Double Whammy: The Life & Death of Lonnie Mack

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 20, 2016 06:04pm | Post a Comment

Lonnie Mack-- 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).

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Classical schmassical.

Posted by Job O Brother, November 16, 2009 04:38pm | Post a Comment

Not all classical music is classical music. Classical music, in its true sense, conforms to a particular style and time period – not an exact time, but roughly from 1750 to 1825. Even so, much of what we casually call “classical music” was written before and after that chunk o’ time. So what gives?

Think of it this way: We call a lot of music “rock music” even when it doesn’t conform to the chord progressions and beats of rock & roll. There’s a huge difference between Ike Turner’s "Rocket 88" and The Cardigans’ "Lovefool," yet they both get played on so-called rock music stations.

So, classical music can either refer to the above mentioned period of Western music, or it can be a generic, blanket term for all that stuff you hear on the classical music station, or find when shopping the Classical Music Section at Amoeba Music.

The reason it’s good to know a little about the periods and sub-genres of classical music is it will help you find what you like. For instance, I’m a huge fan of what’s known as the Impressionist style of classical music, so if I find an album of some composer I’ve never heard of – like say, Sir Pooppants McNaughtybits – and he’s described as an Impressionist, there’s a very good chance that I will enjoy his music. In addition, if I see that the compositions on the album are concertos for clarinet (an instrument I love), I know it’s highly likely I’ll love it. (You know what a concerto is because you read my last blog entry.)

Hunting for classical music kinda becomes an exercise in chemistry. You say, “I know I love Baroque music, and I know I love violins, and I know I want something intimate sounding – something that won’t overwhelm me but help me study for my taxidermy exam.”

So, you go to your favorite Amoeba Music employee and offer these guidelines:

Violin prominent
Intimate and easy to study to

And they can offer some suggestions, like the Mystery Sonatas by Heinrich Ignaz Biber

“But wait,” you coo softly into my ear as you cuddle my tender flesh and lift a chocolate bon-bon to my lips, “I still don’t know the different time periods. Like, what is Baroque?”

I take my time eating the confection before I answer you.

The most important periods of classical music to know are probably:

Early music
Medieval… 500 – 1400
Renaissance… 1400 – 1600

Common practice
Baroque… 1600 – 1760
Classical… 1730 – 1820
Romantic… 1815 – 1910

Modern… 1900 – today

Within these guidelines (and they are just guidelines, always and often up for debate) there are many sub-genres, like Impressionism, Serialism, Musique mesurée, and McNaughtybitism – none of which I’m going to try to cover here, but all of which fall into one of the major time periods listed above. In beginning your orientation of classical music, don’t worry too much about the sub-genres, okay? That’s for later days.

But as for the major time periods, let’s pay some attention… in my next blog. For now, I am distracted by your endless supply of candies.