-- By Brett Stillo
Rock & Roll guitarist Lonnie Mack died the same day as Prince. Call it fate, call it show business... whatever, but the death of a big name celebrity will always overshadow the death of a lesser name. C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Farrah Fawcett, or Groucho Marx all were pushed to the back pages as well.
Lonnie Mack and Prince share a connection beyond a date in an obituary. Both of them played the electric guitar like proverbial bats out of hell. They were players among players with a command of the instrument beyond mere technique. Indeed, their fingers seemed electric, boosting the sound and texture of their guitar solos to stratospheric levels.
Mack, born in 1941, was a first generation Rock and Roller -- part of an echelon of pioneer guitar heroes of the early 1960s that included Duane Eddy, Dick Dale, and Link Wray. Among his peers, however, Mack was ahead of the curve with a cutting-edge guitar style born from the formative sounds of Blues, Gospel, and Bluegrass. Mack took these traditional elements and supercharged them to create a raw, electrifying sound that screamed from his trademark Gibson Flying V, “Number 7” (the seventh model to come out of the factory in the Flying V’s original run in 1958).
-- By Brett Stillo
Head to the Vinyl Beat website to check out extensive LP label guides and wild cover galleries!
You didn’t have to be named King to be a blues master…but it helped! The three kings of the blues were Albert, B.B., and Freddie King. They were all great, but Freddie King rocked the hardest. He was also the only one to have instrumental hits. And, like the others he could also sing the heck out of the blues.
Freddie roughly had two stages to his career. While with King Records (of course!) he started having instrumental hits in the early 1960s. Tunes like “Hideaway,” “The Stumble,” “San-Ho-Zay,” “Sen-Sa-Shun,” and “Side Tracked” put him on the map as a major guitar slinger. Then in 1967 he signed with the Atlantic subsidiary, Cotillion Records, and was able to break out of the chitlin’ circuit and into the rock world. He made a couple of interesting albums, then got his major break by signing with Shelter Records. He then made three wonderful albums, taking the blues to new and exciting places with tunes such as “Going Down,” “Palace of the King,” and “Livin’ on the Highway.”
Australian duo The Black Ryder are joining us at Amoeba SF for a live set and signing on Sunday, May 17th. Their latest album, The Door Behind the Door, is their much-anticipated follow-up to their devastatingly textured, swirling 2010 debut, Buy The Ticket, Take the Ride.
Renowned for their spellbinding guitar-fueled wall of sound, it's only fitting that The Black Ryder are giving away a Fender Squier Jazzmaster guitar in honor of their appearance at Amoeba SF. Come down to Amoeba San Francisco to enter to win! Contest ends May 18th.
Today, the world lost a giant of music, as Maestro Paco de Lucia passed away, at 66 years young, from a heart attack at a resort in Mexico. “Paco lived as he wished and died playing with his children beside the sea,” said a statement from de Lucia’s family published on the websites of Spanish newspapers.
Paco took the Flamenco style and tradtition of the elders in the genre and blasted off into his own universe, to some early criticism, owning every note of his huge legacy and backing up all his moves with incredible chops and technique. I had many unforgettable chances to see Paco in person doing his thing, each a unique and unpredictable experience, except for the sheer technical mastery of his instrument always present. I also took away from these shows Paco’s palpable confidence, his air of “badass”-ness that deservedly asserted his own internal awareness of what he was doing in the moment. I lament his passing, and will miss him tremendously. Adios, Paco.
Fortunately we have much in the visual and audio realms to see and hear Paco, and to mark the absolutely inimitable place that Paco held in the music landscape. The 2-CD set, En Vivo Conciertos, won a Grammy and is a most enjoyable album, displaying Paco’s genius live, and represents the last tour he did almost exactly. Amoeba has some true gems of Paco’s here.
Congratulations to Brandon, the lucky winner of our Gibson Guitar contest! Brandon won a limited edition Gibson Silverburst Flying V guitar with a case and a $50 Amoeba gift certificate.
Thanks to our friends at TrueTone Music and Gibson for the guitar!
And thanks to Brandon's family (Karen, Cisco, Sophia and Alex) for their patience listening to him wail out on his brand new axe.