Mack, Lonnie

Band members               Related acts

- Jack Brickles -- harp (1969)

- David Briggs -- keyboards (1973)

- Kenneth Butry -- drums (1971)

- David Byrd -- keyboards (1969)

- Ron Christiansen -- cello (1969)

- Tim Drummond -- bass (1969, 85)

- Ron Grayson -- drums (1969)

- Lloyd Greene -- steel guitar (1971)

- Tim Hedding -- keyboards (1969)

- Gene Lawson -- drums (1985)

- Jerry Love -- drums (1969)

- Lonnie Mack (aka Lonnie McIntosh) -- vocals, guitar, bass

- Bill McIntosh -- guitar (1985)

- Dennis O'Neal -- drums (1985)

- Norbert Putnam -- bass (1973)

- Denzil Rice -- keyboards (1969)

- Buddy Spiker -- fiddle (1971)

- Stan Szelest -- keyboards (1985)

- Stevie Ray Vaughan -- lead guitar (1985)

- Rusty York -- harp (1969)



The Alabama State Troupers (Lonnie Mack)





Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Whatever's Right

Company: Elektra

Catalog: EKS-74050

Year: 1969

Country/State: Harrison, Indiana

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: minor sticker tear top right corner

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4783

Price: $9.00

Cost: $1.00


By 1968 guitarist Lonnie Mack had been playing professionally for a decade. Ironically, it took a lengthy article in Rolling Stone magazine to finally capture the attention of major record labels.


Signed by Jac Holzman's Elektra Records, Mack finally seemed poised for the big time.  Produced by Russ Miller, 1969's "Whatever's Right" was a surprise to my ears.  Not exactly a rock album, the resulting mix of blues, gospel and country genres was clearly souped up to appeal to a rock audience.  While the spotlight was clearly on Mack's Gibson Flying V (and his speed of light whammy bar), to my ears the biggest surprise here was Mack's singing.  As exemplified by tracks like 'My Babe, 'What Kind of World Is This?' and his cover of Bobby Womack's 'I Found a Love' the guy actually had a great voice.  Interestingly, the two best songs here are also the only two Mack originals.  'Mr. Healthy Blues' was a killer instrumental that showcases how fast this guy could play, while Elektra marketing executives should have been fired for not having pulled 'Gotta Be An Answer' as a single.  All told a nice introduction to the man's catalog.


"Whatever's Right" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Untouched By Human Love   (D. Roman - N. Simon) - 3:40

2.) I Found a Love   (Bobby Womack - R. Young) - 3:34

3.) Share Your Love with Me    (A. Braggs - D. Malone) - 4:12

4.) Teardrops On Your Letter   (S. Scott - S. Thompson) - 4:12

5.) Baby, What You Want Me To Do   (Jimmy Reed) - 2:52


(side 2)
1.) Mt. Healthy Blues (instrumental)    (Lonnie Mack) - 6:50

2.) What Kind of World Is This?   (Troy Seals) - 4:05

3.) My Babe   (Willie Dixon) - 2:36

4.) Things Have Gone To Pieces   (Leon Payne) - 2:56

5.) Gotta Be An Answer   (Lonnie Mack) - 2:43




Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  The Hills of Indiana

Company: Elektra

Catalog: EKS-74102

Year: 1971

Country/State: Harrison, Indiana

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: die cut cover; original insert

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5454

Price: $10.00


Lonnie Mack's final album for Elektra (see additional comments below) was a modest change of direction.  Co-produced by Mack and Russ Miller, 1971's "The Hills of Indiana" was quite diverse, but clearly reflected the influence of the explosion in singer/songwriters and The Band's style of early Americana.  Anyone looking for another set of Mack's R&B moves was probably somewhat disappointed by the set.  Moreover his typical guitar pyrotechnics were all but absent.  The album certainly started out promisingly.  One of the few tunes recorded in Muscle Shoals, 'Asphalt Outlaw Hero' was a taunt rocker that sported a great melody and a lyric that may have been a little too country for my tastes.  That drawback was compensated for by one of the few memorable guitar solos.  His cover of Carole King's ' A Fine Way To Go' and 'The Man In Me' also had nice guitar solos, though three out of twelve wasn't a very high batting average.  Elsewhere 'Florida', 'Lay It Down', the title track, and 'Rings' were all pretty, but forgettable singer/songwriter tunes. Complete with pedal steel guitar and fiddles, 'Uncle Pen', 'Bicycle Annie' and '' were pure old fashioned country outings.   Don Nix actually handled the lead vocals on the the pretty closing Gospel ballad 'Three Angels'.   As you can tell, this isn't my favorite Mack LP, but then that's just my personnel opinion and some of you may find the collection endearing.  


Elektra also tapped the album for a pair of singles:


- 1971's 'Lay It Down' b/w 'She Even woke Me Up To Say Goodbye' (Elektra catalog number 45715)

- 1971's 'Rings' b/w 'Florida' (Elektra catalog number 45761)


"The Hills of Indiana" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Asphalt Outlaw Hero   (Lonnie Mack - Don Nix) - 3:02

2.) Florida   (Lonnie Mack - Don Nix) - 3:08

3.) Lay It Down   (Gene Thomas) - 3:50

4.) The Hills of Indiana   (Lonnie Mack) - 3:40

5.) Uncle Pen   (Bill Monroe) - 1:48

6.) Bicycle Annie   (Drew Thomason) - 5:10


(side 2)
1.) A Fine Way To Go   (Carole King) - 3:06

2.) Rings   (Eddie Reeves - Alex Harvey) - 3:10

3.) The Man In Me   (Bob Dylan) - 3:09

4.) She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye   (Mickey Newbury - Douglas Gilmore) - 3:20

5.) All Good Things Will Come To Pass   (Lonnie Mack - Don Nix) - 3:27

6.) Three Angels   (Lonnie Mack - Don Nix) - 4:39


Based in part of Mack's interest in promoting Southern music, Elektra President Jac Holzman and Russ Miller agreed to finance an album and promotional tour by a collection of Mack friends and associates under the moniker of The Alabama State Troupers.  Just as the entourage's American tour was about to kick off Mack disappeared.  Holzman's book Follow the Music includes a hysterical segment describing their efforts to track Mack down; his refusal to participate in the tour (biblical visions left him afraid to participate); and their workaround efforts to get the tour launched and underway.





Genre: blues-rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Strike Like Lightning

Company: Alligator

Catalog: AL 4739

Year: 1985

Country/State: Harrison, Indiana

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5324

Price: $15.00


Owning a couple of Lonnie Mack LPs, I grabbed this one the moment I saw it at a yard sale.  It wasn't until a couple of months later that I realized 1985's "Stike Like Lightening" was a pseudo-collaboration between Mack and longtime friend Stevie Ray Vaughan.  


If you're to believe various references, Mack was an earlier inspiration for the late Vaughan (probably true since Vaughan's recording catalog included several Mack songs and he frequently played 'Wham!' in concert).  The two had known each other since the late 1970s and repeatedly talked about some sort of collaboration, but that didn't take place until 1985.


back cover "Strike Like Lightening" photo


The two friends finally got a chance to work together when Mack signed with the Chicago based Alligator label. Given hyped collaborations are normally major disappointments,1985's"Strike Like Lightening" was one of those rare successes.  Co-producing the LP, Mack seemed truly invigorated with his collaborator, turning in some of his best performances in decades.  Probably not a major surprise, but Vaughan's influences were found throughout the set.  While the performance credits weren't clear on the subject, it appears that Mack elected to focus his efforts on the vocals and rhythm guitar duties, allowing Vaughan to handle most of the leads.  Nothing to complain about since Mack's rugged voice seemed to have gotten better with age.  Even something like the keyboard dominated blues number 'Falling Back In Love with You' was rescued by Mack's gritty vocals.  There were a couple of true Mack-Vaughan collaborations so the highlights for true guitar fanatics probably included 'Satisfy Susie' and the instrumentals 'Double Whammy' and 'Oreo Cookie Blues' (check out the latter for some killer Vaughan slide guitar).  Other highlights included the blazing title track and the pair's lone vocal collaboration 'If You Have To Know'.  Nice.  Very nice.


"Strike Lighteningt" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Hound Dog Man   (Tim Drummond) - 4:02

2.) Satisfy Susie   (Lonnie Mack - Tim Drummond) - 4:26

3.) Stop    (Lonnie Mack) - 5:19

4.) Long Way from Memphis   (Lonnie Mack - Tim Drummond - Jennings) - 3:20

5.) Double Whammy (instrumental)   (Lonnie Mack) - 3:35


(side 2)
1.) Strike Like Lightening   (Lonnie Mack - Tim Drummond - Jennings - Stevie Ray Vaughan) - 3:39

2.) Falling Back In Love with You   (Lonnie Mack) - 4:55

3.) If You Have To Know   (Lonnie Mack - Tim Drummond - Jennings) - 4:31

4.) You Ain't Got Me   (Lonnie Mack) - 2:37

5.) Oreo Cookie Blues (instrumental)   (Lonnie Mack - Wilkerson) - 4:48


YouTube has a lot of Mack material.  Here are links to a couple of Mack/Vaughan live performances:

('Oreo Cookie Blues')

('Double Whammy')





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