The Songs From Black Oak Arkansas
Black Oak Arkansas live in 1974 - californiajamfanclub / Youtube
At the mention of southern rock, the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Marshall Tucker Band are definitive figures of the era. But does anybody remember Black Oak Arkansas? Named after their homecourt, Black Oak started out as the Knowbody Else, a ragtag group that had a mix of country, gospel, blues and rock going for them in their controversy-riddled start. After being scared off with larceny sentences (which were suspended down the line), the band settled in their namesake hometown where their most known incarnation took place, settling for the multi-guitar sound and Jim Dandy’s enigmatic frontman persona. Here are some of the best tracks from the southern rock act, Black Oak Arkansas.
“Gigolo” – Raunch N’ Roll (1973)
Jim Dandy was the unmistakable template for the track “Gigolo”. While this was all in good humor and jest, the track features the iconic double guitar orchestration and riffage, and was a genius masterpiece that saw the unlikely marriage of southern rock and southern soul.
“Hot Rod” – Raunch N’ Roll (1973)
The Raunch N’ Roll live album contained some of the band’s best tracks, and this includes the scathing “Hot Rod”. Featuring a tasty funk bassline and supporting riff, Jim’s vocals enhances the whole experience with a gritty touch, providing a contrasting melody that’s both hype and chill. This song is one of the defining tracks showing rock moving away from the normalized British invasion style.
“Mutants Of The Monster” – If an Angel Came to See You, Would You Make Her Feel at Home? (1972)
Nothing like an energy-driven intro with a minor-based bassline to start a song, especially with “Mutants Of The Monster”. The song goes on to have tempo changes throughout its structure, which is frustrating at the first listen, but a guilty pleasure once you follow through.
“When Electricity Came To Arkansas” – Black Oak Arkansas (1971)
Classic rock was never the same when Jim Dandy brought a washboard to the show. His creativity knew no bounds, using the washboard as some sort of horse-galloping theme from some southern flick you’ve got a hazy remembering of. The song equally does the same thing as well, but more amplified, a true testament to the band’s crazy but effective brand of southern rock.
“Gettin’ Kinda’ Cocky” – Back Thar N’ Over Yonder (2013)
While officially released in 2013, “Gettin’ Kinda’ Cocky” was recorded sometime between 1972 and 1974, hence the pure classic rock sound captured was authentic. The track is some sort of hard rock template that would surface some two decades later, with its definitive influence especially to hair bands. A jam-based song for sure, “Gettin’ Kinda’ Cocky” is a fun track to listen to at any time of the day.