MACK ALLEN SMITH
Born 20 October 1938, Carroll County, Mississippi
Mack Allen Smith spent his childhood in an area known as "Little Texas", which is out in the country about ten miles from North Carrollton, Mississippi. The Smith family moved to Carrollton in the early fifties. Mack Allen was exposed to country and blues music at an early age. In 1954, while in high school, he became lead singer in his first band. In January 1957, Mack Allen joined the Marines and left for a two-year tour of duty in California. Back in civilian life, he reformed his band, Mack Allen Smith and the Flames, a band that would perform under that name for 25 years, until October 1984. They auditioned for Ernie Barton at Sun Records in 1959 and recorded three songs, "Kansas City", "Sandy Lee" and "Mean Woman Blues". These lingered in the Sun vaults until 1981, when they were released on the Dutch LP "Rock And Roll Blues" (Redita LP 124). For reasons best known to Redita owner Robert Loers, the three tracks were credited to "Bill Higgins".
The group had its first proper release in 1962, on the Vee-Eight label from Nashville : "Got My Mojo Working"/"I'm A Lover" (Vee- Eight 1005), which was recorded at the Hi studio in Memphis. After a second release on Vee-Eight ("Hobo Man"), they moved to the Statue label in Memphis for three singles : covers of "Such A Night" and "It's Only Make Believe" and what may be Mack's best known number, "Skeleton Fight" (1964), which has been reissued on eight different CD compilations.
After five further singles on small labels, Mack Allen and his Flames were contracted (in 1970) to the Delta Sound label, which gave them the chance to record a double-LP of new material, issued in 1972. Five more LP's would be released between 1975 and 1982, mostly for European (UK, Dutch) labels, but these are all mixtures of 1960s and 1970s recordings from a variety of labels and none of them was recorded as an album.
>From 1971 to 1976 Smith operated his own nightclub in Greenwood, Mississippi, Mack Allen's Town & Country Club. In 1975 he signed a deal with Johnny Vincent's reactivated Ace label, where he recorded what is probably his wildest rocker, the exuberant "King Of Rock & Roll" (Ace 3011). Great lyrics : "Elvis Presley have you heard the news, I'm gonna walk all over your blue suede shoes." Ace also released an LP by Smith with the same title ("King Of Rock & Roll"). In 1979 Smith travelled to England for a successful two-week tour. His last recordings came out in 1981. Three years later, Mack Allen decided to retire from music to spend more time with his family. He didn't perform for 18 years, but was persuaded by his younger brother, Barry, to make a comeback in 2002. Since then the self-proclaimed King of Rock n Roll has performed regularly with members of his old band. He lives currently in Greenwood, MS.
Mack Allen Smith is also an author. He started working on a novel in the 1960s, but didn't finish it until 1993. It was published in 1996 by Colonial Press in Birmingham under the title "Honky-Tonk Addict". It is a semi-biographical story about a rockabilly singer from Mississippi. This was followed by a second, self-published book "Looking Back One Last Time : A Memoir", in 2002. In addition to these books, Smith has written five children's stories and over one hundred songs.
More info : http://www.arts.state.ms.us/folklife/artist.php?dirname=smith_mackallen www.rockabillyhall.com/MackAllenSmith.html www.shs.starkville.k12.ms.us/mswm/ (Not sure if the last two links - and the first one below - will work, I could only approach them via "In cache".)
Discographies: www.rockabillyhall.com/MackAllenSmithDis.html and at http://www.wangdangdula.com/ (no direct link)
Acknowledgements : Pete Hoppula, Terry Gordon, Rockabilly Hall of Fame
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