The Lonnie Mack Biographical Page

"You got me tonight [Tommy Bolin], but I'll get you tomorrow night!"

When Lonnie Mack sings the blues, country strains are sure to infiltrate. Conversely, if he digs into a humping rockabilly groove, strong signs of deep-down blues influence are bound to invade. Par for the course for any musician who cites both Bobby Bland and George Jones as pervasive influences. Fact is, Lonnie Mack's lightning-fast, vibrato-enriched, whammy bar-hammered guitar style has influenced many a picker too -- including Stevie Ray Vaughan, who idolized Mack's early singles for Fraternity and later co-produced and played on Mack's 1985 comeback LP for Alligator, Strike like Lightning. Tommy Bolin got his 1st professional road-touring experience as part of Lonnie Mack's backing band for nearly a year in the late '60's.

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

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

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

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

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

Mack's Alligator encore, Second Sight, was a disappointment for those who idolized Mack's playing -- it was more of a singer/songwriter project. He temporarily left Alligator in 1988 for major-label prestige at Epic, but Roadhouses and Dancehalls was too diverse to easily classify and died a quick death. Mack's most recent album from 1990, Live! Attack of the Killer V, was captured on tape at a suburban Chicago venue called FitzGerald's and once again showed why Lonnie Mack is venerated by anyone who's even remotely into savage guitar playing.
-- Biograpical information and most text by Bill Dahl, All-Music Guide (all rights reserved)


1963 The Wham of that Memphis Man Alligator
1969 Glad I'm in the Band Elektra
1969 Whatever's Right Elektra
1970 For Collectors Only Elektra
1971 The Hills of Indiana Elektra
1974 Memphis Sounds of Lonnie Mack Trip
1977 Home at Last One Way
1977 Lonnie Mack with Pismo One Way
1985 Strike like Lightning Alligator
1987 Second Sight Alligator
1990 Attack of the Killer V: Live Alligator
1992 Lonnie on the Move Ace
Road Houses & Dance Halls Epic
Dueling Banjos QCA


1965 King, Freddie Bonanza of Instrumentals Guitar
1967 Brown, James Raw Soul Guitar
1970 Doors Morrison Hotel/Hard Rock Cafe Bass
1970 Ackles, David Subway to the Country Guitar
1970 Doors Morrison Hotel Bass
1974 Gray, Dobie Hey Dixie Guitar
1974 Jans, Tom Tom Jans Guitar
1977 Nesmith, Michael From a Radio Engine to the Photon W Guitar
1983 Doors Alive, She Cried Bass
1986 Genuine Houserockin' Mu Genuine Houserockin' Music, Vol. 1 Guitar, Guitar (Electric), Vocals, Producer
1986 Genuine Houserockin' Mu Genuine Houserockin' Music Producer
1987 History of Rock Instrum History of Rock Instrumentals, Vol.
1987 More Party Classics More Party Classics Producer
1987 Genuine Houserockin' Mu Genuine Houserockin' Music, Vol. 2 Guitar (Electric), Vocals, Producer
1988 Genuine Houserockin' Mu Genuine Houserockin' Music, Vol. 3 Guitar (Electric)
1990 All-Time Great Instrume All-Time Great Instrumental Hits, V
1990 Rock N' Roll Guitar Cla Rock N' Roll Guitar Classics Guitar
1991 Ward, Robert Fear No Evil Liner Notes
1993 Solid Gold Rock & Roll Vocals
1994 Hot Rockin Blues Hot Rockin' Blues
1996 Alligator Records Alligator Records -- 25th Anniversa
1996 Dement, Iris Way I Should Guitar (Electric)
1996 Doors Greatest Hits Bass
1996 Celebration of Blues: T Celebration of Blues: The Great Gui Guitar
1996 Celebration of Blues: G Celebration of Blues: Great Acousti Guitar (Acoustic), Vocals
1996 Celebration of Blues: G Celebration of Blues: Great Guitari Guitar
1996 Perkins, Wayne Mendo Hotel Guitar
1997 House of Blues: Essenti House of Blues: Essential Southern Photography
Sluggers Over the Fence Guitar
Very Best of the Oldies Very Best of the Oldies, Vol. 4
Original Rhythm and Blu Original Rhythm and Blues Hits, Vol
Texana Dames Texana Dames Guitar
Genuine Houserockin' Mu Genuine Houserockin' Music, Vol. 4 Guitar, Vocals, Producer

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