Black Oak Arkansas

Between 1972 and 1977, Black Oak Arkansas blasted their way around the world with a guitar-heavy brand of swamp rock. A cross between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Thin Lizzy (with a touch of the Allmans thrown in for good, guitar-dueling measure), Black Oak Arkansas was spearheaded by their controversial front man, Jim Dandy Mangrum. Jim Dandy, as he was called, got the name at age 10 when his father nicknamed him from the 1950s LaVern Baker song "Jim Dandy To The Rescue." Black Oak Arkansas would later have a #1 single with their own re-make of the song, after Mangrum got a personal call from Elvis Presley himself who recommended they cut it. Songs such as "Hot and Nasty," "Hot Rod," "Hey Y'all," and the aforementioned remake of "Jim Dandy" dominated the band's song list and have remained among their best loved songs.

Black Oak Arkansas started to wane in the late 1970s due mainly to the rigors of the road and the band's inability to remain innovative within an industry that was embracing disco and corporate rock. They continued throughout the '80s, leaving Atlantic Records for a short-lived career on MCA. Since that period, Mangrum has broken the band up and reformed it a number of times, remaining the figurehead. Sadly, backing vocalist Ruby Star, who sang on the band's version of "Jim Dandy To The Rescue," died of a brain tumor in 1995.

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