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):

(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)

(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)

(Apollo 417; January, 1950)
An exuberant tale that’s told with a joyous authenticity – both lyrically and vocally – which combine to overcome the slightly too modest backing by Bobby Smith’s band who could use another belt of the hard stuff they’re serving up at this party. (8)

(Apollo 417; January, 1950)
A rather shallow song lyrically is done no favors by Mack’s declaratory bellowing which strips it of any nuance and while the backing from Bobby Smith’s crew is certainly adequate it doesn’t add enough to the equation to compensate for the song’s weaknesses. (3)

(Apollo 422; May, 1950)
A seven month old track cut in Mack’s first session as a rock vocalist manages to come off okay thanks to his lusty enthusiasm, but as the follow up to his breakthrough hit this didn’t advance his cause any when it came to positioning him as a budding star. (5)

(Apollo 422; May, 1950)
Though hampered by outdated horn charts and a rather weak story, Mack showed early promise with infectiously energetic vocals aided by a good sax break, but unfortunately he’d already done better in the nine months since this was cut making it seem like a step backwards. (4)

(Savoy 853; July, 1952)
A welcome return to the fold for Mack who might not deliver anything innovative here, just a standard story with a cut and dried approach, but all of the parts fit nicely and with his vocal enthusiasm and a good sax and guitar break this doesn’t need anything more to work. (6)