's Done Come and Gone
(personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr; Jimmy Johnson, Tippy Armstrong, Gimmer Nicholson, Wayne Perkins, gtr; Furry Lewis, narration; Barry Beckett, Chris Stainton, keys; David Hood, Donald 'Duck' Dunn, bs; Roger Hawkins, dms; Mt. Zion Singers [Wayne Perkins, Jeanie Green, Marlin Green], background vcls on tracks 3, 4, 7, 8; Shelter People [Claudia Lennear, Kathi McDonald, Don Preston, Joey Cooper],background vcls on tracks 1, 2, 9) (recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio & Skyhill Studios, Hollywood, Calif., produced by Don Nix) (UK edition: Elektra K 42096, 1971; French edition: Elektra 62010, 1971; reissue: Atco-East West CD AMCY-2609, 1998 JAP)

1971 US


Furry's Blues / Brownsville / I'm Black / A Chicken Ain't Nothin' but a Bird / Will the Circle Be Unbroken / Amos Burke / Mighty Time / Jesus on the Mainline / Mary Louise / Yes, I Do Understand / Opening / Living in the Country / Joa-Bim / Dixie / Heavy Makes You Happy / Iuka / Furry's Rap / Asphalt Outlaw Hero / Olena / My Father's House / Going Down
(recorded live at Long Beach Civic Auditorium, Long Beach, Calif., October 15, 1971, & at Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, Calif., October 17, 1971; personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr; Wayne Perkins, gtr; Tippy Armstrong, gtr; Clayton Ivey, pno; Ken Woodley, org; Bob Wray, bs; Tarp Tarrant, Fred Prouty, dms; the Mt. Zion Choir [Brenda Patterson, Mary "Bouce" Anderson, Carolyn "Pepper" Watkins, Marianne "Tweety" Watkins, Marlin Greene], produced by Don Nix)

1972 US

She's a Friend of Mine / The Train Don't Stop Here No More / Black Cat Moan / Rainy Night in Paris (Memphis Reject) / When I Lay My Burden Down / Sweet Sweet Surrender / We Gotta Move (Keep on Rolling) / Miss Eleana / I Need You / Look What the Years Have Done
(personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr; Pete Carr, Eddie Hinton, Larry Rasberry, Bobby Manuel, Furry Lewis, gtr; George Harrison, slide gtr;[4] Wayne Perkins, gtr, bcgr. vcls; Barry Beckett, Chris Stainton, keys; Steve Smith, keys, gtr; Tim Smith, gtr, pno; David Hood, Klaus Voormann, bs; Roger Hawkins, dms; Lon Price, sax; Jay Pruitt, strings; Jeanie Green, Claudia Lennear, bcgr.vcls; Dallas-Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra) (recorded at Apple Studio, London & Muscle Shoals Sound Studio etc., produced by Don Nix) (reissue: P-Vine PCD-5175, 1997, Japan)

1973 US


Goin' Thru Another Chance / Feel a Whole Lot Better / Gone Too Long / Backstreet Girl / Rollin' in My Dreams / Yazoo City Jail / Harpoon Arkansas Turnaround / Forgotten Town / A Demain (Until Tomorrow)
(personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr; George Harrison, sl.gtr, etc.) (recorded in France, England and the U.S., produced by Don Nix) (reissue: Demon DIAB-805, 1994 UK)

1976 US

Skyrider / Nobody Else / Maverick Woman Blues / Do It Again / Long Tall Sally / I'll Be in Your Dreams / On the Town Again / All for the Love of a Woman
(personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr, sax; Rob Kendrick, gtr, sl. gtr; Roy Halle, sl. gtr; Len Groome, keys; John Fry, acc; Ernie Chapman, bs; Darell Norris, dms; Memphis Horns; William C. Brown III Choir) (recorded at Dallasonic Studio, Tex. etc., produced by Don Nix) (reissue: Demon DIAB-805, 1994 UK)

1979 US

Goin' Thru Another Change / Feel a Whole Lot Better / Gone Too Long / Backstreet Girl / Rollin' in My Dreams / Yazoo City Jail / Harpoon Arkansas Turnaround / Forgotten Town / A Demain (Until Tomorrow) / Skyrider / Nobody Else / Maverick Woman Blues / Do It Again / Long Tall Sally / I'll Be in Your Dreams / On the Town Again / All for the Love of a Woman
(reissue of Cream CR-1001/CR-1011)

1994 UK


Goin' Down the Road to Memphis / Waiting for the Help / Plastic Flowers / Angel Tears / Easy Street / Out on the Road Again / Fools Paradise / Too Dumb / Moon Madness / Dance Chaney Dance / Cruise Control / Jerimiah Gage
(personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr, tp; Billy Crain, gtr, sl. gtr; Greg Redding, keys; Rick Steff, org, acc; Jay Spell, pno, fd; Rusty McFarland, mnd; Greg "Fingers'" Taylor, hca; David Crochan, bs; Greg Morrow, dms, perc; Memphis Horns [Jim Spake, Andrew Love, Wayne Jackson] William C. Brown III Choir) (recorded at Crosstown Recording Studio, produced by Don Nix) (reissue: Appaloosa AP 098, 1999 ITA)

1994 US

Black Cat Moan / On the Road Again / Right Where You Want Me / Same Old Blues / Lucinda / Palace of the King / Going Down / Going Back to Iuka / Like a Road Leading Home / One More Repossession / Living on the Highway / Plastic Flowers / Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven
(personnel: Don Nix, vcl; Billy Crain, Jon Tiven, gtr; Mike Duke, pno; Reese Wynans, org; David Hood, bs; Greg Morrow, dms; Dan Penn, lead vcls on tracks 4, 6, 9; Bonnie Bramlett, lead vcls on tracks 3, 4, 9; Steve Cropper, lead gtr on tracks 4, 9; Audley Freed, lead gtr on tracks 6, 7; Tony Joe White, lead gtr on tracks 8, 13; Lesllie West, lead gtr on tracks 7, 11; Bobby Manuel:gtr intro on track 4; Brian May, gtr on track 7; Billy Lee Riley, vcl on track 8, hca on track 13; John Mayall, hca on track 8; Max Middleton, pno on track 7; Bobby Whitlock, org on tracks 7, 13; Dave Smith, bs on track 3; Michael Rhodes, bs on track 9; Susan Marshall, Jackie Johnson, background.vcls on tracks 3, 5, 6, 12) (recorded at Hum Depot, Nashville, Tenn., produced by Jon Tiven & Don Nix)

2002 US

Books by Don Nix[edit]


  1. ^ "Don Nix". SecondHandSongs. 1941-09-27. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  2. ^ "Cover versions of Going Down by Moloch". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  3. ^ "NEWARK 15TH DECEMBER, PRUDENTIAL CENTER". The Rolling Stones. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  4. ^ Simon Leng, While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison, Hal Leonard (Milwaukee, Wisc.), 2006, pp 140–41.

External links[edit]