Electric Blues
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Lonnie Mack
Live! Attack of the Killer V
Alligator 1990
Review Published July 15, 1999
Artist Spotlite on Lonnie Mack


Track Listing
  1. Riding The Blinds
  2. Natural Disaster
  3. Stop
  4. Medley: Camp Washington Chili / If You Have To Know
  5. Satisfy Susie
  6. I Found A Love
  7. The Move
  8. Cincinnati Jail
EB Rating - 4.5

    Lonnie Mack's music is too diverse to be considered strictly blues-rock. While he has a strong foundation in blues, he's also deeply rooted in early rock and roll and also country. Fortunately, at least in my view, Lonnie's country roots are mostly subdued on all of his Alligator releases, leaving a good mix of the former two styles.
    Lonnie is an excellent and versatile guitarist. He uses the unique sound of the Magnatone amplifier combined with an aggressive whammy bar attack to produce a very individual sound. He can play with slow emotional passion or lightning fast licks, as the mood strikes him. In fact, Lonnie trades licks with SRV on another of his Alligator releases, Strike Like Lightning, and there's no apparent need for Stevie to hold back. Vocally, Lonnie is best suited to powerful, soulful balads, but is capable of singing just about any style.
    Lonnie puts on a high energy live performance that's among the best I've ever seen. He has a very commanding stage presence and develops a strong connection with his audience. Unfortunately, he doesn't tour much these days, but he does get out from time to time. If you enjoy guitar oriented blues-rock and old fashioned rock 'n roll and ever have the opportunity to attend one of his shows, don't miss it. I guarantee you'll come away stunned. You can check his official website to see if he's coming to your area.
    While there's nothing like the real thing, Live! Attack of the Killer V does an admirable job of delivering the raw energy and power of one of Lonnie's live performances. He tears through an eight-song set of mostly barn scorchers, but does slow down for a couple of soulful ballads. Although there are only eight tracks, the CD totals over 50 minutes of music. This means plenty of extended cuts, but Lonnie never rambles aimlessly, and keeps things interesting throughout the performance. One of the tracks is a rousing two-song medley of Camp Washington Chili and If You Have To Know, which is one of my favorite sections of the CD. And the set's closer, Cincinnati Jail, is a Lonnie Mack blues classic.
    Lonnie Mack is part of rock 'n roll and blues rock history. Players such as Rick Derringer and Stevie Ray Vaughan have cited him as a major influence. You owe it to yourself to have a piece of this history in your music collection.


Visitor Comments

    I own few discs (of the too many I own) which I would rate a 5.0. I do reserve ratings like that for buys like SRV, Hendrix, etc. who were consumate players with good supporting players and material. I rated the Lonnie Mack CD as a 5.0 (a 4.5 from Herm is a pretty good rating, too) based largely upon personal preference. Lonnie Mack is a national treasure. I've been fortunate enough to see him live fairly recently and I regularly communicate with his wife via email, as we are all from the same part of the world and have mutual friends. I've been spreading the word on Mr. Mack most of my adult life to anyone who likes this style of music. I agree with your comments about his country influence, and I'm also grateful that it is not present in his live disc. The live disc to me is worth owning from a historical perspective, if for no other reason. It is from guys like this that you perceive the total evolution of electric blues/rock music. Lonnie Mack has been a pioneer, of sorts. The Attack of the Killer V CD is intense, powerful, and soulful as well. His rendition of "Stop" on this disc is a definitive musical definition of electric blues. To hear him play it in person will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. In my opinion, this disc is one that every fan of electric blues music should own.
Tom - 7/15/99
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