Black Oak Arkansas was a southern rock band which found popularity in the 70's.

The band was named for their home town of Black Oak, Arkansas, a tiny burg numbering 286 in the 2000 census. The band never found the following that other southern rock bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, and Marshall Tucker enjoyed. They did manage to find their groove along with a core of fans due mainly to constant touring. The band had many different parts at different times, but one constant was lead vocalist James 'Big Jim Dandy' Mangrum. He took the job of front man to heart, projecting a raw sexuality that was a hallmark of the band.

The group managed a string of 10 albums which charted from 1971-1976. Their most famous recording was a cover of the LaVern Baker R&B classic Jim Dandy to the Rescue, making it onto the Top 30 chart.

During the 60's, the band formed almost by default. The members were unable to find work and turned to the world of rock and roll to try their fortunes. The hapless gang of ragtag wannabee musicians had no funds for equipment and, to remedy the situation, broke into the local school to steal goods which they could sell for cash. Busted and almost outcast, the gang took to the hills. They scrounged, begged, and borrowed equipment and finally made a break for New Orleans in 1969. They performed as Knowbody Else, a name which nobody knew. They did score a contract with Atlantic Records and released a self titled album for them in 1971.

The band continued to record without notable success until 1976 when Atlantic and BOA parted ways. The band signed with MCA for Race With the Devil in 1977, an album which contained Strong Enough to be Gentle, a tune which briefly flirted with popularity. More albums followed, standard southern rock sans inspiration, until 1980 when the band called it quits.

Leadman Mangrum had a heart attack from which he recovered. He, along with former BOA guitarist Ricky Reynolds, cut an album Ready As Hell in 1984, with another The Black Attack Is Back added in 1986. Never ones to leave well enough alone, BOA reunited in 1999 to release another, you got it, album entitled The Wild Bunch.

The band still tours, their most recent gig a date at Mountain Home, Arkansas on 2/28/09.

Sources:

http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/bio/0,,404687,00.html
http://eventful.com/performers/black-oak-arkansas-/P0-001-000104240-0
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Oak_Arkansas

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