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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Stop - Lonnie Mack

Lonnie Mack (born Lonnie McIntosh, July 18, 1941, Dearborn County, Indiana, United States) is an American rock, blues and country guitarist and vocalist.

In 1963 and early 1964, he recorded a succession of full-length electric guitar instrumentals which combined blues stylism with fast-picking techniques and a rock 'n' roll beat. The best-known of these are "Memphis", "Wham!", and "Chicken Pickin'". These instrumentals established the standard of virtuosity for a generation of rock guitarists and formed the leading edge of the "blues-rock" guitar genre. Reportedly, the tremolo arm commonly found on electric guitars became known as the "whammy bar", in recognition of Mack's aggressive, rapid manipulation of the pitch-bending device in 1963's "Wham!".

In 1979, music historian Richard T. Pinnell, Ph.D., called 1963's "Memphis" a "milestone of early rock guitar". In 1980, the editors of Guitar World magazine ranked "Memphis" first among rock's top five "landmark" guitar recordings. He is widely regarded today as a pivotal historical figure in expanding the role of the electric guitar in rock. Despite a modest all-career recording output as a rock artist, he has been called "one of the great rock guitarists of all-time". Mack is also regarded as one of the finest early "blue-eyed soul" singers. Crediting both Mack's R&B vocals and his guitar solos, music critic Jimmy Guterman ranked Mack's first album, 1963's The Wham of that Memphis Man!, No. 16 in his book The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time.

Mack released several singles in the '50s and '60s, as well as thirteen original albums spanning a variety of genres between 1963 and 1990. He enjoyed his greatest recognition as a blues-rock singer/guitarist, with productive periods during the '60s and the latter half of the '80s. However, an aversion to notoriety led him to switch musical genres and idle his career as a rock artist for years, even decades, at a time.

In 2011, he announced an upcoming self-published album of informally recorded compositions, including the recently released acoustic blues single "The Times Ain't Right".

Beyond his career as a solo artist, Mack recorded with The Doors, Stevie Ray Vaughan, James Brown, Freddie King, Joe Simon, Ronnie Hawkins, Albert Collins, Roy Buchanan, Dobie Gray and the sons of blues legend Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, among others.

Stan Szelest (February 11, 1943 – January 20, 1991) was an American musician, known for founding an influential blues band in the 1950s and 1960s, Stan and the Ravens, and then later as a keyboardist with The Band
Born in Buffalo, New York, in 1958 Szelest formed Stan and the Ravens, a blues group that became popular in western New York. By 1960 he started to work with Ronnie Hawkins and his backing group The Hawks, staying with them until the next year. Richard Manuel stood in for his place, and The Hawks would later leave Hawkins to form an act of their own, which eventually came to be named The Band. In 1967, Stan and the Ravens broke up, and two of its members, Calandra and Mallaber, joined the group Tony Galla and the Rising Sons, which in 1968 changed its name to "Raven". With David Lucas as producer, the new band recorded the song "Farmer's Daughter", written by Szelest, which helped the band to secure a contract with Columbia Records.

With Manuel's death in 1986, Szelest was called back to The Band when they got a new record deal with CBS Records in 1990. However, he died of a heart attack in 1991 while in Woodstock recording with Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson. Some of his work would later appear on The Band's album Jericho, released in 1993. Szelest was also in Lonnie Mack's band during the 1980s, and can be heard on Mack's album Attack of the Killer V; he can also be seen on several videos playing in Mack's band during that period.
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