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Don Nix (born September 27, 1941, Memphis, Tennessee) is an American songwriter, composer, arranger, musician, and author. Although cited as being "obscure" (Steve Kurutz does so on the website, he is a key figure in several genres of Southern rock and soul, R&B, and the blues. He played "Memphis soul" sound.

Don Nix
Born(1941-09-27)September 27, 1941
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
GenresBlue-eyed soul, blues, soul music, country music
InstrumentsGuitar, saxophone
Associated actsMar-Keys, Alabama State Troupers


A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Nix came from a musical family (his brother, Larry Nix, became a mastering engineer for Stax and for the Ardent Recording Studios in Memphis). Don Nix began his career playing saxophone for the Mar-Keys, which also featured Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and others.[1] The hit instrumental single "Last Night" (composed by the band as a whole) was the first of many successful hits to Nix's credit. Without Nix, the Mar-Keys evolved into Booker T. & the M.G.'s.

As a producer, Nix worked with other artists and producers, such as Leon Russell of Shelter Records; Gary Lewis and the Playboys in Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars; George Harrison, of the Beatles; and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. One notable achievement was his collaboration with Harrison, Russell, and many others in the production of the "Concert for Bangladesh", Nix agreed that he organized backing chorus group forbenefit concert at Madison Square Garden in 1971[2].

Throughout his career, Nix worked behind the scenes as producer, arranger, and musician and in other roles for artists including Lonnie Mack, Furry Lewis, Freddie King, Albert King, Delaney, Bonnie & Friends, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Jeff Beck, Brian May, Eric Clapton, and many others. He wrote and produced albums for solo artists and for groups, such as Don Nix and the Alabama State Troupers, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, and Larry Raspberry and the Highsteppers.

His song, "Going Down", originally released by the band Moloch on their eponymous album in 1969, has become a rock-and-roll standard, having been covered by Freddie King, Jeff Beck, Deep Purple, JJ Cale, Marc Ford, Chicken Shack, Bryan Ferry, Pearl Jam, Gov't Mule, Sam Kinison, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Satriani, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Sammy Hagar, Joe Bonamassa, Sturgill Simpson, and others.[3] Nix released a version of the song as a single for Elektra Records in 1972. The song "Black Cat Moan" was covered on the 1973 album Beck, Bogert & Appice. The Rolling Stones performed "Goin' Down" with John Mayer and Gary Clark, Jr. live on Pay-Per-View television on December 15, 2012, as part of the Stones' 50th Anniversary Tour.[4]

In 2014, "Alabama State Troupers Road Show" was released as a CD.


Shelter SHE-8902

In God We Trust (LP)
In God We Trust / Golden Mansions / I'll Fly Away / He Never Lived a Day Without Jesus / Nero My God to Thee / Amos / Long Way to Nowhere / Iuka / Will the Circle Be Unbroken / I've Tried (Trucker's Lament)
Personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr; Eddie Hinton, gtr; Furry Lewis, sl. gtr, poem (track 8); Larry Raspberry, rh. gtr; Barry Beckett, keys; David Hood, bs; Roger Hawkins, dms; J. A. Spell, fd; Jeanie Green, Marlin Green (the Mt. Zion Singers), background vcls
Recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio
Produced by Don Nix
Reissue: Nippon Phonogram Records BT-5357, 1979, Japan

1971, US
Elektra EKS-74101

Living by the Days (LP)
The Shape I'm In / Olena / I Saw the Light / She Don't Want a Lover / Living by the Days / Going Back to Iuka / Three Angels / Mary Louise / My Train's Done Come and Gone
Personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr; Jimmy Johnson, Tippy Armstrong, Gimmer Nicholson, Wayne Perkins, gtr; Furry Lewis, narration; Barry Beckett, Chris Stainton, keys; David Hood, Donald "Duck" Dunn, bs; Roger Hawkins, dms; Mt. Zion Singers (Wayne Perkins, Jeanie Green, Marlin Green), background vcls (tracks 3, 4, 7, 8); Shelter People (Claudia Lennear, Kathi McDonald, Don Preston, Joey Cooper), background vcls (tracks 1, 2, 9)
Recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and Skyhill Studios, Hollywood, California
Produced by Don Nix
UK edition: Elektra K 42096, 1971; French edition: Elektra 62010, 1971
Reissue: Atco-East West CD AMCY-2609, 1998, Japan

1971, US
Elektra EKS-75022

The Alabama State Troupers Road Show (2 LPs)

Furry's Blues / Brownsville / I'm Black / A Chicken Ain't Nothin' but a Bird / Will the Circle Be Unbroken / Amos Burke / Mighty Time / Jesus on the Mainline / Mary Louise / Yes, I Do Understand / Opening / Living in the Country / Joa-Bim / Dixie / Heavy Makes You Happy / Iuka / Furry's Rap / Asphalt Outlaw Hero / Olena / My Father's House / Going Down
Personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr; Wayne Perkins, gtr; Tippy Armstrong, gtr; Clayton Ivey, pno; Ken Woodley, org; Bob Wray, bs; Tarp Tarrant, Fred Prouty, dms; Mt. Zion Choir (Brenda Patterson, Mary "Bouce" Anderson, Carolyn "Pepper" Watkins, Marianne "Tweety" Watkins, Marlin Greene)
Recorded live at Long Beach Civic Auditorium, Long Beach, California, October 15, 1971, and at Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, California, October 17, 1971
Produced by Don Nix

1972, US
Enterprise ENS-1032

Hobos, Heroes and Street Corner Clowns (LP)
She's a Friend of Mine / The Train Don't Stop Here No More / Black Cat Moan / Rainy Night in Paris (Memphis Reject) / When I Lay My Burden Down / Sweet Sweet Surrender / We Gotta Move (Keep on Rolling) / Miss Eleana / I Need You / Look What the Years Have Done
Personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr; Pete Carr, Eddie Hinton, Larry Raspberry, Bobby Manuel, Furry Lewis, gtr; George Harrison, slide gtr;[5] Wayne Perkins, gtr, background vcl; Barry Beckett, Chris Stainton, keys; Steve Smith, keys, gtr; Tim Smith, gtr, pno; David Hood, Klaus Voormann, bs; Roger Hawkins, dms; Lon Price, sax; Jay Pruitt, strings; Jeanie Green, Claudia Lennear, background vcls; Dallas–Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra
Recorded at Apple Studio, London; Muscle Shoals Sound Studio; etc.
Produced by Don Nix
Reissue: P-Vine PCD-5175, 1997, Japan

1973, US
Cream CR-1001

Gone Too Long (LP)

Goin' Thru Another Chance / Feel a Whole Lot Better / Gone Too Long / Backstreet Girl / Rollin' in My Dreams / Yazoo City Jail / Harpoon Arkansas Turnaround / Forgotten Town / A Demain (Until Tomorrow)
Personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr; George Harrison, sl. gtr, etc.
Recorded in France, England and the U.S.
Produced by Don Nix
Reissue: Demon DIAB-805, 1994, UK

1976, US
Cream CR-1011

Skyrider (LP)
Skyrider / Nobody Else / Maverick Woman Blues / Do It Again / Long Tall Sally / I'll Be in Your Dreams / On the Town Again / All for the Love of a Woman
Personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr, sax; Rob Kendrick, gtr, sl. gtr; Roy Halle, sl. gtr; Len Groome, keys; John Fry, acc; Ernie Chapman, bs; Darell Norris, dms; Memphis Horns; William C. Brown III Choir
Recorded at Dallasonic Studio, Texas, etc.
Produced by Don Nix
Reissue: Demon DIAB-805, 1994, UK

1979, US
Demon DIAB-805

Gone Too Long/Skyrider (CD)
Goin' Thru Another Change / Feel a Whole Lot Better / Gone Too Long / Backstreet Girl / Rollin' in My Dreams / Yazoo City Jail / Harpoon Arkansas Turnaround / Forgotten Town / A Demain (Until Tomorrow) / Skyrider / Nobody Else / Maverick Woman Blues / Do It Again / Long Tall Sally / I'll Be in Your Dreams / On the Town Again / All for the Love of a Woman
Reissue of Cream CR-1001 and CR-1011

1994, UK
Icehouse IHCD 9401

Back to the Well (CD)

Goin' Down the Road to Memphis / Waiting for the Help / Plastic Flowers / Angel Tears / Easy Street / Out on the Road Again / Fools Paradise / Too Dumb / Moon Madness / Dance Chaney Dance / Cruise Control / Jerimiah Gage
Personnel: Don Nix, vcl, gtr, tp; Billy Crain, gtr, sl. gtr; Greg Redding, keys; Rick Steff, org, acc; Jay Spell, pno, fd; Rusty McFarland, mnd; Greg "Fingers'" Taylor, hca; David Crochan, bs; Greg Morrow, dms, perc; Memphis Horns (Jim Spake, Andrew Love, Wayne Jackson); William C. Brown III Choir
Recorded at Crosstown Recording Studio
Produced by Don Nix
Reissue: Appaloosa AP 098, 1999, Italy

1994, US
Evidence ECD-26125

Don Nix & Friends: Goin' Down – The Songs of Don Nix (CD)
Black Cat Moan / On the Road Again / Right Where You Want Me / Same Old Blues / Lucinda / Palace of the King / Going Down / Going Back to Iuka / Like a Road Leading Home / One More Repossession / Living on the Highway / Plastic Flowers / Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven
Personnel: Don Nix, vcl; Billy Crain, Jon Tiven, gtr; Mike Duke, pno; Reese Wynans, org; David Hood, bs; Greg Morrow, dms; Dan Penn, lead vcl (tracks 4, 6, 9); Bonnie Bramlett, lead vcl (tracks 3, 4, 9); Steve Cropper, lead gtr (tracks 4, 9); Audley Freed, lead gtr (tracks 6, 7); Tony Joe White, lead gtr (tracks 8, 13); Leslie West, lead gtr (tracks 7, 11); Bobby Manuel, gtr intro (track 4); Brian May, gtr (track 7); Billy Lee Riley, vcl (track 8), hca (track 13); John Mayall, hca (track 8); Max Middleton, pno (track 7); Bobby Whitlock, org (tracks 7, 13); Dave Smith, bs (track 3); Michael Rhodes, bs (track 9); Susan Marshall, Jackie Johnson, background vcls (tracks 3, 5, 6, 12)
Recorded at Hum Depot, Nashville, Tennessee
Produced by Jon Tiven and Don Nix

2002, US

Books by Don NixEdit

  • Road Stories and Recipes (1997), Schirmer Books/Simon & Schuster, New York. ISBN 0-02-864621-5
  • Who's That with Don Nix? – A photojournal of Don Nix's personal experiences.

"Memphis Man" Living High, Laying Low (1997) [Sartoris]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Don Nix". SecondHandSongs. September 27, 1941. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  2. ^ George Harrison, plate XXXI, p. 399
  3. ^ "Cover Versions of Going Down by Moloch". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  4. ^ "Newark 15th December, Prudential Center". Rolling Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  5. ^ Leng, Simon (2006). While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Hal Leonard. pp 140–141.

External linksEdit