They started out in the late sixties as "The Knowbody Else". They released one unsuccessful album under that name before renaming the band after the town and state in which vocalist Jim "Dandy" Mangrum was born. Before actually forming the band, the members were all part of a gang that shared a house! They struck a deal with Atco Records and released their first self-titled album under the Black Oak Arkansas banner in 1971. Early albums failed to get them noticed, but their 1974 album, "High on the Hog", gave then the necessary boost into the big time. They became very popular on the live scene, with Jim Dandy doing his thing with his washboard. Three guitars, a great bassist and a monstrous drummer in Tommy Aldridge ( later to go to Pat Travers and Ozzy), and a maniacal frontman and vocalist: that was Black Oak at their peak. They released about fourteen albums between 1971 and 1978, although Dandy did keep the Black Oak name alive for a number of years. after they split. Their "Raunch and Roll" live album, released in 1975, is one of the greatest live albums in rock. It's about time that some record company exec somewhere decided that it's time to put the damn thing on CD!

Black Oak Arkansas 

Black Oak Arkansas - Fancy Nancy, from "Ain't Life Grand", their 9th album, released in 1975. Here we go again with Jim Dandy and his buddies again, this time after a few requests to hear more of this great band's earlier material. We've covered BOA in these pages before, so we won't go into too much detail of their early history again here. What we will tell you is that this was the first album to feature new guitarist Jimmy Henderson, who'd replaced founder member Harvey Jett. This was also the last studio album for Atlantic Records, with the band moving on to MCA that same year. Subsequent albums such as "X-Rated"," Balls of Fire" and "10 Year Overnight Success" were all good, but unfortunately all of the original members, Jim Dandy excepted, left BOA after 1976's aforementioned "10 Year Overnight Success". Now signed to Capricorn Records and joined by new members Greg Reding and Jack Holder, together with Henderson on guitars, Andy Tanas on bass and vocals and Joel Williams on drums, the band released two albums for the label, ''Race with the Devil" in 1977 and "I'd rather be Sailing" the following year. Black Oak Arkansas finally disbanded at the end of the eighties. We're not 100% sure what happened to the majority of the band members at this stage, but we do know that Jack Holder joined the excellent Cobra with Jimi Jamison in 1983. (His name has also recently been spotted with the likes of blues sensation Jonny Lang). J.D. Mangrum (Jim Dandy) once again revived the band in 1984 and released "Ready as Hell" in 1984 with original BOA guitarist Ricky Reynolds, and "The Black Attack is Back", also with Reynolds, in 1986, both on Heavy Metal America Records. Dandy, Reynolds and original bassist Pat Dougherty turned up in yet another version of Black Oak Arkansas a few years ago (with Tommy Bolin's brother, Johnnie, on drums, and guitar sensation Rocky Athas), and the excellent "The Wild Bunch" album was released in 1999. On the rear sleeve of the inlay card of that album, it says "The Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated" - Jim Dandy. Check out the new releases section for a review of this album. 
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Biography by Steve Huey
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 "Big 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. 

 

Tommy Aldridge
Pat Daugherty
Wayne Evans
Jack Holder
Harvey Jett
Stan Knight
James Mangrum
Greg Reding
Ricky Reynolds
Andy Tanas
Joel Williams
Jimmy Henderson

Nazareth
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sammy Hagar
Ruby Starr
Jim Dandy
Status Quo
Bloodrock
UFO
Raging Slab
Ronnie Montrose
Badlands
Brownsville Station
Foghat
Barefoot Jerry
The Marshall Tucker Band
Molly Hatchet
Wet Willie
Blackfoot

If you have any contribution to make to this band or something to add, email me - Japie Marais.

 

 

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Black Oak Arkansas - 1971 - Black Oak Arkansas - 3/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1972 - If An Angel Came to See You - 3.5/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1972 - Keep the Faith - 2/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1973 - High on the Hog - 4.5/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1973 - Raunch 'N' Roll Live - 4.5/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1974 - Street Party - 2.5/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1975 - Ain't Life Grand - 4/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1975 - X-Rated - 3.5/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1976 - 10 Yr Overnight Success - 2/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1976 - Balls of Fire - 2.5/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1976 - Live! Mutha - 1/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1977 - Race with the Devil - 2/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1978 - I'd Rather Be Sailing - 2/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1998 - King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents - 2.5/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 1999 - The Wild Bunch - 3/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 2000 - Live - 2/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 2004 - Hot and Nasty - 3/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 2004 - Keep the Faith, live - 4/5

Black Oak Arkansas - 2005 - Live at Royal Albert Hall - 3.5/5

Rating

 

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