Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Lonnie Mack - Home At Last (1977 us, pleasant blues country rock)

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

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

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

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

Disgusted with the record business, Mack retreated back to Indiana for a while, eventually signing with Capitol and waxing a couple of obscure, country-based LPs. Finally, at Vaughan's behest, Mack abandoned his Indiana comfort zone for hipper Austin, Texas, and began to reassert himself nationally. Vaughan masterminded the stunning Strike Like Lightning in 1985; later that year, Mack co-starred with Alligator labelmates Albert Collins and Roy Buchanan at Carnegie Hall (a concert marketed on home video as Further on Down the Road). Lonnie Mack died in Nashville in April 2016 at the age of 74. 
by Bill Dahl
1. Running Wild - 4:51
2. My House - 3:16
3. Funky Country Living - 3:24
4. Lay Some Loving On Me - 2:21
5. Glad That I'm Home - 3:23
6. Love And You And Me - 3:01
7. Britches (Mike Durham) - 2:09
8. Drive To The Country - 2:41
9. The Other Side - 3:56
10.Give Of Your Love - 2:09
11.Outskirts Of Town - 2:30
All compositions by Lonnie Mack except where noted

*Lonnie Mack - Banjo, Guitar, Vocals
*Bill Putnam - Bass, Electric Guitar
*Billy Puett - Saxophone
*David Briggs - Clavinet, Piano, Electric Piano
*David Byrd - Piano, Vocals
*Dennis Good - Trombone
*George Tidwell - Trumpet
*Jesse Boyce Bass
*Johnny Gimble - Fiddle, Mandolin
*Kenny Buttrey - Drums
*Larrie Londin - Drums
*Quad's Children - Vocals 
*Russ Hicks - Steel Guitar
*Stuart Basore - Dobro Steel Guitar
*Terry McMillan - Harmonica, Jew's-Harp, Percussion

1969  Lonnie Mack - Whatever's Right (2003 Sundazed remaster) 
1969  Lonnie Mack - Glad I'm In The Band (2003 Sundazed remaster)