Lonnie Mack

Strike Like Lightning
Lonnie Mack

Lonnie Mack hadn’t released an album in eight years when this comeback effort arrived in January of 1985. His first of three for Alligator Records, it brought Mack out of obscurity and marked the dawn of a professional second act that was celebrated by some of rock’s royalty.

Upon its release, Strike Like Lightning underscored the fact that Mack hadn’t declined musically – the staggering power and speed that were hallmarks of his early-’60s instrumentals like “Memphis” and “Chicken Pickin’” were still intact. Also making the release noteworthy was Mack’s co-producer – Stevie Ray Vaughan – who guests throughout. SRV’s trademark Strat trades breaks with Mack’s ’58 Flying V on “Satisfy Susie” and “Double Whammy,” the latter a faithful but turbocharged reading of Mack’s 1963 classic “Wham!” The two trade licks and share vocal duties on the concise “If You Have to Know,” and “Oreo Cookie Blues” takes things down to the Delta, with SRV on the early-’30s National Duolian he’d later hold on the cover of In Step.

Lonnie plays with fury and intensity on the slow-burning “Stop,” and turns tender and soulful on the piano-laden ballad “Falling Back In Love With You.” This is a document of a blues-rock pioneer’s revival, now on 140-gram vinyl.

This article originally appeared in VG’s August 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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