These 19 Flying V-soaked sides pack the same punch and hail from the same mid-'60s timeframe as Mack's seminal LP Wham of That Memphis Man. He unleashes his vibrato-drenched axe on the torrid "Soul Express," "Lonnie on the Move," "Florence of Arabia," and an astonishing instrumental version of "Stand by Me" that'll send aspiring guitarists' jaws crashing to the floor. For a change of pace, "Men at Play" mines a jazzy walking groove to equally satisfying ends.
With a passel of familiar faces in the cast (ex-James Brown bassist Tim Drummond, pianist Dumpy Rice, harpist Rusty York), the reclusive Mack rocks up some memorable dusties his way – the Falcons' "I Found a Love," and Bobby Bland's "Share Your Love with Me," Little Walter's "My Babe," and Jimmy Reed's chestnut "Baby What You Want Me to Do," along with his own "Gotta Be an Answer".
The third and last album that Lonnie Mack recorded for Elektra in his brief stint with the label in the late '60s and early '70s, The Hills of Indiana must have surprised quite a few listeners familiar with his earlier work. There were little of the blues-rock-R&B-oriented guitar fireworks that many of his earlier recordings had boasted. In contrast, it was a pretty laid-back affair with plenty of roots rock, country-rock, and early-'70s singer/songwriter influences. Steel guitar and fiddle augmented the usual rock lineup, string and horn arrangements were devised by Norbert Putnam (who played bass on much of the record), and there were liberal touches of gospel in the songwriting, singing, and occasional background vocals.
On IN THE BEGINNING, the second release on Pilgrimage Recording, his imprint label which he founded in 2012, Dr. Lonnie Smith revisits, recontextualizes, and reimagines a dozen songs culled from his first decade as a recording artist. The end product is a document as distinctive and accomplished as any within Smith’s iconic canon.
Deluxe Edition rounds up 15 highlights from Lonnie Brooks' late-'70s and '80s recordings for Alligator. Like many Alligator artists, Brooks made records that were just a little too slick to demonstrate the depth of his talents and the grittiness of his playing, yet they still remained solid, rock-inflected contemporary blues albums. The bulk of the highlights from his records are here, making it a fine introduction to Brooks' most popular recordings.
A great lost chapter in the career of organist Lonnie Smith — a session recorded in the 80s, but done with the simple straightforward soul jazz groove of earlier sides on Muse and Prestige ! Lonnie's working here in a loose and free trio format — with Melvin Sparks on guitar and the great Alvin Queen on drums — rolling out over longish tracks in an open-ended style that almost recalls more of the feel of Don Patterson's great organ trio sides than it does the heavier funk of Smith's early years. The recording quality is great — very faithful to the best tones of the Hammond.