Big Mack (or Mac) – who may have been an Arkansas truck driver or the better known blues singer Willie McNeal – had a surprise hit with “Rough Dried Woman” in 1966. This raw, crude even, blues was produced by Chicago record man Don Clay who added Mack’s screaming uninhibited vocal to a Hubert Sumlin instrumental track he had in the can. When Clay leased it to Stan Lewis it was a huge regional seller in the south and even made it to the national charts. Lewis put out a follow up, the excellent double sided “Bad Affair” and “That’s The Way You Treat Your Woman” which were considerably more sophisticated than the hit but lacked the novelty to make it a big seller, despite another uncompromising vocal from Mack. I love both of these tracks – totally hard hitting Windy City tough R & B.
They were produced by Clay who tried for one last time to get another hit on Mack with a 45 on his own Wise World label. Sadly “Messin’” wasn’t up to much but the other side was quite different to anything Mack had recorded before. Come To Me has the names of (Mike) Terry, (Fred) Bridges and (Robert) Eaton on it and it is no doubt thanks to these very famous Chi-Town individuals that this ballad is featured on these pages. Fortunately they didn’t try to get a smoother style out of Mack whose voice here sounds as rough and untutored as any fan could wish, with a wonderfully throaty delivery and jagged tone. He’s accompanied by a small male group (the producers themselves?) and a rhythm section. And sadly that was to be Mack’s last recording – he really should have made more discs.
Rough dried woman / Pt 2 ~ DAWN 101 / RONN 8 (1967)
Bad affair / That’s the way you treat your woman ~ JEWEL 787 (1967)
Come to me / Messin’ ~ WISE WORLD 1003 (1968)
Note ~ You can find "Rough Dried Woman" on almost every blues compilation of Stan Lewis' output.