Black Oak Arkansas

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Black Oak Arkansas
Jim Dandy.jpg
Jim "Dandy" Mangrum in 1973
Background information
Also known asThe Knowbody Else (1963–1970)
Black Oak (1977-c.1984)
Origin Black Oak, Arkansas, United States
Genres Southern rock
Years active1963 (1963)–present
Labels cleopatra Records

Black Oak Arkansas is an American Southern rock band named after the band's hometown of Black Oak, Arkansas. The band reached the height of its fame in the 1970s with ten charting albums released in that decade. Their style is punctuated by multiple guitar players and the raspy voice and on-stage antics of vocalist Jim "Dandy" Mangrum.

Southern rock is a subgenre of rock music and a genre of Americana. It developed in the Southern United States from rock and roll, country music, and blues, and is focused generally on electric guitar and vocals. Although the origin of the term Southern rock is unknown, "many people feel that these important contributors to the development of rock and roll have been minimized in rock's history."

Black Oak, Arkansas Town in Arkansas, United States

Black Oak is a town in Craighead County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 262 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. Black Oak is the namesake of 1970s rock band Black Oak Arkansas and the setting of John Grisham's novel A Painted House.

Jim "Dandy" Mangrum American singer

James Mangrum, better known as Jim "Dandy" Mangrum, is the lead singer and frontman for the American Southern rock band Black Oak Arkansas. He is noted for his raspy voice, long hair, and wild, sexually-explicit stage antics which sometimes included miming sex with a washboard which he often uses to accompany his singing.



The Knowbody Else

Black Oak Arkansas, originally named "The Knowbody Else," was formed in 1963 by some "high school pals" living in the area around Black Oak, Arkansas. [1] Original members included Ronnie "Chicky Hawk" Smith (vocals), Rickie Lee (alternately "Risky" or "Ricochet") Reynolds (guitar), Stanley "Goober Grin" Knight (guitar), Harvey "Burley" Jett (guitar), Pat "Dirty" Daugherty (bass), and Wayne "Squeezebox" Evans (drums). At some point the band and Ronnie "Chicky Hawk" Smith agreed that a mutual friend named James "Jim Dandy" Mangrum would make a better front man, while Smith agreed that he himself would make a better stage production manager.

The band's first PA system was stolen from Monette High School. The group then cleaned out an old galvanized grain bin on the edge of town and began blasting out ear-piercing sounds that echoed their special blend of music that came from rock, gospel, country and blues influences. [2] Members of the group were subsequently charged in absentia with grand larceny and sentenced to 26 years at the Tucker Prison Farm, a sentence that was later suspended. This led to their retreat to the hills of rural north-central Arkansas where they lived off the land and refined their musical style. [3] They also lived in Long Beach, Mississippi and played at the local Lobe theater/dance hall and the short-lived venue, "The Black Rainbow." Some of their influences during this time were the Beatles and the Byrds.

The Beatles English rock band

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The line-up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr led the band to be regarded as the foremost and most influential in history. With a sound rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, the group were integral to the evolution of pop music into an art form, and to the development of the counterculture of the 1960s. They often incorporated elements of classical music, older pop forms, and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways, and in later years experimented with a number of musical styles ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock. As they continued to draw influences from a variety of cultural sources, their musical and lyrical sophistication grew, and they came to be seen as embodying the era's sociocultural movements.

The Byrds American rock band

The Byrds were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple lineup changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member. Although they only managed to attain the huge commercial success of contemporaries like the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Rolling Stones for a short period in the mid-1960s, the Byrds are today considered by critics to be nearly as influential as those bands. Their signature blend of clear harmony singing and McGuinn's jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar was "absorbed into the vocabulary of rock" and has continued to be influential.

The Knowbody Else moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1969 and signed a record deal with Stax Records. Their self-titled debut album (Hip Records #HIS-7003 [a subsidiary of Stax]) was largely ignored by the public. During this time the band became interested in psychedelia and Eastern spiritualism which, combined with their Southern Baptist upbringing, contributed to their sound.

Memphis, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Memphis is a city located along the Mississippi River in southwestern Shelby County, Tennessee, United States. The 2017 city population was 652,236, making Memphis the largest city on the Mississippi River, the second most populous city in Tennessee, as well as the 25th largest city in the United States. Greater Memphis is the 42nd largest metropolitan area in the United States, with a population of 1,348,260 in 2017. The city is the anchor of West Tennessee and the greater Mid-South region, which includes portions of neighboring Arkansas and Mississippi. Memphis is the seat of Shelby County, the most populous county in Tennessee. As one of the most historic and cultural cities of the southern United States, the city features a wide variety of landscapes and distinct neighborhoods.

Stax Records is an American record label, originally based in Memphis, Tennessee. Founded in 1957 as Satellite Records, the label changed its name to Stax Records in 1961 and shared its operations with Volt Records, a sister label created to avoid the impression of favoritism among radio stations playing their records.

Psychedelia Subculture of people who use psychedelic drugs

Psychedelia is the subculture, originating in the 1960s, of people who use psychedelic drugs such as LSD, mescaline and psilocybin. The term is also used to describe a style of psychedelic artwork and psychedelic music. Psychedelic art and music typically try to recreate or reflect the experience of altered consciousness. Psychedelic art uses highly distorted and surreal visuals, bright colors and full spectrums and animation to evoke and convey to a viewer or listener the artist's experience while using such drugs, or to enhance the experience of a user of these drugs. Psychedelic music uses distorted electric guitar, Indian music elements such as the sitar, electronic effects, sound effects and reverberation, and elaborate studio effects, such as playing tapes backwards or panning the music from one side to another.

Black Oak Arkansas

After several trips to Los Angeles, California, in 1970, the band was signed by Atco Records (whose parent label Atlantic Records once had a partnership with Stax) and rechristened "Black Oak Arkansas". Their self-titled debut album Black Oak Arkansas was released in 1971, and is generally regarded by fans as the band's best. The record featured enduring BOA classics like "Hot And Nasty", "Lord Have Mercy On My Soul", "Uncle Lijiah" (written in pseudo-tribute to Harvey Jett's real-life great uncle) and "When Electricity Came To Arkansas", which was accused by fundamentalist religious groups of containing backward-masked "Satanic messages" (possibly from a live performance of the song in which Mangrum utters "dog si eh" and "natas" three times). The band toured extensively, gaining a reputation as a premier live act throughout the early '70s all across America, and later even in Europe. Keep the Faith followed in 1972, featuring the manic concert staple "Fever In My Mind". Drummer Wayne Evans left the band and was replaced by journeyman skinsman Tommy Aldridge on BOA's next release If an Angel Came to See You, Would You Make Her Feel at Home? , which featured another enduring BOA concert favorite, "Mutants Of The Monster" and expanded on the group’s eclectic musical style.

ATCO Records is an American record company and label founded in 1955 as a division of Atlantic Records. It was devised as an outlet for productions by one of Atlantic's founders, Herb Abramson, who had returned to the company from military service. It was also intended as a home for acts that did not fit the format of Atlantic, which was releasing blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, and soul. The Atco name is an abbreviation of ATlantic COrporation. Atco also provided distribution for other labels, including RSO Records, Volt, Island, Modern, Ruthless, and Rolling Stones Records.

Atlantic Records American record label

Atlantic Recording Corporation is an American record label founded in October 1947 by Ahmet Ertegün and Herb Abramson. Over its first 20 years of operation, Atlantic earned a reputation as one of the most important American labels, specializing in jazz, R&B, and soul by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Ruth Brown and Otis Redding. Its position was greatly improved by its distribution deal with Stax. In 1967, Atlantic became a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, now the Warner Music Group, and expanded into rock and pop music with releases by Led Zeppelin and Yes.

<i>Black Oak Arkansas</i> (album) 1971 studio album by Black Oak Arkansas

Black Oak Arkansas is the 1971 eponymous debut album by Black Oak Arkansas.

In 1973, Black Oak Arkansas released their fourth LP Raunch 'N' Roll Live , and took the rather unorthodox tack of including previously unreleased new songs on their first live concert album like "Gigolo", "Gettin' Kinda Cocky", as well as two more BOA classics: "Hot Rod", which features Dandy's sly double-entendre lyrics, and "Up", which spotlights Aldridge's marathon drum solo, a portion of which he played with his bare hands. The four new songs were originally recorded and intended to be included on the follow-up studio album to If an Angel Came to See You..., but when Atco Records realized the band's true strong suit was their concert act, the live album resulted. Raunch 'N' Roll Live was re-issued in 2007 by Rhino Records as a 2-CD set containing both concerts that the original vinyl album was culled from. The band's fifth album, High on the Hog , also released in '73, ended up being the high point of BOA's career, peaking at number 52 on the Billboard albums chart. Ruby Starr (future vocalist of Grey Ghost) also toured intermittently with Black Oak during this period, and her raspy voice can be heard on the group's remake of LaVern Baker's 1957 hit "Jim Dandy (To The Rescue)", which reached number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. Baker's song was recorded at the suggestion of Elvis Presley, when he invited BOA to Graceland. [4] 'Hog' also included perennial favorite "Happy Hooker" and the instrumental "Moonshine Sonata", as well as edgier songs like "Red Hot Lovin'" and "Mad Man".

<i>High on the Hog</i> (Black Oak Arkansas album) 1973 studio album by Black Oak Arkansas

High on the Hog is the most commercially successful album by the southern rock band Black Oak Arkansas. It is mainly known for its cover of the LaVern Baker song "Jim Dandy", which reached number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album prominently featured southern electric guitar licks and James Mangrum's scratchy, hillbilly vocals.

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

Ruby Starr, born Constance Henrietta Mierzwiak in Toledo, Ohio, was a rock singer and recording artist who attained national prominence in the 1970s and 1980s, including for her work with Black Oak Arkansas.

The band was riding high on the concert trail as well by this time, headlining large venues like Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium and Charlotte Motor Speedway, and even Royal Albert Hall in London, England. Black Oak Arkansas also played at the famous California Jam festival in Ontario, California on April 6, 1974. The massive concert attracted over 200,000 fans, and BOA appeared alongside 1970s rock giants Black Sabbath, Eagles, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Deep Purple, Earth, Wind & Fire, Seals and Crofts and Rare Earth, and portions of the show were telecast on ABC Television in the US, exposing the band to a wider audience.

The follow-up to High On The Hog, 1974's, Street Party (featuring "Son Of A Gun", "Hey Ya'll" and "Dixie", as well as a cover of the Motown classic "Dancing In The Street"), may have failed to maintain the momentum, but another 1974 release entitled Early Times, a shelved Stax recording by 'The Knowbody Else' (now released on the back of their success and under the BOA banner), made up for lost time. Guitarist Harvey Jett left the band after Street Party and was replaced by Jimmy "Soybean" Henderson in 1975 and he debuted on the band's final studio album for Atco Records, Ain't Life Grand. This album included a snarly remake of George Harrison's Beatles classic "Taxman", as well as new originals like "Fancy Nancy", "Rebel", "Good Stuff", "Cryin' Shame" and "Let Life Be Good To You". The band signed a contract with MCA and promptly released X-Rated later in 1975, which marked the beginning of Black Oak Arkansas' decline. In 1976 they released two fairly nondescript and unsuccessful albums for MCA, Balls of Fire and 10 Yr Overnight Success, the latter of which as a five-piece band with the departure of Rickie Reynolds, who was more or less replaced on tour by keyboardist Marius Penczner during this period. Also in '76, Atco released a final BOA contractual obligation album, the poorly-recorded, but high-spirited Live Mutha, recorded on Mother's Day, 1975 in Long Beach, CA.

Black Oak

Following continued diminishing returns of the band's record sales (yet while still remaining a consistent concert draw), Mangrum dropped "Arkansas" from the group's name (in an attempt to downplay their Southern-ness) and replaced everyone except Henderson and even altering his own vocal style in an attempt to sound more mainstream (and ostensibly impress music critics in the process. The other members of the "Black Oak" lineup were Greg Reding (guitar and keyboards), Jack Holder (guitar), Andy Tanas (bass), and Joel Williams (drums). Black Oak released two albums on the struggling Capricorn Records, Race with the Devil in 1977 and I'd Rather Be Sailing the following year. Neither album sold well. In 1978, guitarist Shawn Lane joined the band at age 14 and toured with the band for four years.


In the early '80's, Jim Dandy temporarily left the band for health reasons, but Rickie Lee Reynolds kept the band going with former Zorro bassist Jack Brumby, AW Zeugner, and Lester John. Bob Simpson took on lead vocals at first, but was later replaced by Randy Ruff for almost three years, until Mangrum's return. In 1984, the band released Ready as Hell . Though the name "Black Oak Arkansas" was on the album cover, "Jim Dandy" appeared above it in larger type, almost as if it were a solo effort. Ready as Hell featured a heavier sound with pinch harmonics and keyboards featured throughout. The album was also Rickie Lee Reynolds's first recording with Mangrum since the MCA years. In 1986, The Black Attack Is Back continued the heavy style of the previous album and featured the particularly adventurous track "I Want A Woman With Big Titties". Again, "Jim Dandy" received top billing on the album cover (though "BOA"—the band's initials—did appear above the frontman's name). Like its predecessor, The Black Attack Is Back made no commercial headway. In 1992, the band released Rebound, this time under the band's aegis, with similar results. Things changed little with 1999's The Wild Bunch, which was released under the name "Jim Dandy's Black Oak Arkansas".

James Mangrum has continued recording and touring with a series of different Black Oak lineups, up to the present day. Black Oak Arkansas currently enjoys a loyal fan following. However, the later lineups have yet to duplicate the level of album sales that the original lineup generated in the early-mid 1970s. Jim Dandy is credited with inspiring Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth's image and onstage persona. In addition, in the 1980s former Maine State Representative Chris Greeley once 'opened' for them as a member of the rock band Toyz.

Singer Ruby Starr died of cancer on January 14, 1995.

Original Black Oak Arkansas guitarist Stanley Knight (born on February 12, 1949 in Little Rock, Arkansas) died on February 16, 2013, just four days after his 64th birthday following a brief battle with cancer. [5]

Black Oak-era guitarist Jack Holder (born Richard Jackson Holder Jr. on August 26, 1952) died from cancer on January 13, 2015 at the age of 62. [6]

Former guitarist Jimmy Henderson (born James David Henderson on May 20, 1954) died on March 5, 2016, at age 61. [7]

The return to Atlantic Records

The band released a new album for Atlantic Records/Atco Records on October 15, 2013 titled "Back Thar N' Over Yonder". The album contains 5 newly recorded songs and 10 previously unreleased 1970's tracks which were produced by Tom Dowd. The new songs feature a line-up of original and current members. Reunited originals Jim "Dandy" Mangrum, Rickie Lee "Risky" Reynolds, Pat "Dirty" Daughtery, and Jimmy "Soybean" Henderson, were joined by current drummer Johnnie Bolin, bassist George Hughen, guitarist Buddy Church and lead guitarist Hal McCormack. The first single off the record "Plugged In And Wired" was released August 26, 2013. [8] The band is currently touring to support the album.

List of classic BOA band members

List of current BOA touring band members

List of past BOA members



The Knowbody Else

  • The Knowbody Else (Hip Records #HIS-7003 [a subsidiary of Stax Records], October, 1969; reissued 2008 on Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra Records)
  • Soldiers of Pure Peace (Arf! Arf! Music, November 13, 2012; demo material originally recorded in 1967)

Black Oak Arkansas

  • Black Oak Arkansas (Atco Records, March, 1971) US No. 127, RIAA Gold [9]
  • Keep the Faith (Atco, January, 1972) US No. 103
  • If an Angel Came to See You, Would You Make Her Feel at Home? (Atco, June, 1972) US No. 93
  • Raunch 'N' Roll Live (Atco, February, 1973; recorded December 1 & 2, 1972) US No. 90, RIAA Gold
  • High on the Hog (Atco, September, 1973) US No. 52, RIAA Gold
  • Early Times (Stax Records, March, 1974; demo material originally recorded in 1968/1969 as The Knowbody Else)
  • Street Party (Atco, July, 1974) US No. 56
  • Ain't Life Grand (Atco, April, 1975) US No. 145
  • X-Rated (MCA Records, September, 1975) US No. 99
  • Live! Mutha (Atco, January, 1976; recorded May 11, 1975) US No. 194
  • Balls of Fire (MCA, May, 1976) US No. 173
  • 10 Yr Overnight Success (MCA, October, 1976)
  • Rebound (Goldwax Records #GW-5003, 1991)
  • King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents: Black Oak Arkansas (King Biscuit Flower Hour Records/BMG, March 10, 1998; recorded November 21, 1976)
  • Live on the King Biscuit Flower Hour (King Biscuit Entertainment/Pinnacle, September 27, 1999; reissue of the KBFH material...all 12 songs)
  • Live (EMI-Capitol Special Markets [a subsidiary of Capitol-EMI Records], May 4, 2000; another reissue of the KBFH material minus 2 songs)
  • Keep the Faith: Live Concert Performance (Disky Communications, 2001; yet another reissue of the KBFH material...all 12 songs)
  • Live at Royal Albert Hall (S'More Entertainment, November 25, 2005; recorded 1975)
  • The Complete Raunch 'N' Roll Live (Rhino Handmade Records, 2007) 2CD
  • Black Oak Arkansas...The Knowbody Else '69 (Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra Records, 2008; reissue of Hip Records #HIS-7003)
  • Back Thar N' Over Yonder (Atlantic/Atco Records, October 15, 2013; includes 5 new songs with 10 previously unreleased studio out-takes from 1972/1973/1974)
  • Underdog Heroes (Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra Records, May 24, 2019)

Note: all of BOA's original Atco albums have been reissued on CD by Wounded Bird Records in 2000/2001, except High On The Hog, which has been reissued by Rhino Records; also note that in 2013, the first five Atco studio albums (BOA, Keep the Faith, If an Angel Came to See You, High on the Hog, and Street Party) were collected/reissued in a slipcase box set, titled Black Oak Arkansas: Original Album Series [UPC: 081227968373] by Rhino Entertainment.

Jim Dandy (without BOA)

  • Flash Fearless Versus the Zorg Women, Parts 5 & 6 (Chrysalis Records, 1975) -note: Jim Dandy sings 2 songs..."Country Cooking" and "Blast Off" on this various artists/original studio cast "comic book hero/rock opera" album.

Black Oak

  • Race with the Devil (Capricorn Records, November, 1977)
  • I'd Rather Be Sailing (Capricorn, June, 1978)

Jim Dandy's Black Oak Arkansas

  • Ready as Hell (Hacienda Records, 1984)
  • The Black Attack Is Back (Heavy Metal America Records, 1986)
  • The Wild Bunch (Deadline/Cleopatra Records, November 2, 1999)
  • Top Musicians Play ZZ Top (Sleeping Giant Records, 2010) -note: Jim Dandy's BOA do just one song..."La Grange" on this various artists "tribute" album.


Charted Singles


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  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-27. Retrieved 2013-07-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. Mr.Teddy Gene Qualls
  4. Jim Mangrum
  5. Stanley Glen Knight
  6. "Musician Jack Holder, 62, contributed talents to Memphis acts, national stars". The Commercial Appeal. January 16, 2015.
  7. Obituary James "Jimi" David Henderson
  8. Atlantic Records
  9. "Search Results for Black Oak Arkansas". Retrieved 1 September 2016.