BIOGRAPHY AND DISCOGRAPHY


A well traveled singer who recorded alongside some big name musicians for a number of prominent labels, scoring a few big regional hits along the way, but who never could make the jump to the level of national star despite remarkably consistent output.

Born Mack Edmondson he came out Brooklyn where he’d drew notice at the Baby Grand Club. His opportunities to record came quickly, first with former Duke Ellington sideman, trumpeter Cootie Williams, for Mercury Records. Perhaps he’d been enlisted by Williams because he was capable of singing with a similar vocal tone to Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson (albeit without Cleanhead’s distinctive squawk) with whom Williams had scored some huge hits in the mid-1940’s. He even cut a version of a song Vinson had done with Williams five years earlier. Oddly on the one release he got he was billed as Eddie Mack on one side and Mack Edmundson on the other.

Both sides however were strictly in the jazz-blues hybrid vein which were Williams’s stock in trade, but when Mack went to Apollo Records immediately following that he adapted a much looser and more energetic delivery and as such he fell into the same stylistic category as the top rock shouters of the day from Wynonie Harris on down, though not quite as forceful.

His first record on Apollo, “Kind Loving Daddy” never made Billboard’s far more conservative listings but it reigned in the more democratic Cash Box charts, scoring big in New York (where it was in the Top 3 for nearly a month) and Chicago throughout the fall of 1949. His follow-ups on Apollo also scored in his home city but upon leaving that label the next year he struggled to maintain his standing, despite working alongside top musicians at each subsequent stop.

He rejoined Williams for four sides at Derby in 1950 with Willis Jackson on sax which interestingly found him covering two recent country hits, one in a rocking style, the other adhering more to the bygone approach that he’d specialized in during his early go-round with Williams.

Soon after that he found his way to such thriving labels as Savoy and King backed by Lucky Millinder at the latter, though when he appeared on their subsidiary Federal imprint after that he was billed as Pigmeat Peterson, something which certainly wasn’t going to be appealing to an ever more self-consciously astute rock fan, no matter how instantly memorable the name may be.

His early success now becoming ever more distant in the rear view mirror and even though he was still cutting solid records he was now beginning to waver ever so slightly in his commitment to rock ‘n’ roll, never abandoning it completely but increasingly shading his vocals with a slight uptown blues approach, perhaps to match the strengths of those backing him in the studio.

Moving in the wrong way stylistically his chances were drying up and by the time rock reached its commercial zenith and began crossing over Mack’s career had come to an end. Though he was never a first tier star he was far from a non-entity as the 1940’s rock scene gave way to the 1950’s and his relatively small catalog shows an artist with a good grasp of all he was asked to do.
 
 
EDDIE MACK DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

KIND LOVING DADDY
(Apollo 414; November, 1949)
A strong vocal by Mack with some intermittent solid work from the tenor sax, drums and guitar during the instrumental break, pull this run-of-the-mill composition with otherwise jazzy backing up to respectability. (5)

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
(Apollo 414; November, 1949)
A generic story, mismatched instrumental parts and an over-exuberant vocal by Mack adds up to a well-meaning but ill-fitting rock record, their determination to fit in serving as its strongest element. (3)