Black Oak Arkansas
lack Oak Arkansas, named after their location, was founded by vocalist Jim 'Dandy' Mangrum (who took his moniker from a 1950s song) handled the evolution of the band from the 1960s act Knowbody Else who had released a demo Soldiers of Pure Peace (1967), an aborted album, and the full album The Knowbody Else (1969).
Although James "Jim Dandy" Mangrum would become front man, the act originally settled in L.A. with Stan 'Goober' Knight (guitar/vocals), Rickie Lee (a.k.a: "Ricochet" or "Risky") Reynolds (guitar/vocals), Pat "Dirty" Daugherty (bass/vocals), Harvey "Burly" Jett (guitar), Stanley "Goober Grin" Knight (guitar) and Wayne "Squeezebox" Evans (drums), they would release their self-titled debut in 1971 featuring enduring tracks like Hot And Nasty, Lord Have Mercy On My Soul, Uncle Lijiah and When Electricity Came To Arkansas (which was accused by fundamentalist religious groups of containing backward-masked satanic messages.
Black Oak Arkansas then followed their debut up with Keep The Faith in 1972 featuring the concert favorite Fever In My Mind on 'Atco/Atlantic' based on a solid reputation, mostly in the southern states; the album, however, simply too much of a risk for the golden disc for it just missed the US top 100. The follow-up, If An Angel Came To See You, Would You Make Her Feel At Home, corrected this inconvenience in 1972 by squeaking by at 93 US now featuring Tommy Aldridge in place of Wayne Evans as well as another concert classic in the form of Mutants Of The Monster.
Now, Black Oak Arkansas became a very prolific act by releasing an average of two albums per year starting with a live effort, Raunch 'N' Roll - Live (live; 1973), an album that included the rare maneuver of including previously unreleased new songs on their first live concert album in the form of Gigolo and Gettin' Kinda Cocky. High On The Hog, also released in 1973, saw the act assume a more 'gospel rock' direction for the next several years. The album would prove to be the high point of their career by peaking at 52 on the Billboard albums chart.
Street Party (1974; featuring Ruby Starr replacing Jett as well as a cover of the Motown classic Dancing In The Street) followed, along with Aint Life Grand (1975; featuring Jimmy Henderson replacing Starr as well as a snarly remake of George Harrison's Beatles classic Taxman). These albums failed to help the band on the chart rise, but Early Times, a cancelled 'Stax' recording done when the act was calling themselves The Knowbody Else but re-badged under the Black Oak Arkansas moniker at least helped make up for some of the 'lost time'.
X-Rated (1975) was an album that barely made 99 in the US, to be followed by Balls Of Fire (1976) before a complete line-up change occurred with Dandy and Henderson returning to recruit Andy Tanas replacing Daughterty, Jack Holder replacing all of Reynolds, Knight, Starr for the 10 Years Overnight Success (1976) before shutting it all down and assuming the name Black Oak. The release Rebound would follow posthumously in 1992.
As Black Oak, Greg Redding stepped in to take over guitar and keyboards for Race With The Devil (1977) and I'd Rather Be Sailing (1978) before splitting in 1978.
Splintering off into separate endeavors, Dandy would be the noted one who recruited Steve Nunemacher (guitar), William Lemuel (bass/vocals), Jon Wells (drums) and Billy Battle (keyboards) to release Ready As Hell (1981) under his own name. He would then form Jim Dandy & Black Oak Arkansas in 1986 with the Black Attack Is Back (1986) release following.
The act then reformed in its original form with Magnum, Reynolds, Johnny Roth (guitar), Buddy Chruch (guitar), Artie Wilson (bass) and Johnny Courville III (drums) but it was only for a rare reunion before another attempt occurred shortly later with Dandy, Dougherty and Reynolds with Johnnie Bolin (brother of deceased legend Tommy Bolin) on drums for The Wild Bunch (1999; released on CD as Black Oak Arkansas & Jim Dandy), an album featuring impressive new material mixed with Tommy Bolin classics. The bulk of the remaining discography from here being posthumous live and compilation releases.
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|City||Black Oak, Arkansas|
|Active Years||1963-1977, 1978-1979|
|RRCA File Code||UC000555|