The litany of soul music deaths rolls on with the news that Sir Mack Rice
has died aged 82. Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Mack is best known as the writer of possibly the most played blues song ever, Mustang Sally, which is included in the repertoire of many blues bands, good and bad. Moving to Detroit he joined the Falcons, whose members included Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett and Joe Stubbs. He recorded solo for Lu-Pine and had success with Mustang Sally with Blue Rock, although it was Pickett who enjoyed the giant hit of course. He recorded a number of singles for Stax in the late sixties, including Mini Skirt Minnie and had one 45 released in the UK, Love's A Mother Brother, recorded for Atco in 1969. It was as a song writer that he was best known, with the Staples Singers' Respect Yourself, Johnny Taylor's Cheaper To Keep Her and Rufus Thomas's Funky Penguin among his most successful.
Mack played at the Porretta Soul Festival in 2007 and at the Ponderosa Stomp in 2011. At Porretta I wrote: 'Finally it was the turn of the 'Old Gangsta' Sir Mack Rice, looking remarkably fit and sporting ginger hair. If anyone has the right to sing the ubiquitous Mustang Sally it's him, since he wrote it, and he didn't disappoint.'
At the Stomp, looking noticeably slimmer (pictured below with Skip Pitts), he was backed by the Bo-Kays, including Skip Pitts, Ben Cauley, Archie Turner and Howard Grimes, so was in the very best company, as befits a soul legend. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwNcQQAp8Dk
Here is one of Mack with me at Porretta.
The Vinyl Word also says goodbye to bluegrass pioneer Ralph Stanley
, who has died aged 89, to Bernie Worrell,
'the Wizard of Woo', who was keyboardist with Parliament and Funkadelic, and Henry McCullough
, who was bass guitarist and vocalist with sixties group Eire Apparent and later played with Wings, Joe Cocker, Spooky Tooth, Eric Burdon and many others.