Southern rockers Black Oak Arkansas never raised to same level of success enjoyed by Lynyrd Skynyrd or Molly Hatchet, but kept a strong cult following thorough the years, thanks to their charismatic vocalist, Jim Dandy Mangrum. Named after his hometown, Black Oak Arkansas eventually managed to release ten charting albums between 1971 and 1976.
Origins of Black Oak Arkansas can be traced back to late ’60s, when they released one album under the name Knowbody Else, with a line-up of Mangrum in vocals; Ricky “Ricochet” Reynolds, Stanley “Goober” Knight, and Harvey “Burley” Jett; on guitars, Pat Daugherty on bass and Wayne Evans on drums. In early 70’s they started using the name Black Oak Arkansas and released self-titled debut album in 1971. Album sold modestly, but the band toured extensively and gained a reputation as an exceptional live act.
Black Oak Arkansas released two albums the following year, Keep the Faith and If an Angel Came to See You, Would You Make Her Feel at Home? Both were produced by Tom Dowd, southern rock legend, who had previously worked with the The Allman Brothers Band. Album sales remained low, but with constant touring, they kept building up an enthusiastic fan base. Hard work paid off in 1973 when they released High on the Hog, which with the help of single “Jim Dandy to the Rescue”, became their most commercially successful release.
During the mid-’70s Black Oak Arkansas kept releasing couple albums a year, but failed to repeat the success of High on The Hog. They still draw huge crowds on the U.S. concert circuit, but due to continuous personnel changes, by 1977 Mangrum was the only original member of the band and they finally called it quits in 1980 after Mangrum suffered a heart attack. During 80´s and 90’s, Black Oak Arkansas has continued touring with different line-ups up to present day and also released new studio album in 1999, called The Wild Bunch.
Black Oak Arkansas Discography:
1971 Black Oak Arkansas
1972 Keep The Faith
1972 If An Angel Came To See You Would You Make Her Feel…
1973 Raunch ‘N’ Roll Live (live)
1973 High On The Hog
1974 Street Party
1974 Early Times (compilation)
1975 Ain’t Life Grand
1976 Live! Mutha (live)
1976 Balls Of Fire
1977 10 Yr Overnight Success
1977 Race With The Devil
1977 The Best Of Black Oak Arkansas
1978 I’d Rather Be Sailing
1986 The Black Attack Is Back
1993 Hot & Nasty: The Best Of Black Oak Arkansas
1998 Live On The King Biscuit Flower Hour 1976 (live)
1999 The Wild Bunch
Official site: www.blackoakarkansas.net