Black Oak Arkansas

One of the first Southern rock bands to rise to prominence in the wake of the Allman Brothers Band‘s breakthrough, Black Oak Arkansas put a tough, gritty spin on the high-volume hard rock boogie that was popular in the early to mid-’70s. Fronted by the over-the-top antics of lead singer James “Jim Dandy” Mangrum (who has often been cited as a key influence on David Lee Roth‘s performing style), Black Oak Arkansas evolved from a more psychedelic-oriented band called the Knowbody Else, who cut one album in 1969; by the time they returned as Black Oak Arkansas in 1971, they’d beefed up their guitar sound, Mangrum‘s vocals had matured into a deep throaty growl, and they sounded rowdy and rough-hewn on numbers like “Hot and Nasty” and “When Electricity Came to Arkansas.” With 1973’s High on the HogBlack Oak Arkansas tightened up their sound a bit and scored a hit single with their version of LaVern Baker‘s “Jim Dandy.” The band’s raunchy sound and raucous stage show made them a popular attraction through most of the decade, but after the release of 1978’s I’d Rather Be Sailing, the group stayed away from the recording studio, and health problems kept Mangrum out of the band during the first half of the ’80s. They returned as Jim Dandy’s Black Oak Arkansas with the 1984 LP Ready as Hell, and the band continued to record and tour periodically into the 2010s, releasing a fresh studio album, Underdog Heroes, in 2019.

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