What the Press is saying about Bobby Mack
“Those guys cook so good I think I actually put on weight while listening.”
Steve Keller – Buddy Magazine
“His fast opening number moved with the power and pace of a freight train and had this fan comparing the music to the exhilaration felt when I first put my head out of the window of a moving car.”
John Pilley, Rip It Up – New Zealand
“From Texas blues, to Rock n’ Roll, to searing slide guitar, Bobby Mack has joined the ranks of the world’s great guitarists.”
Scott Smith, Austin Music Critic
“Try Honeytrap and you’ll be glad you got caught.”
Jim Beal, San Antonio Express News
“Mack and his band play rhythm and blues and Texas-style rock which is a searing and at the same time sultry sound of hot Texas winds, steamy nights and smokey South Texas Road Houses.”
West Coast Blues Review, April/May 1996, No. 16
REVIEW OF: BOBBY MACK & NIGHT TRAIN, HONEYTRAP (Palindrome)
Texas keeps serving up hot roadhouse blues artists; last year it was Alan Haynes and Bert Wills, now this year (recording-wise, any-how) it’s Bobby Mack & Night Train. The usual winning Texas bluesman formula is her again– hot and sweaty guitar-pickin’ with that easily identifiable Texas flavor, natural smooth vocals, a killer band, and top notch original music. So, Mack has got everything he needs to be a bona-fide star; he can sing, play and write, and he’s been on the Texas scene for over 20 years. It sure sounds like his time is here. Palindrome has two releases so far and they’re both winners; the Wilie Foster CD (reviewed elsewhere in this Hot Discs section) and now this baby. Mack and band actually back up Foster on his CD and do a magnificent job. Besides Mack on guitar and vocals, we have Mark Goodwin on keyboards and vocals, Jimmy Pate on drums and Larry Lutz on bass with guest artist Kim Wilson on harp.
Of the 13 tracks, just 2 are standards (“That’s Alright” and “Easy Baby”) and the other 11 are either brand new of obscure enough to seem new. There’s a southern rock influence and certainly an unmistakable Stevie Ray Vaughan influence but Mack is smart enough to not let it get carried away. There’s enough standout tracks here to make this CD a genuine “Boot-to-the-head” surprise- “Honeytrap,” “Come Back Baby,” “Promise Me Love,” and Driving’ Sideways” are all convincingly tough workouts that almost guarantee Bobby Mack and Night Train an uphill future. Once again Texas tuns out another big-time guitarist and band. 4 bottles for a very enjoyable debut CD. More Texas dynamite.
London Times (UK), by John Clarke
WEDNESDAY APRIL 3 1996
100 CLUB, LONDON
THE problem for any Texas blues guitarist is to escape the enormous shadow cast by one of the Lone Star state’s most influential sons, the late Stevie Ray Vaughn. Bobby Mack, born in 1954, is almost an exact contemporary of Vaughan’s. Indeed, when they met in Austin in the early Seventies, they used to hang out in the same bars and jam with the same musicians.
But for Mack the experience of backing such artists as Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and Albert Collins, and a liking for Freddie King and Elmore James, seem to have been enough to give him a niche of his own. With telling, self-composed numbers as Don’t Put No Headstone On My Grave and The Ship’s Going Down, from his new album, Sugar All Night, given a tight, no-frills treatment by Mack, Mark Goodwin on keyboards, Kelly Donnelly on bass and Dan Frezek on drums, Mack is able to distance himself form the rest of the Texas crowd.
In fact, Chicago seems to be as much his spiritual home, as he showed with a soulful reworking of the Tyrone Davis hit Can I Change My Mind? and a relaxed Wang Dang Doodle, leading up to an all-the-plugs-out version of Elmore James’s Talk to Me Baby.
As the 100 Club began to resemble a Texas roadhouse, Mack responded by playing the guitar behind his neck and then behind his back. If the night had been a little longer he’d have probably ended up by picking out tunes with his teeth. For an artist who has been named Texas Music Ambassador to the World by the Texas Senate (the title, says Mack wowed then in Japan), he proved to have all the right credentials.
Blueprint Magazine (UK), by Keith Fitton
REVIEW OF: BOBBY MACK & NIGHTTRAIN
SUGAR ALL NIGHT (PROVOGUE)
Bobby Mack has had a relatively tough time trying to achieve the kind of status some of his fellow Texan blues guitar merchants have realized. This time, his latest studio album, released on Provogue, is by a considerable distance his best yet and showcases an artist more at ease with himself, his identity and musical style. Always a technically gifted guitarist, Mack has occasionally in the past been guilty of over elaboration, but here the style is lean and mean with a reliance on phrasing and rhythmic invention.
The benefits are clear to hear. The mix and excellent production assures a rounded sound which maximizes the balance of instrumentation and allows the music to breathe nicely. The SRV influence is obvious. But here Bobby Mack is maybe more entitled than most to live in the great man’s shadow — hailing from Dallas and moving to Austin at the same time as Steve Ray. “Sooner Or later” has the same sense of southern urgency and vocal scat laced with fiery guitar that characterizes much of Vaughan’s work.
There are only two covers here. Both work well. A version of Charlie Rich’s “Don’t Put No Headstone On My Grave” sparkles with edgy tension and anticipation, whilst Chuck Berry’s “I Want To Be Your Driver” races along at a frantic Schumacher pace.
The self-written tracks have plenty of variety. The title track is an acoustic number with Sonny Boy harmonica by Paul Orta, “Lost My Way,” a Freddie King funk type number with classy drumming by regular band member Dan Frezek. In fact the ensemble playing is tight throughout with Mack using his stage band – Bret Coats pins the bass down and Mark Goodwin adds very useful keyboards.
“The Rest Of My Life” is a fine slow blues – tender without approaching pathos with a lovely solo from Goodwin. “Block Party” is a pure goodtime instrumental that shuffles a long with added handclaps and Texas groove. My favorite track is the catchy “Goodthing” which benefits from a nice soulful feel and backing vocals.
I was surprised by just how good this release is. It’s definitely well worth a serious listen and I am genuinely pleased for Bobby Mack. After all the hard work he’s put in touring these last few years he deserves a break. A mature product from a maturing artist.
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