If you're looking for good southern rock, look no further. The world's primo boogie band... Black Oak Arkansas!!
Black Oak Arkansas produced their first album under the name of Black Oak Arkansas in '71, The southern rockers have a sound that is unique and all their own. Bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special, The Allman Brothers and Molly Hatchet copied Black Oak's style to make a sound that is easily identifiable as southern rock. It's easy to say Black Oak Arkansas founded todays Southern Rock N Roll.
Although they're not as big as before, they're comin back to kick ass and take names! They still tour, catch a BOA show this year. Because there are good rock and roll shows, and then there are great rock and roll shows, and believe me, if youre looking for greatness, check out Black Oak Arkansas any chance you get! When Jim and the band take the stage they come on with a bang, launching into their favorite hits and bringing the crowd along with them to their party. You can tell by the audience reaction which songs they remember from BOAs long history, Uncle Elijah, and Jim Dandy To The Rescue, seem to be the favorites of their longtime fans; younger fans, those likely to have discovered BOA more recently (maybe through their 1996 CD Release, The Wild Bunch) were waiting for the edgy Hot & Nasty,. BOAs set list also includes Shake the Devil, and Post Toastee, two top hits written by the legendary Tommy Bolin. The unique thing about BOA, is that even people in the audience who arent familiar with their music at all, except for Jim Dandy To The Rescue, which seems to be known by literally everyone, enjoy every song. The music, the performance, the monologues and stories Jim shares with the audience all blend together to give the audience an experience theyll always remember. The best way to explain it is to say that when you watch BOA, you know youre watching rock and roll. Its about energy, enthusiasm, and entertainment. Johnnie Bolins drum solo is nothing short of an explosion of raw power and strong rhythms set to a steady rock beat. And balancing that in a tender moment Jim Dandy shares emotion even more powerful than the music when he pauses to remember Ruby. Ruby Starr was the singer with the unforgettable voice who sang backup vocals on Jim Dandy to the Rescue. Sadly, Starr died several years ago and Jims tribute to her brings tears to the eyes.
These bad boys of the south set standards for live performances, and still electrify audiences to this day. Early in their career, their touring schedule kept them on the road for as many as 10 months at a time. They have 3 gold albums, and have appeared on such TV shows as Don Kirshners Rock Concert, Midnight Special, and ABCs In Concert. The King himself, Elvis Presley, encouraged them to perform the LaVerne Baker Classic, which has become their signature song, Jim Dandy to the Rescue.
KISS (1974) and Bad Companys first American tours were opening acts for BOA in the early 70s. Black Oak Arkansas was also the first rock band to take comedians such as Steve Martin and Cheech and Chong on the road. Evel Knievels daredevil show highlighted a few of the outdoor festivals. A concert at the Paladium in Los Angeles featured BOA with Chuck Berry and The Rolling Stones as his backup band.
Over the years Black Oak Arkansas has toured with the likes of . . . KISS, Aerosmith, Iced Earth .38 Special, Eagles, Styx, Foghat, Grand Funk Railroad, J. Geils Band, Blue Oyster Cult, Skid Row, Quiet Riot, Ted Nugent, Pat Travers, Rick Derringer, Johnny and Edgar Winter, Montrose, Steppenwolf, Brownsville Station, Allman Brothers, Beggars Jury, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, B.B. King, James Brown, King Crimson, Robin Trower, Redbone, Ten Years After, Humble Pie, Iron Butterfly, Leon Russell, Mountain, Ike and Tina Turner, Head East, Missouri, Grey Ghost, Jackyl, King's X, Drivin' Rain, Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, Kansas, Cheech & Chong, The Kentucky Headhunters, David Allen Coe, Twisted Sister, St. Madness, Krokus, Banshee, Mama's Boys, Kingofthehill, The Switch, Mama's Pride, Warrant, Slaughter, Jimmie Van Zant Band, Kevin DuBrow, Lake, Target, Deep Purple, Tora Tora, Homemade Flavore, Uprisin, Warlok, Bedlam, Seals & Crofts, Earth Wind & Fire, Nazareth, Vixen, Shooting Star, Emerson Lake & Palmer, James Brown, The Bay City Rollers, The Stella Blue Band, Heaven and Hell, Blind Guardian, Motorhead, REO Speedwagon, Pink Floyd, Trouble, UDO, Kreator, Suzi Quatro, Gov't Mule, Hardcore Superstars, Thunder, The Answer, Circus Maximus, Randy Pipers Animal, Tokyo Dragaon, and still many, many, more!
Along with Black Oak Arkansas, the first California Jam in 1974 included . . . Ruby Starr, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, The Eagles, Rare Earth, and Earth Wind & Fire. A DVD is on sale now at ebay.
Black Oak Arkansas has been named the influence of countless artistsa few being David Lee Roth, (which holds a similar likeness to the infamous Jim Dandy), Rageing Slab, Matchbox 20, Warlok, WWE's "Nature Boy" Rick Flare, The Kentucky Headhunters, W. Axl Rose of Guns N Roses, Timexx Nasty of Drivin' Rain, Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, Vince Neil of Motley Crue, and Jesse James DuPree of Jackyl.
When Black Oak did find the time to relax, they would retreat to their mountain lodge in the beautiful Ozark Mountains. The band members and families shared a 1,500-acre spread. There were several cabins, a community center, and even an in-ground heated swimming pool. Even amidst all the fame and glory, they never forgot where they came from. The band had donated money for some of the schools in the Harrison, Arkansas area for renovation and additions, BOA was also responsible for replacing the last one-room schoolhouse in the state.
Southern rock veterans Black Oak Arkansas never quite achieved the level of success enjoyed by contemporaries like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers, but have remained a cult band thanks to their raw, primitive energy and the testosterone-fueled antics of lead vocalist/showman James "Jim Dandy" Mangrum. Named for Mangrum's hometown, Black Oak Arkansas eventually built up a solid following through incessant touring and enjoyed a run of ten charting albums between 1971 and 1976. The band also found itself with a Top 30 single in their raunchy cover of a LaVern Baker R&B hit called "Jim Dandy to the Rescue," which became Mangrum's signature song. When album sales dried up, Mangrum re-formed the band with more musically skilled veteran players and continued to tour, although the group's glory days were past.
Black Oak Arkansas dates back to the mid-'60s, when a group of young, long-haired misfits headed by Jim Mangrum, unable to find work, turned to rock & roll. However, the group was unable to purchase equipment and ended up being arrested for grand larceny after stealing items from the local school in order to get money. They were nearly run out of town and went to live in the nearby hills, locating and borrowing equipment where they could. The band moved to New Orleans in 1969 and called itself Knowbody Else, with a lineup of vocalist Mangrum; guitarists Ricky "Ricochet" Reynolds, Stanley "Goober" Knight, and Harvey "Burley" Jett; bassist Pat Daugherty; and drummer Wayne Evans. Knowbody Else recorded a self-titled album for Stax, which went nowhere; rethinking their approach, the band became interested in psychedelia and Eastern spirituality, which they filtered through their Southern Baptist upbringing. Changing their name to Black Oak Arkansas, the band secured a deal with Atlantic after several trips to Los Angeles and released its self-titled debut in 1971. While it wasn't a hit, the band toured extensively, building a reputation as a raw, incendiary live act that made up for occasional musical deficiencies with energy and the explicit sexuality of Mangrum, who flaunted his body at every opportunity and became known for such antics as miming sex with the washboard he used for musical accompaniment. The band's second album, Keep the Faith, was a noticeable improvement, as the band had honed its sound and material through numerous live gigs; If an Angel Came to See You, Would You Make Her Feel at Home? followed the same year, featuring new drummer Tommy Aldridge, but it was 1973's Raunch 'N' Roll Live that established the group as a commercial force. That year, High on the Hog became their most commercially successful album, reaching number 52 on the charts. It was buoyed by the Top 30 cover version of "Jim Dandy to the Rescue," which featured female vocalist Ruby Starr trading innuendoes with Jim "Dandy" Mangrum. Several more albums followed before the group parted ways with Atlantic in 1976; Jett left the band in 1975 and was replaced by Starr cohort James Henderson.
Lineup shifts were rampant as the group switched to MCA; Tommy Aldridge left to play with Pat Travers Band, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, House Of Lords, Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy and many others. Tommy was replaced in Black Oak Arkansas by Joel Williams, while the guitar/bass axis was gutted and rebuilt around Greg Reding, Jack Holder, and bassist Andy Tanas. This lineup released Race With the Devil in 1977, after the band had one last taste of success with the "Strong Enough to Be Gentle" single. Following several lackluster, straightforward Southern rock albums, the band called it quits in 1980. Andy Tanas moved onto play with the 80s Metal band KROKUS and later a solo project. After recovering from a heart attack, Mangrum reunited with Reynolds in 1984 for a solo album, Ready as Hell. Black Oak Arkansas returned with The Black Attack Is Back two years later. And followed that with Rebound. In 1999, BOA reunited to release The Wild Bunch. in 2000 a Live Album and three Greatest Hits albums came out.
These days Black Oak Arkansas keeps up a busy tour schedule, especially during the summer when they are a favorite at bike rallys and outdoor music fairs and festivals around the country. In 2004 Rhino Records releasesd a new Black Oak Arkansas DVD called "The first 30 years!" now in store worldwide. It features old videos and tv apperance spanning the groups long history. In 2005 The DVD "Live at the Albert Hall DVD" goes on sale along with thress new CD, "Greatest Hits 2005", "Keep The Faith LIVE" and " Live at the Albert Hall" all are unvailed to the world.
The current lineup consists of original singer and wildman Jim Dandy Mangrum on vocals, original member Rickie Lee Reynolds on guitar, George Hughen (ex-Greyghost) on bass, Johnnie Bolin (former Tommy Bolin Band)on drums, and Hal McCormack on lead guitar. (Hal has been a member of Tora Tora, Deep South, Uprisin, Survivor (with Jimi Jamison), and other groups.)
In 2007 BLACK OAK ARKANSAS is back on the road and in the studio working on the next mega BOA album. BLACK OAK ARKANSAS is about to release a new CD in 2008. A full tour will follow. Don't miss Jim Dandy and Rickie Lee with Hal, George and Johnnie Bolin ON TOUR!! LIVE!!! 2007!!!! Still Rockin' and Still Rollin!!!!
Catch them this summer as the Highway Pirates go on the road again. LIVE AS HELL!
BLACK OAK ARKANSAS 30+ years of Keeping The Faith!