Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Lonnie Mack - Memphis Wham!dotdotdot
artworkLonnie Mack's signature guitar sound was contemporary with the surf sound, being mostly released in 1963 and 1964. While he influenced it from the side only slightly, he is often credited with being a primary influence, or more rightly a pioneer of power chord blues rock, though most of his material was cut from an upbeat country perspective. This release finally brings "Wham!" to CD. Still to come is his grand cover of Buck Owens' "Buckaroo." Incidentally, for the genealogist among you, his real name is Lonnie McIntosh.
Picks: Memphis, Wham!, The Bounce, Down And Out, Suzie Q, Down In The Dumps, Gee Baby, Chicken Pickin', From Me To You, Turn On Your Lovelight, The Freeze, Cry, Cry, Cry, Tension [Part 1], Tension [Part 2]

Track by Track Review


Memphis dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Like the Surfaris' "Wipe Out," "Memphis" and "Wham!" were recorded to consume twenty minutes of leftover studio time. Both were solid hits in 1963. This is a highly rhythmic track, infectious and playful in a post Chuck Berry world.

Wham! dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is one of the GREAT RI tracks out there, and it's taken its bloody time getting to CD. "Wham!" is just plain infectious. It's use of whammy, the early dominance of power chords, and the flights of joy in the performance are all top notch.

The Bounce dotdotdot
Country R&B (Instrumental)

This is an instrumental treatment of the Olympics' vocal dance number, with Lonnie Mack's swirling guitar and a chorus. Fun, but not particularly great.

Down And Out dotdotdot
Country Blues Rock (Instrumental)

"Down And Out" is a glorious slow blues strained through that Mack swirl. Gnarly light hearted playing and real blues feel.

Suzie Q dotdotdot
Country Rock (Instrumental)

"Suzie Q" is a classic rock tune. From it's launch with Dale Hawkins in the mid fifties on Chess to it's long tortured glory under the Golliwogs (soon to become Creedence Clearwater Revival), this tune has inspired a ton of artists. Right in the middle of the stream comes Lonnie Mack to make it more bluesy and swirly, more fluid and artful.

Down In The Dumps dotdotdot
Country Blues (Instrumental)

"Down In The Dumps" is a stilted bluesy romp, with an Eddie Angel feel and a swirling tone. It's a basic jam.

Gee Baby dotdotdot
Country Blues Rock (Instrumental)

"Gee Baby" is a previously unreleased slow smoky club bluesy number, sultry and saucy.

Chicken Pickin' dotdotdot
Country Rock (Instrumental)

Speed is the order of the day. This previously unreleased number wails... it's a rapid fire rolling blueser with flashy lead work, like B. B. King at double speed.

From Me To You dotdotdot
Country Blues Rock (Instrumental)

"From Me To You" is previously unreleased. It's the Beatles' tune morphed considerably to accommodate Mack's style. A mid tempo number with gorgeous playing.

Turn On Your Lovelight dotdotdot
Country Blues Rock (Instrumental)

This previously unreleased version of the rock classic simply wails. Fiery and fun, it's infectious and stunning. Rawk and roll! The released version was titled "Lonnie On The Move."

The Freeze dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I recorded this live at Psychotronic Surf, a KFJC event I co-hosted with Robert Emmett. It was a variation on his Psychotronic Film Festival with a beach movie theme, a vintage beach flick, and lots of trailers and period TV ads, and a real surf band in the middle. This track shows off the live crunch the band possessed. Fine tight performance.

Cry, Cry, Cry dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a silly introduction to the last two special tracks Rick and friends laid down in what Rick calls "Swami Bows" to Uncle Al and I for the years of support and friendship. Both of us are very honored.

Tension [Part 1] dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Country riffs, playful tones hinting of chicken coupes and corn on the cob, and rhythmic drive merge in this infectiously enjoyable track. This slightly country tune is a heart felt dedication to our mutual good friend Uncle Al, a man who gave Rick a gorgeous 1964 Fender Jaguar one Christmas just because he like the way Rick played. Al has been a long time supporter of surf music, and has always been there for me in my leve recordings and events. His technical exp[ertise and critical ear are priceless. Al is a one of a kind human being I am priviledged to call my friend.

Tension [Part 2] dotdotdot
Fifties (Instrumental)

This 1958 instro was an oddity for two reasons. First, it was a guitar instro instead of sax, as was most common in the fifties. Second, it featured the even rarer use of guitar tinkering for effects, namely the simulation of a mosquito's annoying buzz. Mostly a progression, was melody free, but gutty and primitive.