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Mack performing at Rising Sun, Indiana, in 2003
|Birth name||Lonnie McIntosh|
July 18, 1941|
West Harrison, Indiana, U.S.
|Died||April 21, 2016
Smithville, Tennessee, U.S.
|Genres||Blues rock, instrumental rock, blues, country, country-soul, southern rock, rockabilly, blue-eyed soul, bluegrass, gospel|
|Labels||Alligator, Elektra, Fraternity, Capitol, Flying V Records, Jewel, King, Ace, Epic, Sage Records, Dobbs Records|
Mack found himself in the rock music spotlight periodically but repeatedly withdrew to the comfort of near-anonymity. Although he was a low-profile performer for much of his career, his unprecedented soloing proficiency in the early 1960s "significantly raised the guitar virtuoso bar", heralding a sea change for the role of the lead guitar in rock music.
He made his mark as a pioneering rock guitar soloist in 1963, with his hit-record instrumentals, "Memphis" (Billboard R&B, #4; Billboard Pop, #5) and "Wham!" (Billboard Pop, #24). In those and other early recordings, Mack combined fast-picking country technique with soulful, bluesy feeling and form to produce an overall sound that was "savagely wild [yet] perfectly controlled". Mack's early solos prefigured the guitar-heavy blues-rock and Southern rock sub-genres and are said to have inspired and guided several generations of rock guitar superstars.
Also known for his vocals, Mack seamlessly blended the country-singing influences of his childhood with gospel, blues and soul. His blue-eyed soul and gospel-inspired recordings are highly regarded for their depth of feeling. Crediting Mack's vocals and guitar-playing alike, music critic Jimmy Guterman ranked Mack's 1963 debut album, The Wham of that Memphis Man, No. 16 in his book The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time.
- 1 Career summary
- 2 1941–1953: Childhood and early musical influences
- 3 1954–1962: Early career
- 4 1963: "Memphis" and "Wham!"
- 5 Mack's guitar and gear
- 6 Mack's guitar style and technique
- 7 Mack as a singer
- 8 1963: The Wham of that Memphis Man
- 9 Historical context and significance of Mack's solos
- 10 Mack's influence on the evolution of rock guitar
- 11 1964–1968: Transition period
- 12 1968–1971: California years
- 13 1971–1984: Withdrawal to the country
- 14 1984–1989: Rock comeback
- 15 1990–2016: Late career, retirement and death
- 16 Discography
- 17 Career recognition and awards
- 18 See also
- 19 References
- 20 External links
Mack began performing professionally in the mid-1950s, while still an Indiana farm-boy in his early teens. Between 1963 and 1990, he released thirteen original albums. His recordings drew from black and white American roots music genres, including blues, country, bluegrass, rockabilly, R&B, soul, country-gospel, and traditional black gospel. Writing for Rolling Stone, Alec Dubro said, "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."
He enjoyed his initial success as a recording artist in the 1960s. Early in that period, he worked as a session guitarist with Fraternity Records, a small label in Cincinnati. In 1963, he recorded two hit records for Fraternity, the proto-blues-rock guitar instrumentals "Memphis" and "Wham!" Later that year, he recorded additional tunes (both instrumentals and vocals) to flesh out his debut album, The Wham of that Memphis Man. Mack produced some notable recordings later in his career, but his early recordings for Fraternity ultimately formed the centerpiece of his musical legacy.
Seeking to capitalize on his initial momentum, he recorded several additional batches of tunes for Fraternity in 1964 and 1965. However, their distribution was limited by Fraternity's precarious-and-fading financial condition and their sales potential was further undermined by the sudden, game-changing popularity of The Beatles-led British Invasion that had begun in late 1963, only to intensify by leaps and bounds thereafter. In the mid-1960s, with his career in a slump, Mack turned to R&B session work (mostly for other labels), playing guitar on recordings by James Brown, Freddie King, Joe Simon (musician) and others. During the same period, he was the proprietor of a nightclub in Covington, Kentucky.
His career caught fire again in late 1968, when the newly founded Rolling Stone magazine published a retrospective review of his five-year-old Fraternity recordings, extolling his talents as a gospel singer and rock guitar virtuoso. He soon moved to Los Angeles to execute a three-album contract with Elektra Records. While contracted to Elektra, he performed in major rock venues, including the Fillmore East, the Fillmore West and the Cow Palace, where he opened for The Doors and Crosby, Stills & Nash and shared the stage with Johnny Winter, Elvin Bishop and other popular rock and blues artists of the time.
However, it was the "hippie" era, and Mack's "Kentucky truck-driver" persona was an uncomfortable fit with commercial rock's target demographic. Likewise, his rustic sensibilities were unsuited to urban living, stardom, LA's psychedelic music scene, and major-label corporate politics. Unhappy and disillusioned after three years in the commercial rock spotlight, Mack relocated to Nashville in 1971 to record his final (and mostly country) Elektra album, then returned to his birthplace in rural southeast Indiana. There, for the next twelve years, he assumed several low-profile roles: unheralded country recording artist, multi-genre roadhouse performer, sideman, session musician and rural music park proprietor.
In 1983, Mack relocated to Austin, Texas, home of his friend and blues-rock guitar disciple Stevie Ray Vaughan. In 1985, with Vaughan's help and encouragement, he re-emerged as a rock artist with his indie comeback album, Strike Like Lightning, a promotional tour featuring guest appearances by Vaughan, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Ry Cooder, and a Carnegie Hall concert with Albert Collins and Roy Buchanan. Over the next four years, he released three more albums, including his recording career epilog, "Lonnie Mack Live – Attack of the Killer V!" (Alligator, 1990). Thereafter, Mack retired from recording but continued to intermittently tour the one-night-stand roadhouse and music festival circuits at home and abroad. In 2004, he retired from performing, except for a handful of one-off events over the next six years.
1941–1953: Childhood and early musical influences
In early 1941, when the coal mines closed, Mack's family (Mack's mother was pregnant with him at the time) left Owsley County, Kentucky for brighter prospects as tenant farmers in Dearborn County, Indiana. One of five children, he was born to parents Robert and Sarah Sizemore McIntosh on July 18, 1941, in West Harrison, Indiana.
He was raised nearby on sharecropping farms along the Ohio River. Although his childhood homes had no electricity, the family used a primitive radio powered by a truck battery to listen to "The Grand Ole Opry" country music show. Continuing to listen after the rest of the family had retired for the night, young Mack became a fan of R&B and traditional black gospel music.
He began playing guitar at the age of seven, after trading his bicycle for a "Lone Ranger" model acoustic guitar. His mother, Sarah, was his earliest guitar and country-singing influence. An uncle showed him how to merge a fast-picking Merle Travis country sound with traditional blues-picking styles. Mack's earliest performances were a family affair:
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 and Hank Williams kinda music.— Lonnie Mack, 2005
While still a pre-teen, he performed for tips at a railroad switch-yard and as a sidewalk busker outside the Nieman Hotel in Aurora, Indiana. Ralph Trotto, a local country-gospel singer, became a mentor to the youngster.
As a teenager, his playing was further influenced by pioneering pop/jazz electric guitarist Les Paul and electric blues guitarist T-Bone Walker. At the same time, he was absorbing the vocal influences of R&B artists Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles, Bobby "Blue" Bland, and Hank Ballard, country singer George Jones, country-gospel singer Martha Carson and traditional black gospel singer Archie Brownlee. As an adult, he recorded tunes associated with each of these artists.
1954–1962: Early career
Mack dropped out of school in 1954, at the age of thirteen, after a fight with a teacher. Large and mature-looking for his age, he obtained a fake ID and began performing in roadhouses in the musically diverse Cincinnati area, sometimes with his older brother, Alvin. Still using his family surname, McIntosh, he became the guitarist in a band called "The Classics". They had recurring engagements at the Hideaway Lounge in Hamilton, Ohio. "He was too young to drive, so Don Garland, the keyboard player, used to pick him up to play."
He had his own band before he turned fifteen. They performed regularly in the Tri-State Area around Cincinnati, playing rockabilly and R&B-tinged rock and roll. When he was sixteen, Mack and his sidemen became the house band at The Twilight Inn in McGonigal, Ohio. The venue's business-savvy owner named them "The Twilighters" and suggested that young McIntosh take the shortened stage-name, "Lonnie Mack".
He played guitar on three low-circulation singles in the late 1950s. In 1958, Mack and The Twilighters recorded a cover of Al Dexter's 1944 western swing hit, "Pistol Packin' Mama". In 1959, he was a session guitarist on two singles of "The Logan Valley Boys", a bluegrass band featuring his older cousins, Aubrey Holt and Harley Gabbard. One was a bluegrass tune by The Stanley Brothers entitled "Too Late to Cry"; the other, "Hey, Baby", was an original Holt-Gabbard rockabilly tune with close-harmony bluegrass vocals. "Pistol-Packin' Mama" and "Too Late to Cry" have been unavailable for decades. However, "Hey, Baby" was reissued by Bear Family Records in 2010. On it, seventeen-year-old Mack can be heard providing a Travis-picking guitar accompaniment, punctuated by a brief rockabilly solo.
In the early 1960s, Mack and his band ("Twilighters" had been dropped at some point) often worked as session players for Fraternity, a small record label in Cincinnati that rented the studios of King Records for its recording sessions. There, he played guitar on a number of singles by local R&B artists, including Max Falcon, Beau Dollar and the Coins, Denzil "Dumpy" Rice (who often played keyboards in Mack's band), and Cincinnati's leading female R&B trio, The Charmaines.
1963: "Memphis" and "Wham!"
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 recorded a jaunty rockabilly/blues guitar take-off on Chuck Berry's 1959 UK vocal hit, "Memphis, Tennessee". He had improvised the guitar solo in a live performance a few years earlier, when the band-member who always sang the tune missed a club date. Mack's instrumental homage to the Berry tune was so well-received that he adopted it as part of his live act. He shortened the title to "Memphis".
As recorded in 1963, "Memphis" featured a then-unique combination of several key elements, including seven distinct sections and an unusually fast twelve-bar blues solo, augmented by an aggressive rock drum-beat. "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". Interviewed in 2011, the recording engineer on "Memphis", Chuck Seitz, recalled that it took ten minutes to "set up" and less than ten minutes to record the tune twice.
By the time "Memphis" was first broadcast, in the spring of 1963, Mack was touring with Troy Seals. "I cut 'Memphis' and left the next week. While we was on the road, 'Memphis' became a hit. We were playing the Peppermint Lounge in Miami, and some people came down from Hamilton (Ohio) and said, 'That's all we been hearing (on the car radio) all the way down here.'" "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. According to The Book of Golden Discs, the track sold over one million copies. The popularity of "Memphis" quickly led to bookings at larger venues, tours in the UK and performances with Chuck Berry. Still in 1963, Mack released "Wham!", a gospel-inspired guitar rave-up that reached No. 24 on Billboard's Pop chart in September. He soon recorded  several more rock-guitar solos in the same unique style, including his own frenzied showpiece, "Chicken Pickin'" and an instrumental version of Dale Hawkins's "Suzie Q".
According to musicologist Richard T. Pinnell, Ph.D., Mack's upbeat, fast-paced take on electric blues-guitar in "Memphis" was unprecedented in the history of rock guitar soloing 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". Today, Mack is widely considered rock's first genuine "guitar hero" and many consider "Memphis" and "Wham!" to be the earliest genuine hit recordings of the virtuoso blues-rock guitar genre.
Mack's guitar and gear
In the mid-1950s, Mack experimented with the Fender Telecaster and Fender Stratocaster, before settling on the Gibson Les Paul guitar. In 1958, at age seventeen, he bought the seventh (serial number "007") Gibson Flying V guitar from that model's low-volume first-year production run. Dubbing his guitar "Number 7", he used it almost exclusively for the rest of his career. The instrument appealed to him for a number of reasons. "Mack marveled at the arrow-like shape—a figure that literally aimed toward the future—and admired the pair of humbuckers on the V’s face." In addition, it sounded like his Les Paul, while its distinct, arrow-like shape also served as a symbol of pride in his Native American ancestry. He equipped Number 7 with a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece mounted on a steel bracket spanning the wings of the Flying V's body. He always used the heaviest guitar strings available, usually Gibson E340s.
On most of his early guitar solos, he employed the distortion technique of R&B guitarist Robert Ward, using a 1950s-era, tube-fired Magnatone 460 amplifier to produce a distinctive, "watery" vibrato tone from his guitar. Later, he used a Magnatone 440, running it through a Fender Twin. Later still, for larger venues, he plugged Number 7 into an electric organ amplifier to enhance his vibrato with a "rotating, fluttery sound".
Mack became closely identified with the Flying V model. Gibson produced a limited-edition Lonnie Mack Signature Edition Flying V in 1993. As there had been many variations and production-runs of the Flying V over the preceding thirty-five years, Gibson examined the unmodified details of Number 7 carefully to assure authenticity of the Mack Signature Edition. To Gibson's surprise, "the pickups were found to have extra windings, which adds tonal beef." In 2010, Number 7 was featured in Star Guitars – 101 Guitars that Rocked the World. In 2011, it was featured in The Guitar Collection, a $1,500, two-volume set, that included a detailed essay and lush photo layout for each of history's 150 most "elite" and "exceptional" guitars. In 2012, it was included in Rolling Stone's list of "20 Iconic Guitars".
Mack's guitar style and technique
While Mack's rock-guitar style was firmly rooted in the blues and R&B, he routinely drew from "fingerstyle", "chicken picking" and other fast-paced elements of traditional country and bluegrass guitar. Mack's particular mix of these disparate styles and techniques (all set to a jaunty rock beat), combined with the aforementioned "watery", Magnatone-driven vibrato, imparted a uniquely fluid sound to his early instrumentals, moving a reviewer of his first album to remark upon the "peculiar 'running' quality" of his fast-but-bluesy solos. These features of Mack's recordings distinguished him from more traditional, genre-bound blues guitarists, as well as many of the blues-rock soloists who rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 1960s.
Uniquely in early-'60s rock, he seamlessly transitioned from blistering single-string leads to complex rhythm guitar and back again within single tunes, prompting the observation that, to the modern listener, 1963's "Wham!" conjures images of "Stevie Ray Vaughan playing lead guitar for the early E Street Band". Mack's pioneering use of lightning-fast runs prefigured the virtuoso blues-rock lead guitar style that dominated rock by the late 1960s.
He used his Bigsby vibrato tailpiece on "Wham!" (and many other recordings) to produce 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. He was singularly proficient with it. Guitarists typically toggle the pitch-bending device with the picking hand immediately after picking out a run, while sustaining the last note or chord. Mack, however, customarily cradled it in the fourth finger of his picking hand, toggling it while continuing to pick and occasionally fanning it rapidly to the tempo of his simultaneous tremolo picking, to produce a machine-gunned, single-note, "shuddering" sound.
Mack as a singer
While Mack's first recording successes were instrumentals, his live performances typically included vocals as well, and in 1963 he recorded a number of tunes featuring his singing talents. In 1968, after extolling Mack's talent as a guitarist, Rolling Stone said, "But 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 music critic:
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.— Bill Millar, 1983 essay "Blue-Eyed Soul: Colour Me Soul"
His singing style was variously described as "country-esque blues"  and the "impassioned vocal style of a white Hoosier with a touch of Memphis soul". Mack's own composition,"Why?" (1963), is an early example. Later examples include a rendition of T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday" (1983), Mack's own deep soul ballad, "Stop" (1985), and a live, gospel-drenched version of Wilson Pickett's "I Found a Love" (1990).
When his first vocal recordings were released in 1963, Mack's gospel-inspired version of the soul ballad "Where There's a Will" was played on R&B radio stations throughout the Deep South. Soon, he was invited to give a live radio interview with a prominent R&B disc jockey in racially polarized Birmingham, Alabama. Mack said 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.
He recalled that this incident marked a precipitous drop in the airplay time devoted to his vocal recordings on R&B radio stations. Fraternity reacted by delaying release of his deep soul ballad (the term "deep soul ballad" was coined by Dave Godin, to mean a blues style that projects deep and profound emotions), "Why?" (recorded in 1963), as a single, until 1968, and then only as the "B" side of a re-release of "Memphis". "Why?" received scant notice and never charted, but was eventually recognized as a "lost masterpiece of rock 'n' roll". In 2009, music critic Greil Marcus called "Why?" a "soul ballad so torturous, so classically structured, that it can uncover wounds of your own. Mack's scream at the end has never been matched. God help us if anyone ever tops it".
Mack took a break from blues-based material during the 1970s, recording mostly country, bluegrass and rockabilly vocals. However, he resumed his prior emphasis on blues-based material in the 1980s, and continued it through the balance of his career.
1963: The Wham of that Memphis Man
Still in 1963, two or three months after the release of "Memphis", Mack returned to the studio to cut additional recordings, including instrumentals, vocals, and ensemble tunes. In October, 1963 Fraternity packaged several of these along with "Memphis", "Wham!", "Where There's a Will" and "Why?" 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 traditional 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/gospel backup chorus on several cuts. In The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time, Jimmy Guterman ranked the 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 was 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 a challenge encountered by many, but Mack faced yet another: As observed by music critic John Morthland, "[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". He drifted back into relative obscurity until the late 1960s.
However, most of Mack's Fraternity recordings are not found on the album. Fraternity released a few additional Mack singles during the 1960s, but none charted, and Fraternity never issued another album. Many 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.
Historical context and significance of Mack's solos
Before Mack, rock guitarists were typically accompanists, providing intros, fills, riffs, bridges and chord progressions in an overall structure supportive of the vocal. In addition, there had been some iconic pre-Mack rock guitar solos from The Ventures, Dick Dale, James Burton, Duane Eddy, The Virtues, Link Wray and others. However, what they mostly lacked—and what Mack's solos introduced—were some key attributes of virtuosity, i.e., single-string speed, melodic complexity, improvisational skill and advanced technique. Such virtuosity soon became the essence of the guitar "revolution" of the 1960s. By the end of that decade, the extended lead guitar solo had become a cornerstone of the typical rock tune, equal in importance to the lead vocal. Recognizing Mack's leading role in this process seventeen years after "Memphis", the editors of Guitar World magazine ranked it the premier "landmark" rock guitar recording to date, immediately ahead of four full albums featuring renowned soloists Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton.
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
Listen to the original 'Wham!' and 'Suzie Q' for the definitive touch, tone, lyricism and soulful musical attitude. Lonnie figured out before anybody else just how to project the right notes and the ultimate sound that penetrated deep into our sensual souls.— Ted Nugent, March 7, 2012 interview
Mack considered himself 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."
Mack's influence on the evolution of rock guitar
Mack has been called a "guitar hero's guitar hero". Stylistically novel and technically advanced, Mack's early solos represented a quantum leap in musicianship that served as a challenge to other rock guitarists. In Skydog: The Duane Allman Story, guitarist Mike Johnstone recalled the impact of Mack's solos on 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.'"
According to much commentary, Mack's ground-breaking solos inspired a virtual "Who's Who" of superstar rock guitarists who rose to prominence beginning in mid-late 1960s and over the several decades following. Guitarists who have specifically called out Mack as a major influence include: Stevie Ray Vaughan (blues, blues-rock), Jeff Beck (blues-rock, jazz-rock), Dickey Betts, Warren Haynes and Dan Toler (southern rock), Ray Benson (western swing), Bootsy Collins (funk, soul), Adrian Belew (progressive rock), Ted Nugent (hard rock), and Tyler Morris (multi-genre).
Mack was proud of his influence on the development of rock guitar. "It's a great honor to be able to [inspire other artists]. What you do in this business, your whole thing is givin' stuff away. But that makes you feel good, makes you feel like you've really done something."
1964–1968: Transition period
In the mid-1960s, the American public's musical tastes shifted radically due to the initial, "pop" phase of the "British Invasion". However, at the same time, 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 white and integrated 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 highly proficient rock guitar soloists emerged, including Mike Bloomfield, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Peter Green and Mick Taylor, all of whom were, or soon became, frontmen for blues-based rock bands. The late 1960s witnessed the appearance of many such bands, which typically showcased the virtuosity of their lead guitarists. These included the Mick Taylor-era Rolling Stones as well as the enormously successful "power trios": Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. By then, blues-rock was recognized as a distinct and powerful force within rock music on both sides of the Atlantic.
Eventually, in 1968, this sequence of events led to the rediscovery of Mack's proto-blues-rock guitar solos, "Memphis", "Wham!", "Chicken-Pickin'" and "Susie Q". Meanwhile, however, Mack was left to deal with a pair of setbacks that combined to sideline his solo career for five years. Fraternity, which had never been more than a small regional label, struggled to survive during the mid-1960s. It was ultimately sold to a new owner for $25,000, but never recovered. In addition, the appeal of Mack's music suffered considerably due the sudden and radical change in popular music tastes wrought by The Beatles-led British Invasion. Fraternity released a handful of the many Mack tunes it had recorded earlier, but none received significant air-play.
His newly acquired fan base having abruptly abandoned him, and stuck with a record label that lacked the resources to promote him, Mack soon turned to R&B session work with larger, more successful record labels. At Cincinnati's premier record label, Syd Nathan's King Records, he played second guitar on four recordings by blues singer-guitarist Freddie King, and lead guitar on some recordings by "The Godfather of Soul", James Brown. The uncredited guitar solo on Brown's 1967 instrumental hit, "Stone Fox", has been attributed to both Mack and Troy Seals. During the same period, he 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. Like most contemporary releases of the financially distressed Fraternity label, Washington's recordings attracted only modest attention at home. However, one featuring Mack's guitar ("Turn On The Bright Lights"), stayed on the pop charts in Japan for several consecutive years and all were later reissued in the UK.
Mack operated a nightclub in Covington, Kentucky during this period. He played there regularly, but also served as the club's bouncer, once ending a fight between partrons by hitting them both with his guitar.
1968–1971: California years
In 1968, with the blues-rock and guitar-soloing movements approaching full force, Mack was re-discovered and signed by Elektra Records. He relocated to Los Angeles to record new material for them. Shortly before the release of his first Elektra album, a retrospective review of Mack's old Fraternity recordings 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 five-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 recordings from the early 1960s to the best of Eric Clapton's later recordings.
Mack recorded three new albums for Elektra, Glad I'm in the Band (1969), Whatever's Right (1969) and The Hills of Indiana (1971). In the aggregate, they represented a marked departure from the strengths and stylistic formula of Mack's Fraternity recordings. Essentially, they were eclectic collections of country and soul ballads, blues tunes, and updated versions of earlier recordings. Both 1969 albums emphasized Mack's vocals and de-emphasized his guitar work. Only two instrumentals appear on them, i.e., a full-length blues-guitar piece on Glad entitled "Mt. Healthy Blues", and a re-make of "Memphis". While Mack's Fraternity recordings had been known for seamlessly blending distinct genres within individual tunes, his 1969 Elektra albums emphasized the distinctness of the genres. On Whatever's Right, Mack sang Willie Dixon's "My Babe" in a contemporary soul style. Within seconds of the closing measure, he shifted stylistic gears and began his vocal on "Things Have Gone to Pieces", a country tune previously recorded by George Jones. He repeated the pattern of contrasts in Glad by performing a soul tune, "Too Much Trouble", and a country tune, "Old House", back-to-back.
Despite the shifts in style, emphasis and general approach, Mack's recording output from this period was well received by music critics. A contemporary assessment of Glad opined:
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, it's the solidest. – Rolling Stone, May 3, 1969, p. 28.
During this period, he regularly played major rock venues, including the Fillmore East and Fillmore West. However, he stuck with his old roadhouse-sized sound equipment, sometimes with surprising results. Elektra producer/recording engineer Bruce Botnick recalled:
We saw him on a bill at Winterland with Johnny Winter, and Fender had populated the stage with Fender Twins and a wall of amplifiers for Winter. It was beyond loud. Then, out comes Lonnie Mack with his one-foot square amp and [his band-mates all plugged-in to] midget amps. Everyone crowded up to the stage. The Mack sound was pure and better-integrated – it was fantastic. Johnny Winter just scratched his head in awe.— Houghton, Becoming Elektra, 1st Ed., 2010, Jawbone Press, p. 245
In addition to his solo dates during this period, he toured with Elektra label-mates The Doors and played bass guitar on their album Morrison Hotel. The Doors' John Densmore recalled:
Lonnie sat down in front of the paisley baffles that soak up the sound. A hefty guy with a pencil-thin beard, he had on a wide-brimmed hat that had become his trademark. Lonnie Mack epitomized the blues; he was bad. 'I'll sing the lyrics for you', Jim Morrison offered meekly. Jim was unusually shy. We all were, because to us, the guitar player we had asked to sit in with us was a living legend.— Densmore, Riders on the Storm, Dell, 1990, p. 235
While in the studio for Morrison Hotel, The Doors recorded an instrumental entitled "Blues for Lonnie". It was released many years later as a recording session out-take.
Upon completing his 1969 albums, Mack assumed a "Chet Atkins-Eric Clapton role at Elektra, doing studio dates, producing and A&R." In that role, he helped to recruit a number of country and blues artists from Nashville, Memphis, and Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Elektra considered the launch of a specialty label to record them. Mack was instrumental in signing Mickey Newbury, but could not generate much interest in some other prospects, including Roberta Flack. He then tried to sign Carole King, but Elektra rejected her on the grounds that they already had Judy Collins.
Frustrated, he finally attempted to interest Elektra in gospel singer Dorothy Combs Morrison, the former lead vocalist for the Edwin Hawkins Singers of "Oh Happy Day" fame. Mack had recorded Morrison singing a gospel-esque version of The Beatles' "Let It Be", and sought permission to release it; management's response was delayed, however, due to ongoing negotiations for the label's sale to Warner Brothers, allowing a competing label to seize the initiative and release Aretha Franklin's own gospel version first. "That bummed me out", Mack said. According to a close associate, Mack "had no tolerance for the internal politics of the music business". He resigned from his A&R job.
By that point, Elektra had put together a musical whistle-stop touring group, including Mack and Don Nix, 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 found him 2000 miles from Los Angeles, ensconced at a rustic farm in Kentucky, and implored 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 warning him to "flee from Mount Zion". Miller, a former evangelist preacher, knew Mack's mind. He returned to California alone, stating later: "[Lonnie's] a real country boy. [T]hat was it for Lonnie". Mack was replaced by veteran bluesman Furry Lewis.
1971–1984: Withdrawal to the country
With California in his rear-view mirror, Mack moved to Nashville to record his final Elektra album, The Hills of Indiana (1971). Foreshadowing the next phase of his career, it completed Mack's shift of focus away from high-octane R&B and blues-rock, towards the pastoral, country end of the musical spectrum. "Asphalt Outlaw Hero", a Southern rock tune with a blistering guitar solo, came closest to the style of Mack's classic recordings from the early 1960s; otherwise, Hills was a collection of relatively laid-back, country-flavored tunes with an overlay of compatible stylistic elements drawn from the overall sound of The Band and the contemporary singer-songwriter movement. While recording the album in Nashville, Mack and his family lived in a converted school bus that he parked in the studio's parking lot. He cut a hole in the roof to vent a wood-burning stove. "He was a mountain man", said the studio's owner. "He was just a really funky guy. He didn’t have any airs about him, just plain old funky."
The Hills of Indiana attracted little attention. His contract with Elektra fulfilled, Mack began a lengthy period in which he adopted the roles of low-profile country recording artist, multi-genre roadhouse performer, sideman, session musician and rural music park proprietor. His recordings during this period display only rare glimpses of his celebrated guitar virtuosity. Over the next decade-and-a-half, he slipped back into a state of relative anonymity.
Mack addressed his withdrawal from the rock spotlight in a 1977 interview:
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.— Lonnie Mack, 1977
The lyrics of his songs provided further insight. In one song, he equated the pursuit of "fortune and fame" with selling one's soul to Satan, allowing the "body to live while your soul is left to rot". In other songs, he expressed love for country living and distaste for city living. Mack also felt out-of-phase with LA's psychedelic music scene. Interviewed in 1998, Mack said: "They was mostly into just really out-there kinda music, ripped-out-of-their-tree music".
Like country living, country music was both a passion and a refuge for Mack. In his late-1960s heyday as a rock performer, he was fond of organizing after-hours country jam sessions with other rock performers. He recalled one such session in which he and Janis Joplin sang a duet on a George Jones song, "Things Have Gone To Pieces", accompanied by Jimi Hendrix on electric guitar and Jerry Garcia on pedal steel.
In 1975, Mack was shot during an altercation with an off-duty police officer. He memorialized the incident in one of his better-known late-career tunes, "Cincinnati Jail". According to the lyrics, the officer's unmarked car narrowly missed Mack while he was walking across a city street. As it brushed past him, 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 Mack in jail with his "leg still full of lead". Later, in an interview, Mack contended that the off-duty officer was drunk, but allowed that he, Mack, was wielding a machete at the time, and might have slashed the officer's passing car with it to protest the officer's reckless driving. He said that despite the song's reference to being shot in the leg, he was actually shot "in the ass", that the bullet had passed all the way through him and that "another inch and a half and I would have been singing soprano". Mack recovered, but for the next several years he kept a low profile, performing mostly at his "Friendship Music Park" in rural southern Indiana (a venue he provided for bluegrass and traditional country artists) except for a 1977 "Save the Whales" benefit concert in Japan.
In 1979, Mack began working on an independent country album entitled "South" with a friend, producer-songwriter Ed Labunski, author of the "This Bud's For You" beer-advertising campaign. However, Labunski was killed in an auto accident mid-project, and demos from the project were shelved for twenty years. 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 rock comeback a few years later.
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. However, he had not been forgotten entirely, as demonstrated by an article entitled "Won't You Come Back, Lonnie Mack?" in the May, 1981 issue of Guitar World magazine.
1983 produced the album Live at Coco's, from a Kentucky roadhouse performance. Originally a bootleg recording, it was not released commercially until 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 that appear on no other album (e.g., "Stormy Monday", "The Things I Used to Do" and "Man from Bowling Green") and tunes that 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").
1984–1989: Rock comeback
Mack relocated to Spicewood, Texas about 1983 and began playing regularly at Texas roadhouses. He entered into a professional collaboration with local guitar phenom Stevie Ray Vaughan, who was soon to become 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, Jimmie Vaughan, went to hear him play at a local bar. Vaughan recalled the meeting:
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, 1985
Mack and Vaughan became close friends. 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 considered Mack "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 Mack's house.
Vaughan called Mack "the baddest guitar player I know" and credited Mack with "[teaching] me to play guitar from the heart". Vaughan's musical legacy includes four versions of "Wham!", i.e., two solo versions and two dueling-guitar versions with Mack. He also recorded Mack's "If You Have to Know" and "Scuttle-Buttin"", an instrumental homage to Mack's frenzied 1964 guitar showcase, "Chicken-Pickin".
Mack signed with Alligator Records in 1984, and, upon recovering from his illness, began working on his rock comeback album, Strike Like Lightning. It became one of the top-selling independent recordings of 1985. Mack and Vaughan co-produced the album. It featured Mack's vocals and driving guitar equally. Mack himself composed most of the tunes. 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" and they sang a duet on Mack's "If You Have to Know".
Strike propelled Mack back into the spotlight at age 44. Much of 1985 found him occupied with a promotional concert tour for Strike that included guest appearances by Vaughan and Ry Cooder, as well as 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. There, he shared the stage with blues-guitar stylist Albert Collins and multi-genre guitar virtuoso Roy Buchanan. The concert was marketed on home video.
In 1986, Mack recorded another Alligator album, Second Sight, featuring 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 1989, Mack performed on Saturday Night Live, as the guest of the SNL house band's guitarist.
In 1989, he returned to Alligator to record a live blues-rock album, Lonnie Mack Live – 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!" Attack was his final album as a featured artist. Mack said he turned down subsequent record deals because the touring schedules required by record companies had become too grueling for a man of his age.
1990–2016: Late career, retirement and death
During the 1990s, he continued to tour the US and Europe, performing in small venues and at music festivals and recorded acoustic blues and southern rock instructional videos for Arlen Roth's Hot Licks video label. In 2000, he appeared as a guest artist on the album Franktown Blues, by the sons of blues legend Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, contributing guitar solos on two songs. That same year, he appeared as songwriter and guitarist on the country-rock album of a friend, Jack Holland, entitled "The Pressure's All Mine".
I don’t miss the road part of it so much, because I’m sorta burnt out on all the traveling, but I miss the stage. I miss the performing and making people happy. I ain’t got no regrets, but at the same time, it ain’t something that I would recommend to a young kid right now like I used to, because you have no control of anything anymore. The only way you can make any money is to do what everybody's tellin’ me I need to do: Go back out and tour and get the money at the door. That's the only sure money there is. I mean, you’d better love it. I mean, dag-gone! Why I got into it in the first place wasn’t about the money. I got into it because I loved it.— Lonnie Mack, 2007
On November 15, 2008, he was a featured performer at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's thirteenth annual Music Masters Tribute Concert, soloing on "Wham!" in a 93rd birthday salute to the concert's honoree, electric-guitar pioneer Les Paul.
In April, 2009, 46 years after "Memphis" and "Wham!", he spontaneously took the stage at a backwoods Tennessee roadhouse. According to the house band's lead guitarist, Mack "proceeded to officially tear the roof off the place" with the former's guitar:
He peeled the paint off the walls with my rig. His (my?) guitar was smoking. Sounded like the breathing of a very large, wild animal. His band leading skills were also awesome. Lots of pointing at people to change dynamics and cue solos. He owned the stage...Crowd went nuts, people were taking pics with their camera phones. People were screaming, everybody started dancing, it was great. He cut my other lead player's head clean off. Bottom line – His playing is still awesome. Tone is very much in the fingers. He made my rig absolutely come alive in ways I've never heard. I'm a VHS player and he's a freakin' blu-ray.
Mack was scheduled to close out the Clearwater (Florida) Blues Festival on February 21, 2010, but had to cancel because he was unable to assemble a band in time, and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers took his place. On June 5–6, 2010, he played at an invitation-only reunion concert with the surviving members of his original band. It was his final public performance.
In 2011, he was working on a memoir and engaged in a songwriting collaboration with the award-winning country and blues tunesmith Bobby Boyd. Also in 2011, he released several kitchen-table recordings on his website, including "The Times Ain't Right" and "You Need a Little Help".
In 2012, guitarist Travis Wammack asked Mack to join him on a tour to be billed as the "Double Mack Attack". Mack declined, stating that he "wasn't in good shape", adding that he was no longer able to stand while playing and that the angular shape of Number 7 precluded him from playing it while sitting.
Mack died at age 74 on April 21, 2016, at a country hospital in middle Tennessee. Officially, his death was attributed to "natural causes". However, Bruce Iglauer, the founder of Alligator Records, suggested that decades of hard living had finally taken their toll:
Lonnie lived the early rock and roll life, driving a Cadillac pulling a trailer for thousands of miles from gig to gig, staying up all night on amphetamines and cutting the buzz with lots of alcohol. It was a hard life, and his body paid for it as the years went by.
Mack had often told friends of a lifelong recurring dream, set near his childhood homes, in which his body "flew effortlessly across the Ohio River." He was laid to rest on a hillside overlooking the river, near the scenes of his youth, in Aurora, Indiana.
- 1963: 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, with Rusty York
- 1977: Home at Last
- 1978: Lonnie Mack with Pismo
- 1980: South, released 1999
- 1983: Live at Coco's, released 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|
|1992||Mack's first album ranked #16 in music critic Jimmy Guterman's book, The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time.|
|1993||Gibson Guitar Corporation issued a limited-run "Lonnie Mack Signature Edition" of "Number 7", Lonnie Mack's iconic 1958 "Flying V" guitar|
|1998||Lifetime Achievement "Cammy" ("Cammy" is the nickname for the Cincinnati Enquirer Pop Music Award, which is presented annually to musicians identified with the tri-State area of Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana)|
|2001||Inducted into the Southeastern Indiana Musician's Association Hall of Fame|
|2001||Inducted into the International Guitar Hall of Fame|
|2002||Second "Lifetime Achievement" Cammy|
|2005||Inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame|
|2006||Inducted into The Southern Legends Entertainment & Performing Arts Hall of Fame|
|2011||Mack's "Number 7" was judged among the world's 150 "most elite guitars"|
- These periods coincided with his Elektra contract (1968–71) and the release of his most successful records (1963 and 1985).
- (1)(a) At age 29, after a three-year period of great acclaim and broad public exposure as a rock artist, Mack redefined himself as a low-profile country artist for the next 14 years. See section 13 of this article. (b) At age 48, after a resurgent five-year period of rock notoriety (1985–1989: four successful albums, a Carnegie Hall concert and guest appearances by The Rolling Stones and Stevie Ray Vaughan), he abruptly retired from recording and spent the rest of his career (another 14 years) as a one-night-stand roadhouse performer. See section 15 of this article. (c) Mack himself said: "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." Peter Guralnick, Pickers, "Lonnie Mack: Fiery Picker Goes Country", 1977, pp. 16–18. (2)(a) Music historian Dick Shurman said: "His temperament wasn’t suited to stardom. I think he’d rather have been hunting and fishing. He didn’t like cities or the business." McCardle, "Lonnie Mack, Guitarist and Singer Who Influenced Blues and Rock Acts, Dies at 74", Washington Post, April 25, 2016, at https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/lonnie-mack-guitarist-and-singer-who-influenced-blues-and-rock-acts-dies-at-74/2016/04/25/5c581f3c-0a44-11e6-bfa1-4efa856caf2a_story.html. (b) Mack's friend, Progressive rock guitarist Adrian Belew of King Crimson said: "Lonnie was a good-hearted country boy who would rather go fishing than be a star." (Munro, "Ex King Crimson Man Belew Pays Tribute to Lonnie Mack", April 29, 2016, at http://teamrock.com/news/2016-04-29/ex-king-crimson-man-belew-pays-tribute-to-lonnie-mack). (c) Another commentator said: "He remained a cult figure, in part because of his distaste for the music business.": Grimes, "Lonnie Mack, Singer and Guitarist Who Pioneered Blues-Rock, Dies at 74", New York Times, April 22, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/23/arts/music/lonnie-mack-singer-and-guitarist-who-pioneered-blues-rockdies-at-74.html?_r=0.
- Mack was a "cult figure" to his fans (Grimes, "Lonnie Mack, Singer and Guitarist Who Pioneered Blues-Rock, Dies at 74", New York Times, April 22, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/23/arts/music/lonnie-mack-singer-and-guitarist-who-pioneered-blues-rockdies-at-74.html?_r=0) but was..."largely unknown to mainstream audiences...". (Kreps, "Lonnie Mack, Blues-Rock Guitar Great, Dead at 74". RollingStone.com. April 23, 2016, at https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/lonnie-mack-blues-rock-guitar-great-dead-at-74-20160423).
- "[H]is playing was faster, louder, more aggressive than anything people were used to hearing....[M]uch of rock music might not have been the same – without his innovative way of treating the electric guitar as a lead soloing instrument in rock – edgy, aggressive, loud and fast." Reiser, "Lonnie Mack: Remembering His Trailblazing Blues-Rock Guitar Virtuosity", Website:"Keeping the Blues Alive", April 29, 2016, at https://keepingthebluesalive.org/lonnie-mack-remembering-his-trailblazing-blues-rock-guitar-virtuosity/
- (1) Guitar World, January 13, 2012, as preserved at http://www.guitarworld.com/talkin-blues-lonnie-mack-and-birth-blues-rock; (2) Guitarist Mike Johnstone recalled the stir caused by Mack's "Memphis" in 1963: "[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.'" (Poe, Skydog: The Duane Allman Story, Backbeat, 2006, at p. 10).
- (1) Mack's ground-breaking solos were the immediate precursors to the explosion of rock guitar virtuosity in the mid-late 1960s (with such lead guitarists as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Mike Bloomfield). As such, Mack's early-'60s solos are widely considered the spear-tip of "modern" rock guitar. See, e.g., (a) Kot, "He Wrote The Book", Chicago Tribune online, December 13, 1989 ("Lonnie Mack launched the modern guitar era 26 years ago.", at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-12-13/features/8903170595_1_doors-morrison-hotel-memphis-man-lonnie-mack) and (b) Vinson, "Don't Procrastinate – Be Rock Solid", MurfreesboroPost.com, February 6, 2010, at http://www.murfreesboropost.com/archive/2010/06/06, calling Mack "the father of Modern Guitar". (2) Uniquely among notable twentieth-century rock guitarists, Mack's impact on the evolution and development of rock guitar was much greater than his own commercial success. As to his impact: See sections 9 and 10 of this article. As to his commercial success: In the course of his half-century career, Mack had only two top-30 hits ("Memphis" at number 5 and Wham!" at number 24, both in 1963) and only one gold (million-selling) record ("Memphis" again). All of the prominent guitarists cited in this article for calling Mack a significant influence or inspiration went on to become far more commercially successful than Mack.
- (1) "...pioneer of rock guitar soloing...", "Twenty Iconic Guitars", Rolling Stone online at https://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/20-iconic-guitars-20120523/lonnie-macks-flying-v-0534574, 05/23/2012; See also, (2) "...pioneering father of blues-rock...", McDevitt, "Unsung Guitar Hero Lonnie Mack", Gibson online at http://www.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/Unsung-Guitar-Hero-Lonnie-Mack.aspx, 09/05/2007, ; (3) "...Flying V pioneer influenced entire generation of guitar gods...", Kreps, "Lonnie Mack, Blues-Rock Guitar Great, Dead at 74", Rolling Stone online at https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/lonnie-mack-blues-rock-guitar-great-dead-at-74-20160423, 04/23/2016; (4) Kerzner, "Breaking: Pioneering Guitarist Lonnie Mack Dead at 74", 4/22/2016, at https://www.americanbluesscene.com/2016/04/breaking-pioneering-guitarist-lonnie-mack-dead-at-74/"; and (5) "...trailblazing pioneer of the electric guitar....", Reiser, "Keeping the Blues Alive", April 29, 2016, at https://keepingthebluesalive.org/lonnie-mack-remembering-his-trailblazing-blues-rock-guitar-virtuosity/.
- Mack recorded many guitar instrumentals in the early 1960s. Apart from "Memphis" and "Wham!", "Suzie Q" (1963) and "Chicken Pickin'" (1964) are mentioned most often as influential recordings, although neither charted. As recently as 2015 and 2016, Jeff Beck included another fast-paced early Mack instrumental, "Lonnie on the Move" (guitar-solo adaptation of Bobby Blue Bland's 1961 R&B vocal hit, "Turn On Your Love Light") in his touring set-list. He can be seen playing it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RX4J0bbE5cY and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQa99-hWTnQ. Beck probably first heard "Lonnie on the Move" when it was issued in Britain on the Stateside label in 1964. See, photo of that pressing with date 1964 at http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lonnie-Mack-Lonnie-On-The-Move-1964-UK-45-STATESIDE-DEMO-/352182827062.
- (1) Thom Hickey, "Peter Green, Lonnie Mack, Gatemouth Brown – Guitar!", Blog "The Immortal Jukebox", August 15, 2015, at https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2015/08/15/peter-green-lonnie-mack-gatemouth-brown-guitar-guitar-guitar/ (2) "Savagely wild yet perfectly controlled", as well as other descriptions (e.g., "aggressive single-string phrasing and seamless rhythm style", Guitar World, January 13, 2012, as preserved at http://www.guitarworld.com/talkin-blues-lonnie-mack-and-birth-blues-rock) aptly described the virtuosity of Mack's guitar solos as of 1963. Five years later (after the appearance of such virtuosos as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck), Rolling Stone magazine still rated Mack "in a class by himself" as a rock guitar soloist. (Alec Dubro, Rolling Stone, retrospective review of The Wham of that Memphis Man, March 23, 1968.) Today, however, some of the early Mack solos are considered to be of only "intermediate" difficulty for aspiring rock guitarists. (See, e.g., the instructional post on playing "Wham!" at http://guitaralliance.com/2010/09/wham-by-lonnie-mack/).
- (1)(a) "Talkin' Blues: Lonnie Mack and the Birth of Blues-Rock". Guitar World. Retrieved May 18, 2014.; (b) "...Lonnie Mack virtually invented blues-rock...", Guitar Player, "101 Forgotten Greats and Unsung Heroes", 2/1/2007, at http://www.guitarplayer.com/artists/1013/101-forgotten-greats-&-unsung-heroes/16853; (c) 1980s blues-rock guitar virtuoso Stevie Ray Vaughan said: "Lonnie invented a lot of this stuff." Newton, "My First Interview With Stevie Ray Vaughn", on "Ear of Newt" website, 08/26/2015, at https://earofnewt.com/2015/08/26/my-first-interview-with-stevie-ray-vaughan-when-he-sang-me-three-lines-of-an-earl-king-song/; (d) "He became the godfather of the wild and expressive blues-rock solos that became so prevalent in the ‘60s and beyond." Mayhew, "Southern Rock Legend Lonnie Mack Dies at 74", reverb.com online, April 22, 2016 at https://reverb.com/news/southern-rock-legend-lonnie-mack-dies-at-74"; and (e) Reiser, "Lonnie Mack: Remembering His Trailblazing Blues-Rock Guitar Virtuosity", Website: "Keeping the Blues Alive", April 29, 2016, at https://keepingthebluesalive.org/lonnie-mack-remembering-his-trailblazing-blues-rock-guitar-virtuosity/. (2) As noted in the eponymous Wikipedia article, Blues-rock was not recognized as a distinct genre within rock music, and named as such, until the mid-late 1960s, when it was largely (but not entirely) a British-band phenomenon heavily influenced by Delta blues and Chicago-style blues. Mack's recordings of several years earlier were somewhat less reminiscent of the Delta and Chicago blues styles and incorporated country-picking elements mostly absent from the British blues-rock recordings of the mid-late '60s. Thus, some might consider it more accurate to characterize Mack's trailblazing 1963 guitar recordings as close precursors to the blues-rock genre that appeared, and was first named as such, in the mid-late '60s.
- (1) "I think of him as a prototype of...Southern rock." Music historian Dick Shurman, as quoted in McCardle, "Lonnie Mack, Guitarist and Singer Who Influenced Blues and Rock Acts, Dies at 74", Washington Post, April 25, 2016, at https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/lonnie-mack-guitarist-and-singer-who-influenced-blues-and-rock-acts-dies-at-74/2016/04/25/5c581f3c-0a44-11e6-bfa1-4efa856caf2a_story.html. See also, (2) "Thus, through King Records and local legend Lonnie Mack, Cincinnati has helped shape Southern rock...". Sandmel, "The Allman Brothers Band Live at Ludlow Garage – 1970", at http://www.spectratechltd.com/extrapages/Allman%20Brothers%20-%20Live%20at%20Ludlow%20Garage%20CD%20-%20cover%20&%20notes.pdf; and (3) Mayhew, "Southern Rock Legend Lonnie Mack Dies at 74", reverb.com, April 22, 2016, at https://reverb.com/news/southern-rock-legend-lonnie-mack-dies-at-74
- See, generally, sections 9 and 10 of this article and references therein.
- (1) "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." Guterman, The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time, 1992, Citadel Publishing, p. 34. (2) Mack has been called "a guitar hero's guitar hero" for his early leadership in virtuoso rock guitar soloing. Gettleman, Orlando Sentinel, "Guitar Hero Lonnie Mack", as reprinted in Salt Lake Tribune, August 3–4, 1993, p. 3
- (1) e.g.,"Joe Bonamassa...Eric Clapton...Jeff Beck...Duane Allman...Keith Richards...Jimmy Page...Ted Nugent...Stevie Ray Vaughan". Herbert, "Lonnie Mack dead: Blues guitar great dies at 74, Joe Bonamassa says", April 22, 2016 at http://www.syracuse.com/celebrity-news/index.ssf/2016/04/lonnie_mack_dead_blues_guitarist_joe_bonamassa.html; (2) See references to additional players in sections 9 and 10 hereof and references therein.
- See, sections 7 and 12 herein.
- See, (1) "Mack’s vocals combined twang and gritty soul...": Vitale, "RIP Lonnie Mack", Chicago Tonight on-line, 4/22/2016 at http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2016/04/22/rip-lonnie-mack; and (2) "...'country-esque' blues voice...": Watrous, "Lonnie Mack in a Melange of Guitar Styles", New York Times, September 18, 1988. (3) "He is primarily a gospel singer." Alec Dubro, retrospective review of Mack's debut album, "The Wham of that Memphis Man" (Fraternity, 1964), Rolling Stone magazine, November 23, 1968.
- (1) (a) "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 had a directness which would have been wholly embarrassing in the hands of almost any other white vocalist." Millar, essay entitled "Colour Me Soul", from "History of Rock", 1983, as preserved at https://web.archive.org/web/20071122194241/http://www.soul-source.co.uk/soul-words/blue-eyed-soul-colour-me-soul.htm. (b) In his early years, Mack was often misdidentified as a black performer, both for his soul/gospel vocals and his R&B-influenced guitar style. See, lyrics to tune "When Lonnie Mack Was Black" at https://beaugrosscup.bandcamp.com/track/when-lonnie-mack-was-black/ and section 7 herein. (2) "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." Alec Dubro, retrospective review of Mack's debut album, "The Wham of that Memphis Man" (Fraternity, 1963), Rolling Stone magazine, November 23, 1968. Note: All of Presley's Grammys were awarded for gospel albums. See: Blog entitled "Elvis Presley and the Grammy Awards", Feb. 12, 2016, at https://www.graceland.com/blog/elvis-presley-and-the-grammy-awards/.
- Guterman, The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time, 1992, Citadel Publishing, p. 34.
- (1) Watrous, "Lonnie Mack in a Melange of Guitar Styles", New York Times, September 18, 1988; (2) McNutt, Guitar Towns, University of Indiana Press, 2002, p. 174.
- Mack's cross-genre blending in the early '60s can be seen as a continuation and expansion of the trend pioneered by many '50s rockers, including major artists Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.
- Alec Dubro, Rolling Stone magazine (retrospective review of Mack's first album, The Wham of that Memphis Man ), March 23, 1968.
- Fraternity, recorded 1963, released 1964.
- The albums Strike Like Lightning (1985), and Lonnie Mack Live: Attack of the Killer V (1990), were commercially successful and drew critical acclaim. See section 14 of this article.
- See sections 4, 8, 9 and 10 of this article.
- (1) Apart from "Memphis" (Billboard #5) and Wham!" (Billboard #24), only two additional Mack Fraternity singles charted, i.e., "Honky-Tonk '65" (#78) and "Baby, What's Wrong?" (#93). See, Billboard's "Chart History" list for Mack at http://www.billboard.com/artist/307816/lonnie-mack/chart. (2) Many of Mack's mid-'60s Fraternity recordings weren't released until Ace Records (UK) acquired Fraternity's original master tapes in the late 1990s.
- See, section 11 of this article and notes thereto.
- Alec Dubro, review of The Wham of that Memphis Man, Rolling Stone, November 23, 1968.
- In 1970, Elektra also reissued Mack's debut album, with two bonus tracks from 1964, calling it "For Collectors Only".
- (1) Deccio, "Lonnie Mack Dead", April 24, 2016, http://www.inquisitr.com/3029420/lonnie-mack-dead-guitarist-and-vocalist-who-pioneered-blues-rock-dies-at-74/; (2) Poster for Mack's six-day run at the Fillmore West in July 1969 at http://www.classicposters.com/Johnny_Winter/poster/Bill_Graham/180; (3) Poster of Mack's Cow Palace appearance with the Doors and Elvin Bishop at http://www.classicposters.com/Lonnie_Mack. (4) Hear Mack's reference to appearing with C, S &N at the Fillmore East in his 1985 Carnegie Hall interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHAcMm8pxvo
- (1) "[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". John Morthland, "Lonnie Mack", Output, March 1984; (2) See also the account of Elektra producer Russ Miller, in Holzman, Follow the Music, First Media, 1998, p. 367.
- (1)Lyrics to Mack's tune, "A Long Way From Memphis" (1985) ("L.A. made me sick"); (2) Lyrics to Mack's tune, "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."
- (1) Peter Guralnick, Pickers, "Lonnie Mack: Fiery Picker Goes Country", 1977, pp. 16–18 (Mack: "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."); (2) Music historian Dick Shurman: "Mack's temperament wasn't suited to stardom.", as quoted in McCardle, Washington Post, "Lonnie Mack, Guitarist and Singer Who Influenced Blues and Rock Acts, Dies at 74" (2016), https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/lonnie-mack-guitarist-and-singer-who-influenced-blues-and-rock-acts-dies-at-74/2016/04/25/5c581f3c-0a44-11e6-bfa1-4efa856caf2a_story.html
- "Weekend: GO FREETIME! – Cincinnati's ultimate guide to entertainment!". 2.cincinnati.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- (1) Sandmel, "Lonnie Mack is Back on the Track", Guitar World, May 1984, pp. 59–60; (2) Peter Guralnick, Pickers, "Lonnie Mack: Fiery Picker Goes Country", 1977, pp. 16–18; (3) Music historian Dick Shurman: "Mack...didn't like the (music) business.", as quoted in McCardle, Washington Post, "Lonnie Mack, Guitarist and Singer Who Influenced Blues and Rock Acts, Dies at 74" (2016), https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/lonnie-mack-guitarist-and-singer-who-influenced-blues-and-rock-acts-dies-at-74/2016/04/25/5c581f3c-0a44-11e6-bfa1-4efa856caf2a_story.html; (4) Stuart Holman, Mack's bass-player in the early 1970s, said that Mack "had no tolerance for the internal politics of the music business." Holman interview on the broadcast "Lonnie Mack Special", July 16, 2011, at http://wvxu.org/post/lonnie-mack-special#stream/0 (5) See the account of Mack's growing impatience and revulsion with the music business in the sections "1968–1971: Elektra years" and "1970s: Withdrawal to the country" herein.
- (1) Lyrics to Mack's tune, "A Long Way From Memphis" (1985) ("L.A. made me sick"); (2) Lyrics to Mack's tune, "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 section 13 of this article. Exiting the center stage of commercial rock at age 29 may have burnished Mack's image as a pop-music "cult-figure", (Grimes, "Lonnie Mack, Singer and Guitarist Who Pioneered Blues-Rock, Dies at 74", New York Times, April 22, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/23/arts/music/lonnie-mack-singer-and-guitarist-who-pioneered-blues-rockdies-at-74.html?_r=0) but, over time, it also left him "largely unknown to mainstream [rock] audiences". (Kreps, "Lonnie Mack, Blues-Rock Guitar Great, Dead at 74", RollingStone.com, April 23, 2016, at https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/lonnie-mack-blues-rock-guitar-great-dead-at-74-20160423).
- The album was recorded in December 1989, but released in 1990.
- Althoguh he never recorded again as a featured commercial artist, he made guest appearances on albums of two other artists in 2000, and put out some "kitchen-table" recordings on his website in 2010. See section 15 of this article.
- See sections 11–15, inclusive, of this article.
- Communications, Emmis (June 1, 1986). "Cincinnati Magazine". Emmis Communications. Retrieved October 28, 2017 – via Google Books.
- Hovekamp was also the manager of Pure Prairie League in the mid-1980s. See attribution at pureprairieleague.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1103. Currently, he is a financial advisor with UBS in New York. See Hovekamp profile and photo at http://financialservicesinc.ubs.com/team/hovekampnewman/index.html
- See the reference to Webber as Mack's "management" in Mack's Rockabilly Hall of Fame biography, at http://www.rockabillyhall.com/LonnieMack1.html. Webber, a former Elektra Records executive, currently plays bass with a northern California rock group Mike Wilhelm and the Hired Guns. See the group biography and photos at http://flyingsnail.com/Scrapbook/Mike_Wilhelm_Hired_Guns.html.
- There is an old McIntosh Family Cemetery there. See: topo map at http://www.mytopo.com/locations/index.cfm?fid=513868
- See, Mack obituary in NY Times @ https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/23/arts/music/lonnie-mack-singer-and-guitarist-who-pioneered-blues-rockdies-at-74.html. There was a massive out-migration of refugees from the coal mine closures in Southern Appalachia before World War II. See, Wikipedia article entitled "Hillbilly Highway" and references therein. Most sought jobs in industrialized cities; the McIntosh family represented the exception to that rule.
- (1) "Lonnie Mack, July 18, 1941 – April 21, 2016". alligator.com.; see also: (2) Funeral announcement for Lonnie "Lonnie Mack" McIntosh at http://wrbiradio.com/lonnie-lonnie-mack-mcintosh/, and (3) As noted in this section's first footnote, there is a McIntosh family cemetery in Owsley County. Another cemetery with McIntosh interments also has interments of Sizemores and Gabbards (see reference to Mack's cousin, Harley Gabbard in section of this article entitled "1950s: Early Career"). See list of burials in the "Gilbert/Griffith Cemetery" at http://www.griffithcemetery.com/
- July 24, 2005 Mack interview.
- Sandmel, "Lonnie Mack is Back of the Track", Guitar World, May 1984, pp. 55–56
- "Wayback Machine". May 10, 2008. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Dan Forte, "Lonnie Mack: That Memphis Man is Back", 1978, p. 20; Murrells, The Book of Golden Discs, Barrie & Jenkins, 1978, p.163; See video of this vintage child's guitar model at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvfcKJzlQzQ
- See, section on "Travis-picking" in Wikipedia article entitled "Fingerstyle guitar"
- Matre, Van (May 2, 1985). "Lonnie Mack Back In The Swing Of Things". Chicago Tribune, Lifestyle Section. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
- Grimes, William (April 22, 2016). "Lonnie Mack, Singer and Guitarist Who Pioneered Blues-Rock, Dies at 74". The New York Times. p. D7.
- (1) Peter Guralnick, Pickers, "Lonnie Mack: Fiery Rock Picker Goes Country", 1977, p. 16
; (2) Dan Forte, "Lonnie Mack: That Memphis Man is Back", 1978, p. 20; (3) Murrells, The Book of Golden Discs, Barrie &Jenkins, 1978, p. 163.
- Bill Millar, liner notes to album, "Memphis Wham!" Trotto has been recognized as an influential performer in Southern Indiana. See, record of Trotto's 2001 induction into Southeastern Indiana Musicians Hall of Fame, at:https://www.facebook.com/Southeastern-Indiana-Musicians-Association-INC-1687218718169385/timeline/
- One of Trotto's few recordings was a cover of Martha Carson's "Satisfied". Mack's own version is found on his first album, recorded in 1963. Compare Mack's black gospel-influenced version, found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP8BOYwtshI, with Trotto's white country-gospel version, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoLMvkhCDks
- Bill Millar, liner notes to "Memphis Wham!"
- Dahl, Bill. "Lonnie Mack profile at". allmusic.com. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- "Unsung Guitar Hero: Lonnie Mack". .gibson.com. July 14, 1985. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
- McNutt, Guitar Towns, University of Indiana Press, 2002, p. 175
- Russ House, Triad Publishing. "Lonnie Mack bio at". Lonniemack.com. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- [permanent dead link]; McNutt, Guitar Towns, University of Indiana Press, 2002, p. 175
- At that time, Cincinnati was a musical crossroads for seemingly disparate pop music styles, including "bluegrass, R&B, rock & roll, doo-wop, country, soul and funk" with acts as stylistically distinct from one another as the Stanley Brothers and James Brown all calling it their home base. See the plaque memorializing King Records at https://cincymusic.com/news/2017/01/save-king-records
- Murrells, The Book of Golden Discs, Barrie & Jenkins, 1978, p.163.
- Rest in Peace (April 22, 2016). "Lonnie Mack ● A Simple Tribute". YouTube. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio
- Reportedly, "Pistol Packin' Mama" was released on a small regional label, "Esta" or "Dobbs", strictly for local juke-box play. See, Bill Millar, liner notes, album "Memphis Wham!"; Mack discography at http://wdd.mbnet.fi/lonniemack.htm
- Gabbard died in 2003. Holt continued on into his 80s as a well-known bluegrass performer, often appearing with his son, Tony. See, e.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq1vJVQe3g4
- Gordon, Terry. "Harley Gabbard discography". Rockin' Country Style. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2007.
- Album, "That'll Flat Git It", V. 27, track 17, ISBN 978-3-89916-577-7. It is now available in the U.S."That'll Flat Git It! Vol. 27: Rockabilly & Rock 'n' Roll From The Vault Of Sage & Sand Records: Various Artists". Amazon.com. Retrieved July 27, 2011..
- happydogg55 (July 4, 2009). "Harley Gabbard & Aubrey Holt – Hey Baby ~ Rockabilly". YouTube. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- (1) See, album entitled From Nashville to Memphis, Ace, 2001, and liner notes thereto. (2) Mack recalled that when he auditioned for Harry Carlson, owner of Fraternity, he played several bars of the as-yet unrecorded "Memphis". See, Mack interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6bJ3ehHpo0
- (1) See, albums entitled From Nashville to Memphis (Ace, 2001) and Gigi and the Charmaines (Ace, 2006) and liner notes thereto. (2) 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).
- 1963 Stewart Colman, liner notes to album "From Nashville to Memphis", March 2001
- "We Lost Another Guitar Hero on April 21—Lonnie Mack Passes at 74". GuitarPlayer.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Richard T. Pinnell, Ph. D., "Lonnie Mack's Version of Chuck Berry's 'Memphis' — An Analysis of an Historic Rock Guitar Instrumental", Guitar Player Magazine, May 1979, p. 41
- Interview of recording engineer Chuck Seitz, "Lonnie Mack Special", http://wvxu.org/post/lonnie-mack-special#stream/0
- (1) Bill Millar, liner notes to Ace Records' early-Mack compilation album entitled "Memphis Wham!", 1998. See also, (2) March 1977 Capitol publicity release entitled "Lonnie Mack"
- (1) See the liner notes to the Ace (UK) album Memphis Wham!. (2) "Memphis" was the fourth rock guitar instrumental to penetrate Billboard's "Top 5", preceded only by considerably less technically challenging "Twang" and "Surf" classics, i.e., (a) The Virtues' "Guitar Boogie Shuffle" (1958), (b) The Ventures' "Walk, Don't Run" (1960), and (c) Duane Eddy's "Because They're Young" (1960). (3) 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.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 163. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- Swampland:Lonnie Mack
- "Remembering Lonnie Mack and his visits to Pike – Milford PA – Letters to the Editor". Pikecountycourier.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Russ Miller, liner notes to album For Collectors Only, Elektra EKS-74077, 1970 and "From Nashville to Memphis" Ace CDCHD807
- "Mack Discography". Koti.mbnet.fi. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- Pinnell, Richard T. (May 1979). "Lonnie Mack's 'Memphis': An Analysis of an Historic Rock Guitar Instrumental". Guitar Player. p. 40.
- (1) See, (a) Guterman, The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time, Citadel, 1992, p. 34, and (b) Gettleman, Orlando Sentinel, "Guitar Hero Lonnie Mack", as reprinted in Salt Lake Tribune, August 3–4, 1993, p. 3; (2) As used in the Guterman and Gettleman pieces, the term "guitar hero" appears to be synonymous with "virtuoso lead rock guitarist".
- (1) See, (a) "Talkin' Blues: Lonnie Mack and the Birth of Blues-Rock". Guitar World. Retrieved May 18, 2014.; (b) "...Lonnie Mack virtually invented blues-rock...", Guitar Player, "101 Forgotten Greats and Unsung Heroes", 2/1/2007, @ http://www.guitarplayer.com/artists/1013/101-forgotten-greats-&-unsung-heroes/16853; (c) Blues-rock guitar great Stevie Ray Vaughan said: "Lonnie invented a lot of this stuff." Newton, "My First Interview With Stevie Ray Vaughn", at https://earofnewt.com/2015/08/26/my-first-interview-with-stevie-ray-vaughan-when-he-sang-me-three-lines-of-an-earl-king-song/ and (d) "He became the godfather of the wild and expressive blues-rock solos that became so prevalent in the ‘60s and beyond." Mayhew, "Southern Rock Legend Lonnie Mack Dies at 74", reverb.com online, April 22, 2016 at https://reverb.com/news/southern-rock-legend-lonnie-mack-dies-at-74". (2) Notwithstanding the foregoing: (a) Cases can be made for fitting earlier (albeit less technically-challenging) guitar recordings into a broadly-defined "blues-rock" mold, including both Freddie King's jaunty instrumental, "Hide Away" (Billboard Hot 100, #29, April 15, 1961) and Link Wray's ominous instrumental classic, "Rumble" (#16, 1958). (b) The specific style to which the term "blues-rock" (sometimes called "rock blues", especially in the UK) was first applied in the mid-late 1960s was largely an innovation of British electric guitarists. (See, Wikipedia article entitled "Blues rock".) With the arguable exception of Jeff Beck (whose early recordings drew from a variety of influences, including Mack's early solos....see footnotes 8 and 151 herein), the British pioneers of that style were somewhat more heavily influenced by the acoustic 1930s-era Mississippi Delta style (epitomized by Robert Johnson), that style's more-evolved electric "Chicago" style of the 1940s and 1950s (epitomized by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Hubert Sumlin), and the yet-more-evolved electric blues styles of "The Three Kings" (B.B. King, Albert King and Freddie King) than was Mack. Likewise, the British blues-rock guitar pioneers were little-influenced by American country and bluegrass music, both of which were key foundational sources of Mack's technique. Thus (and while acknowledging that Mack's guitar recordings from the 1980s fell squarely within the bounds of that era's more evolved conception of "blues-rock"), Mack's early-'60s guitar recordings might be best understood as independently influential, close-in-time precursors to the "blues-rock" guitar phenomenon first so named in the mid-late '60s.
- Fewer than 100 were produced in 1958
- "Lonnie Mack bio data". MusicianGuide.com. Retrieved November 19, 2007.
- 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.
- "THE UNIQUE GUITAR BLOG: Lonnie Mack's Flying V". Uniqueguitar.blogspot.com. December 23, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- Drozdowski, "The Flying V Turns Fifty", January 31, 2008, Gibson News-Lifestyle on-line at http://www.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/The-Flying-V-Turns-50.aspx
- "Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. May 10, 2008. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Mack was sentimental concerning his Native American ancestry. See: Vinson, "Don't Procrastinate: Be Rock Solid", Murfreesboro Post online, June, 2010, at http://www.murfreesboropost.com/mike-vinson-don-t-procrastinate-be-rock-solid-cms-23401
- see, images at http://www.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/Unsung-Guitar-Hero-Lonnie-Mack.aspx
- Ward played lead guitar on the original recording of "I Found A Love", with Wilson Pickett on lead vocal. That tune became a mainstay of Mack's live performances, and he recorded it at least twice. A highly-regarded "live" version, with Mack on lead vocal and guitar, is found on Mack's final album, "Lonnie Mack Live: Attack of the Killer V" (Alligator, 1990).
- Hunter & Gibbons, "Star Guitars", Voyageur Press, 2010
- "The Guitar Collection Book published by Epic Ink (Guitarsite)". Guitarsite.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "The Guitar Collection". Earbooks.net. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "20 Iconic Guitars". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Fingerstyle" is typically performed with the fingers, while "chicken picking" (which produces a distinctive "popping" sound) is typically performed with both a pick and the adjacent fingers. The few available videos of Mack, all later in his career, usually show him using a pick between his thumb and forefinger, or at least a thumb-pick, when playing "No. 7". While rock guitarists typically use a pick, it may have been especially necessary for Mack, as he always used the heaviest available strings on it.
- See, "Lonnie Mack Back In The Swing Of Things", Chicago Tribune, Lifestyle Section, May 2, 1985: "An uncle showed me how to take a Merle Travis sound on guitar and it was very similar to what a lot of the Black guys were doing; they just made it a little funkier. It was pretty easy to come over to that once I figured it out."
- Alec Dubro, Review of "The Wham of that Memphis Man!", Rolling Stone, November 23, 1968.
- Among other things, traditional blues guitarists "typically stick to variations on the seventh chord." Stephens, supra, "Lonnie Mack", 2016, @ http://www.toppermost.co.uk/lonnie-mack/
- In general, blues-rock guitarists who emerged in the mid-late 1960s were somewhat more heavily influenced by the Mississippi Delta acoustic and Chicago electric blues guitar styles than was Mack himself. While Mack also absorbed these influences, his three greatest guitar influences were country guitarist Merle Travis, Texas electric blues guitarist T-Bone Walker and nimbled-fingered pop/jazz guitarist Les Paul.
- "RIP Lonnie Mack". Chicagotonight.wttw.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Sandmel, Guitar World, May 1984, pp. 55–56
- Brown & Newquist, Legends of Rock Guitar, Hal Leonard Pub. Co., 1997, p. 87
- (1) See, Grimes, "Lonnie Mack, Singer and Guitarist Who Pioneered Blues-Rock, Dies at 74", https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/23/arts/music/lonnie-mack-singer-and-guitarist-who-pioneered-blues-rockdies-at-74.html?_r=0. See also, (1) Gene Santoro, "Double Whammy", Guitar World, January 1986, p. 34; (2) 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."Nixon, "It's Star Time!", Guitar World, November 1985, p. 82. (3) Mack can be seen tugging on the whammy bar "while continuing to pick" at counter 2:09 and using the "shuddering" technique at counter 2:13 of the video of a 1985 Carnegie Hall concert, playing "Satisfy Suzie" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhX1lfWZaNw&ebc=ANyPxKpQ8Db4nyyibTLxE14xV4-KfgochEdNE8Cmg4OvLKjsjm7_E3llRU18Wnl25OTs5oXmtK30Md9-ROCrO0KfSUBVNRFHFw
- Delehant, "Lonnie Mack Four Years After Memphis", Hit Parade, 1967; Bill Millar, liner notes to "Memphis Wham!"
- Alec Dubrow, Rolling Stone, November 23, 1968: "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."
- Millar, Bill (1983). "Blue-eyed Soul: Colour Me Soul". The History of Rock. Archived from the original on November 22, 2007. Retrieved November 14, 2007.
- 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. Today, Mack's style would probably be called "country-soul". See, e.g., Wikipedia article on Sundance Head, and compare Mack's "Why?" (1963) with Head's "Darlin', don't go" (2016).
- "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 on 1989's "Attack of the Killer V" (rel. 1990), as does the referenced live version of "I Found a Love".
- 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
- "WHAT IS DEEP SOUL". Sirshambling.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Curtis. Lost Rock & Roll Masterpieces Fortune, April 30, 2001 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".
- Marcus, 2009, lecture entitled, "Songs Left Out of the Ballad of Sexual Dependency", delivered at the 2009 Pop Conference at the Experience Music Project in Seattle.
- A popular local Minneapolis group, The Accents, had local hits with "Wherever There's A Will" (Garrett 4008) and "Why" (Garrett 4014). Both singles got substantial airplay locally and sold well throughout the state.
- 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
- Hear interview of recording engineer Chuck Seitz, "Lonnie Mack Special", July 16, 2011, at http://wvxu.org/post/lonnie-mack-special#stream/0
- (1) Russ Miller, liner notes to album "For Collectors Only", Elektra EKS-74077; (2) Stuart Colman, 2001 liner notes to "From Nashville to Memphis", with accompanying Fraternity discography.
- Records, Ace. "The Wham Of That Memphis Man!". Ace Records. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- See, Track Listing in Wikipedia Article entitled "The Wham Of That Memphis Man".
- (1) Russ Miller, liner notes to album "For Collectors Only", Elektra EKS-74077. (2) See also, Stephens, "Lonnie Mack", May, 2016 at http://www.toppermost.co.uk/lonnie-mack/: "Lonnie's guitar style was highly distinctive, dare I say, unique; in the early rock era only Link Wray and Duane Eddy could match him for instant recognition. Lonnie...utilised an extremely fast version of country music chicken picking, totally unlike more typical blues guitarists who stuck to variations on the seventh chord. What came out the other end was a very fluid, almost liquid sound which the world heard first on Memphis."
- Guterman, The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time, Citadel, 1992, p. 34
- "Memphis"and "Wham!" were on the album, but had been recorded and released as singles earlier in 1963.
- Hay, Lee. "Lonnie Mack Special". Wvxu.org. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- John Morthland, "Lonnie Mack", Output, March 1984
- (1) See, Mack discography at http://wdd.mbnet.fi/lonniemack.htm; (2) Reference to 1987 reissue, Himes, "Lonnie Mack" (column), The Washington Post, February 20, 1987; (3) The Wham of that Memphis Man, Ace (UK), 2006; (4) "Alligator reissue". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved July 27, 2011.; (5) "Unsung Guitar Hero: Lonnie Mack". Gibson.com. Archived from the original on May 10, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2011.; (6) 2008 release on Collectables label, For Collectors Only, a copy of the 1970 Elektra reissue. (7) The album was re-released most recently by Ace Records(UK) in 2016, shortly after Mack's death.
- 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." Himes, Gregory (February 20, 1987). "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.
- 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, as well as Flying V's 2-CD set entitled "Direct Hits and Close Calls" and comments re same on Mack's website. His largely-unknown (and mostly-unreleased at the time) instrumentals from the early-mid 1960s include covers of such diverse country, rock, R&B and pop favorites as "Buckaroo", "Stand By Me", "Shotgun" and "I Left My Heart in San Francisco". Historically detailed liner notes from two of the Ace compilation releases of these lesser-known Mack recordings can be found here: https://acerecords.co.uk/still-on-the-move-mp3 and here: https://acerecords.co.uk/from-nashville-to-memphis-mp3
- Of the rock guitar soloists who had preceded Mack, the popular "surf" guitarists, and especially Dick Dale ("The King of Surf Guitar"), probably came closest to Mack's overall mastery of the electric guitar as a soloing instrument. When it was first released, "Wham! could easily have been mistaken for a "surf" guitar solo. The Surfaris covered "Memphis" and the leading "surf-rock" band of the 1960s, The Ventures, covered both "Memphis" and "Wham!".
- Lead guitarist Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers Band, Dickey Betts Band, Gov't Mule) said, "Between the era of Chuck Berry and the era of Hendrix there were a handful of guitar players like Lonnie Mack who were making ground-breaking music that paved the way for the Revolution. People like Dickey Betts and Stevie Ray Vaughn would tell you that without Lonnie they wouldn’t be who they were. That goes for all of us." (Quotation from Warren Haynes's website, http://www.warrenhaynes.net/news/detail/warren_haynes_reflects_on_lonnie_mack)
- (1) As noted in the Wikipedia article "Guitar solo", "The guitar solo is usually the most significant instrumental section of a mainstream rock song." (2) Mack's early solos were the immediate precursors to the explosion of rock guitar virtuosity that characterized rock in the mid-late 1960s, with artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. "A true trailblazing pioneer of the electric guitar, [Mack's] playing was faster, louder, more aggressive than anything else people were used to hearing during his time....[M]uch of rock music might not have been the same – without his innovative way of treating the electric guitar as a lead soloing instrument in rock – edgy, aggressive, loud and fast." Reiser, "Keeping the Blues Alive", April 9, 2016, at https://keepingthebluesalive.org/lonnie-mack-remembering-his-trailblazing-blues-rock-guitar-virtuosity/. (3) "Mack was hugely important in transforming the electric guitar into a lead instrument in rock music, and his influence on the development of guitar solos was a game-changer." Lane, "Remembering Guitar Great Lonnie Mack", April 27, 2016, Houston Press on-line, at http://www.houstonpress.com/music/remembering-guitar-great-lonnie-mack-who-died-the-same-day-as-prince-8355611.
- (1)"Landmark Recordings", Guitar World, July, 1980, as reproduced in the magazine's July, 1990 edition at page 97. (2) As early as 1967, virtuosos Bloomfield, Clapton, Beck, Hendrix and several others had already risen to prominence, mostly in the blues-rock genre, and had already surpassed Mack in record sales. However, in November 1968, Rolling Stone magazine still rated Mack "in a class by himself" as a rock guitar virtuoso (Alec Dubro, review of The Wham of that Memphis Man!, Rolling Stone, November 23, 1968), and in October 1970, Rolling Stone still ranked his 1963 recordings with the best of Eric Clapton's more recent recordings. (Rolling Stone, October, 1970, review of the album For Collectors Only.)
- emphasis in original
- Bosso, Joe. "Ted Nugent picks the 11 greatest guitarists of all time". MusicRadar.
- Grimes, Willikam (April 22, 2016). "Lonnie Mack, Singer and Guitarist Who Pioneered Blues-Rock, Dies at 74". New York Times. p. D7. Retrieved July 18, 2017. A similar assessment is found in his Rockabilly Hall of Fame bio: "His early music bridged the gap between '50s rockabilly and the psychedelic blues-rock of the following decade." See, Mack Rockabilly Hall of Fame bio at http://www.rockabillyhall.com/LonnieMack1.html.
- Gettleman, Orlando Sentinel, "Guitar Hero Lonnie Mack", as reprinted in Salt Lake Tribune, August 3–4, 1993, p. 3
- Poe, "Skydog: The Duane Allman Story", Backbeat, 2006, p. 10
- (1) "Joe Bonamassa...Eric Clapton...Jeff Beck...Duane Allman...Keith Richards...Jimmy Page...Ted Nugent...Stevie Ray Vaughan" (Geoff Herbert, "Lonnie Mack dead: Blues guitar great dies at 74, Joe Bonamassa says", April 22, 2016 at http://www.syracuse.com/celebrity-news/index.ssf/2016/04/lonnie_mack_dead_blues_guitarist_joe_bonamassa.html); (2) "Duane Allman...Eric Clapton...Stevie Ray Vaughan...Bootsy Collins...Keith Richards...Ronnie Wood...John Mayall". (Kreps, "Lonnie Mack, Blues-Rock Guitar Great, Dead at 74", April 23, 2016, Rolling Stone magazine online at https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/lonnie-mack-blues-rock-guitar-great-dead-at-74-20160423); (3) "Eric Clapton...Duane Allman...Stevie Ray Vaughan" (Santoro, "Double-Whammy", Guitar World, January 1986, p. 34); (4) "Ted Nugent...Mike Bloomfield" ("Landmark Recordings", Guitar World, July 1980, as republished in Guitar World, July 1990, p. 97); and (5) "Duane Allman...Jeff Beck...Stevie Ray Vaughan...Jimmy Page". (Eskow, "The Death of Prince and the Death of Lonnie Mack", Counterpunch.org, May 3, 2016, at http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/03/the-death-of-prince-and-the-death-of-lonnie-mack/).
- Vaughan ("SRV") said that Mack was "a big idol of mine" (SRV, as quoted in Nager, "Guitar Greatness", Cincinnati Enqirer, March 13, 1998, as reproduced at http://www2.cincinnati.com/freetime/weekend/031398_weekend.html), "ahead of his time", (Joseph, "Before the Flood", Guitar World Magazine, September 1983) and a "very big influence" ("The Lost Stevie Ray Vaughan Interview" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhffhhnibQY). SRV began playing guitar the year "Memphis" and "Wham!" were released (SRV interview, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GImi3eGVbSI, at counter 17:36), honing his early guitar skills by playing along with "Wham!" ("the first record I ever owned" (See, DVD, SRV Live at the Mocambo, track 13, Sony, 1991) incessantly until his father finally destroyed the record. The young SRV simply bought another copy and resumed his practice. (Patoski, "SRV: Caught in the Crossfire", 1993, Backbeat: 15–16). Regarding his own style, SRV said that Mack had "invented a lot of this stuff" (Newton, "My First Interview With Stevie Ray Vaughn", at https://earofnewt.com/2015/08/26/my-first-interview-with-stevie-ray-vaughan-when-he-sang-me-three-lines-of-an-earl-king-song/) and that "I got a lot of the fast things I do from Lonnie" (Menn, Secrets From The Masters, Miller-Freeman, Inc, 1992, p. 278, ISBN 0-87930-260-7). Three years before his death, SRV listed Mack first among the guitarists he had listened to, both as a youngster and as an adult. (SRV interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcrkPrxj698).
- Beck is reported to have said that Mack was "unjustly overlooked as a major influence on him and many others". (Miller, "Jeff Beck's Guitar Magic Conquers Boston's Orpheum Theater", The Patriot Ledger on-line, April 20, 2015 at http://www.patriotledger.com/article/20150420/blogs/304209997) Beck's 1966 Yardbirds-era showcase "Jeff's Boogie" has been called "a deliberate nod to Mack". (Drozdowski, "Lonnie Mack – 1941–2016", Premier Guitar on-line, April 25, 2016, at https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/24115-lonnie-mack--) As recently as 2015, Beck included Mack's "Lonnie on the Move" and "Strike Like Lightning" in his touring set-lists. As to "Strike Like Lightning", see Drozdowski, "Lonnie Mack – 1941–2016", Premier Guitar on-line, April 25, 2016, at https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/24115-lonnie-mack--. As to "Lonnie On The Move", see Beck's 2015 performance at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7I4x4rAqeY. Beck probably first heard "Lonnie on the Move" when was issued in Britain on the Stateside label in 1964. See, photo of that pressing with date 1964 at http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lonnie-Mack-Lonnie-On-The-Move-1964-UK-45-STATESIDE-DEMO-/352182827062
- Southern rock lead and slide guitarist Duane Allman played along with "Memphis" in his military academy dorm room, starting, stopping, and slowing the turntable with his foot, until the young prodigy had mastered the tune. (Skydog: Book, "The Duane Allman Story", pp. 10–11, Backbeat, 2006). Dan Toler, of the Greg Allman Band and Dickey Betts & Great Southern was similarly influenced by Mack's "Memphis". (See Toler website at http://frayerproductions.com/dantoler/story.html and Toler interview at http://www.rockeyez.com/live_reviews/Southern_Rock/liverev-southernrock-08-11-07.html.) His Allman Brothers band-mate, lead and rhythm guitarist Dickey Betts, said, "Lonnie is one of the greatest players I know of. He's always been a great influence on me. (Ben Sandmel, "The Allman Brothers: Live at the Clifton Garage 1970" at http://www.spectratechltd.com/extrapages/Allman%20Brothers%20-%20Live%20at%20Ludlow%20Garage%20CD%20-%20cover%20&%20notes.pdf) and "I was really gettin' tired of "Little Deuce Coupe" and all the beach songs, and "Louie, Louie"—which are great songs—but I'm talkin' 'bout guitar-playin. And here come Lonnie Mack, right down the middle of it all. God, what a breath of fresh air that was for me." (Betts interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij-LTAFB9o8. This is an excerpt from the VHS/DVD "Further on Down the Road" (1985) of Mack's Carnegie Hall performance with Albert Collins and Roy Buchanan). Lead guitarist Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers Band, Dickey Betts Band, Gov't Mule) said, "Between the era of Chuck Berry and the era of Hendrix there were a handful of guitar players like Lonnie Mack who were making ground-breaking music that paved the way for the Revolution. People like Dickey Betts and Stevie Ray Vaughn would tell you that without Lonnie they wouldn’t be who they were. That goes for all of us." (Quotation from Warren Haynes's website, http://www.warrenhaynes.net/news/detail/warren_haynes_reflects_on_lonnie_mack)
- Benson, frontman for eight-time Grammy-winner Asleep at the Wheel, declared Mack "my guitar hero". (Benson interview, VHS-DVD, "Further On Down the Road", Flying V, 1985)
- "For me, at that time, Lonnie Mack was the master. Every note that mutha played, was, like, 'Man!'. I would try to mimic all the notes he played. Same thing with [Collins' brother] Cat. A Lonnie Mack song come out, he'd learn it backwards and forwards". (Interview with Bootsy Collins, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US1658nBJow)
- This frontman for King Crimson, David Bowie and Frank Zappa was a Mack fan in his formative years and reportedly credited Mack with a "profound impact" on his own playing. “On April 21 the entire world mourned the sad loss of Prince. Few people realise on the very same day we lost another legendary guitarist. His name was Lonnie Mack and he was a friend of mine. Lonnie was 74 and had spent a hard life in music – a good-hearted country boy who would rather go fishing than be a star. But he was known and revered by musicians like Keith Richards and Stevie Ray Vaughan for his searing guitar sound, a Gibson Flying V through a cranked Magnatone amp. I remember being 17 years old listening to Lonnie outside a bar in Covington, Kentucky. I was too young to get in. At that time I had just started playing guitar and the intensity of Lonnie's guitar sound caught me by surprise. [In 1985] Paul Simon and I went to the Lone Star Cafe to see Lonnie play. Paul introduced me to Bob Dylan hiding in the balcony stairwell – and also in the balcony that evening were Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. After the show, Paul and I went backstage – there sat Lonnie with Keith and Mick. In his southern drawl he was extolling the virtues of fishing in Indiana where he lived. He turned and saw me, interrupted his own story, and said, ‘Hey Adrin. Still playin' with that King Crizmun?’ Rest in peace my friend.” (Munro, "Ex King Crimson Man Belew Pays Tribute to Lonnie Mack", April 29, 2016, at http://teamrock.com/news/2016-04-29/ex-king-crimson-man-belew-pays-tribute-to-lonnie-mack)
- Nugent considers Mack one of the "eleven greatest guitarists of all time" (Nugent interview at http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/ted-nugent-picks-the-11-greatest-guitarists-of-all-time-533304.) and lists "Wham!" as one of his ten favorite tunes (DiPasquale, "Inside the Artist's IPod", November 14, 2002, Chicago Tribune on-line at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2002-11-14/news/0211140520_1_detroit-wheels-rolling-stones-ted-nugent). When Nugent hosted a BBC music broadcast, the first two tunes he played were Mack instrumentals. ("Wham by Lonnie Mack", God'sJukebox.com, at http://www.godsjukebox.com/Bomberboy/lonnie-mack-wham/)
- This teen-aged guitar prodigy and 2016 Guitar Gods Festival contestant (see "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 27, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.) stated, "He is one of my favorite guitar players. His playing was real unique and his song-writing ability was incredible. Rest in peace, Lonnie. Your music continues to influence me."(Tyler Morris video, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy-Yr9PrJ08).
- Alec Dubrow, Review of "The Wham of that Memphis Man!, Rolling Stone, November 23, 1968;
- Bill Millar, liner notes to album Memphis Wham!
- "The Fraternity of Wham". Rubbercityreview.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Hay, Lee. "Lonnie Mack and Mackfest on The Blues!". Wvxu.org. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Lonnie Mack recorded at King Records on September 14, 1966 with Freddie King on four songs, "Girl from Kookamunga," You've Got Me Licked," "Double Eyed Whammy," and "Use What You've Got." According to the book, King Labels, A Discography, Volume 1 compiled by Michel Ruppli, Freddie King was on vocals and guitar, Lonnie Mack, guitar, and Frank Charles was the drummer." Lee Hay, "Lonnie Mack and Mackfest on the Blues!", April 13, 2017 at http://wvxu.org/post/lonnie-mack-and-mackfest-blues#stream/0.
- "WangDangDula.com". Koti.mbnet.fi. Archived from the original on September 3, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- "Stone Fox, an anomaly". mog.com/Spike/blog_post. April 20, 2007. Archived from the original on November 22, 2007. Retrieved November 19, 2007.
- "Fab Flipside #7-"Stone Fox" James Brown | The Music Click". Dawn.proboards.com. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- "WangDangDula.com". Koti.mbnet.fi. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- "Swampland.com". Swampland. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
- 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)
- See, posting of Mike Pumphrey near the bottom of comments at http://www.tributes.com/obituary/print_selections/103505970?type=6
- (1) Mervis, "RIP Blues Guitar Great Lonnie Mack, 4/21/2016, Post-Gazette.com, at http://blogs.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment/pop-noise/46490-rip-blues-guitar-great-lonnie-mack; (2) See, poster advertising Mack's 6-day run with Johnny Winter at the Fillmore West in July, 1969 at http://www.classicposters.com/Johnny_Winter/poster/Bill_Graham/180
- "Cryptical Developments: The Doors, Lonnie Mack, Elvin Bishop. Cow Palace, 7/25/69". Cryptdev.blogspot.com. November 7, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- Many have noted a long-standing controversy as to whether Mack played lead guitar on the album's monster hit single ("Roadhouse Blues"), or just bass guitar on that, and one other tune, as credited on the album's liner notes. Much of the controversy revolves around Jim Morrison's call-out to Mack--"Do it, Lonnie, Do it!"--near the outset of a guitar solo. Complicating the issue, some claim to hear it as "Do it Robbie, Do it", "Robbie" being the first name of The Doors' own guitarist, Robbie Krieger. Mack himself said that he had "played bass". See, Mack interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6bJ3ehHpo0. The Wikipedia article entitled "Roadhouse Blues" rejects the assertion that Mack played lead guitar on the tune.
- See, original liner notes to the album and Wikipedia article entitled "Morrison Hotel".
- John Densmore, Riders On The Storm, Dell, 1990, p. 235
- TheDoorsFanFabi (November 18, 2008). "The Doors – Blues For Lonnie". YouTube. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Rolling Stone, "Random Notes", February 7, 1970, p. 4
- Holzman, Follow The Music, First Media, 1998, pp. 366–67
- Houghton, Becoming Elektra, 1st Ed., 2010, Jawbone Press, pp.244–246.
- Kot, Greg (December 13, 1989). "He Wrote The Book – tribunedigital-chicagotribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- Hear, interview of Stuart Holman (Mack's bass-player in the early '70s), "Lonnie Mack Special", July 16, 2011 at http://wvxu.org/post/lonnie-mack-special#stream/0
- Holzman, Follow The Music, First Media, 2000, p. 367
- "B". Badcatrecords.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Houghton, Becoming Elektra, 1st Ed., 2010, Jawbone Press, pp.244–246
- Holzman, Follow the Music, First Media. 1998, p. 367
- See, Unterberger, Review of "The Hills of Indiana", at http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-hills-of-indiana-mw0000035146
- "Shoals musicians recall Lonnie Mack as great guitarist, singer", http://www.timesdaily.com/news/shoals-musicians-recall-lonnie-mack-as-great-guitarist-singer/article_48a46f3e-8dae-5334-a3c7-1a6ec1260060.html
- However, according to Mack's bass-player in the mid-1970s, his roadhouse performances during that era still included dramatic displays of guitar prowess. Hear, interview of Stuart Holman, "Lonnie Mack Special", July 16, 2011 at http://wvxu.org/post/lonnie-mack-special#stream/0
- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. October 28, 2009. Archived from the original on October 28, 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2011.. Already viewed as a "living legend" of rock guitar by his contemporaries (John Densmore, Riders On The Storm, Dell, 1990, p. 235), his unexplained change of genres, and near-withdrawal from the rock spotlight at the age of twenty-nine, engendered the image of a mysteriously-disappeared "cult figure". See, "Lonnie Mack, singer and guitarist who pioneered blues rock, dies", April 24, 2016 at http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Lonnie-Mack-singer-and-guitarist-who-pioneered-7306010.php
- Peter Guralnick, Pickers, "Lonnie Mack: Fiery Picker Goes Country", 1977, pp. 16–18
- Song: "A Song I Haven't Sung", track 10 on album "Second Sight", Alligator, 1986
- Hear, (1) "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."; (2) "Hills of Indiana" (1971), from album of the same name; (3) "Funky Country Living" (1983) from "Live at Coco's"; and (4) "A Long Way From Memphis" (1985) from "Strike Like Lightning" ("L.A. made me sick").
- Vinson, Mike. "VINSON: 'The Possum' has gone to heaven". The Murfreesboro Post. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- In 1973, Mack teamed up with Rusty York on an all-acoustic bluegrass LP, Dueling Banjos. It contains sixteen bluegrass standards in a dueling-banjos format, with guitar and fiddle. Mack played guitar on all sixteen 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 country-pop album Hey, Dixie. Mack wrote or co-wrote four tunes on the album, including the title track. In March 1974, he performed as Gray's lead guitarist at the last broadcast of The Grand Ole Opry from Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. In 1977, Mack recorded Home at Last, an album of country ballads and bluegrass tunes. In 1978, he recorded Lonnie Mack with Pismo. A somewhat faster-paced album, Pismo featured country, southern rock and rockabilly tunes.
- A review of the annals of Rolling Stone Magazine reflects only perfunctory notices of Mack's releases during this time-frame
- "Stuck In The Past!: Lonnie Mack – Home At Last (1977)". Stuckinthepast08.blogspot.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- 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.
- "Lonnie Mack 1941–2016". Premierguitar.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Rolling Coconut Review Japan Concert April 10 1977 | mockford". Mockford.wordpress.com. October 20, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- [dead link]
- 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 "
- Mack released demos from the South project on his own label, Flying V Records, twenty years later.
- Shortly after Labunski's death, Mack traveled to Canada for 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 that, after the departure of Hawkins, became Bob Dylan's backup band and, later still, independently famous as The Band. Mack's guitar work from this period can be heard on Hawkins's 1981 solo album, Legend In His Spare Time.
- "Guitar World Backissues". Musicmansteve.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Pioneering Guitarist Lonnie Mack Dead at 74". Guitarworld.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Sandmel, "Rock Pioneer Lonnie Mack In Session With Stevie Ray Vaughan",Guitar Player, April 1985, p. 33
- 1990 Lonnie Mack interview by Rikki Dee Hall.
- "Michael Smith, "Gritz Speaks With Guitar Hero Lonnie Mack", June 2000". Swampland.com. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- 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 (September 2, 2003). History of the Blues. Da Capo Press. p. 246. ISBN 0-306-81296-7.
- Video: (1) DVD: "Live at the Mocambo"; (2) Album: "The Sky is Crying"
- MBSRV (August 26, 2011). "SRV & Lonnie Mack – Live 1986". YouTube. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Album: SRV and Double Trouble: Box Set, Disc 2
- "...the Lonnie Mack-inspired instrumental". Blues.about.com. August 17, 1984. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- 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; Elsewhere, SRV was quoted as saying that "'Scuttle-Buttin' was just another way of playing Lonnie Mack's 'Chicken Pickin'".("Stevie Ray Vaughan: Couldn't Stand The Weather Legacy Edition album review". Musicradar.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.)
- "Lonnie Mack Blues HDtrack downloads". HDtracks.com. December 4, 1999. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- A July, 1985 photo of Richards and the Wood backing Mack's performance at New York's Lone Star Cafe can be seen here: https://www.iorr.org/talk/read.php?1,2317009. Attendees included Mick Jagger, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. See, Review of Mack's appearance at the Lone Star, NY Times, Sunday, July 14. 1985.
- CD, SRV: Solos, Sessions and Encores, track 7, Epic/Legacy, 2007
- "Further On Down The Road: Albert Collins, Lonnie Mack, Roy Buchanan Live at Carnegie Hall: Roy Buchanan musician, Lonnie Mack musician, Albert Collins musician: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
- Guterman, Rolling Stone, December 1, 1988
- "G.E. Smith – Rock 'N' Roll Bash Artist Profile – Event: 2/22/14 « « Rock and Roll for Children Foundation Rock and Roll for Children Foundation". Rockandrollforchildren.org. February 22, 2014. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- ""Live! – Attack of the Killer V" Review". Members.tripod.com. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- Unsung Guitar Hero: Lonnie Mack
- "Swampland:Lonnie Mack". Swampland.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Sasha Koledin (April 22, 2016). "Lonnie Mack – September 22, 1991 Tribute RIP". YouTube. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Baber, Bo (May 31, 2000). "Review of Franktown Blues". Warehousecreek.com. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- "Lonnie Mack – Biography – Amoeba Music". Amoeba.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Poconut.com". Poconut.com. Archived from the original on February 14, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- In 2006, Mack played at a liver-transplant benefit concert for Pure Prairie League singer-bassist Michael Reilly."Photo of Mack playing at concert". Pureprairieleague.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- [dead link]
- John Soeder, The Plain Dealer. "Guitar stars pay tribute to Les Paul in Cleveland concert". cleveland.com. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- Lonnie Mack sat in with my band Sat night... | The Gear Page
- "clearwaterseablues.com". Clearwaterseablues.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival 2010 Setlists". setlist.fm. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Lonnie Mack Profile". Facebook.com. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
- Lawson Microphones (April 8, 2014). ""Memphis" with Lonnie Mack and Gene Lawson (original drummer)". YouTube. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Lonnie Mack Comes Back to Life". Rockabillyhall.com. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- "Bobby Boyd profile at". Bobbyboydband.com. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- Lonnie Mack (June 20, 2011). "The Times Ain't Right.rzmmpj.mp4". YouTube. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Writer, Russ Corey Staff. "Shoals musicians recall Lonnie Mack as great guitarist, singer". Timesdaily.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
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