Black Oak Arkansas
The Complete Raunch 'N' Roll Live
I fear that there may be a generation of music aficionados out there that view Black Oak Arkansas (BOA) as merely a one-hit wonder.
Judging from the limited output that one hears from BOA on classic rock radio these days, you could hardly blame them. But there has always been a lot more to the band that famously called Oakland, Arkansas home in the 1970s than just their version of LaVern Baker's 1956 tune, "Jim Dandy" (BOA's cover reached a lofty #25 on the pop charts back in '73).
Thankfully, the good folks at Real Gone Music -- to coin a phrase from the afore-mentioned "Jim Dandy" - have come to the rescue with a double-dose of sizzling audio proof as to why BOA could out-boogie, out-rowdy and just plain out-rock many of their contemporaries back in the day. This was a band that earned their pedigree on the concert stage and held their own with everyone from Deep Purple and Aerosmith to Black Sabbath and ZZ Top.
The Complete Raunch 'N' Roll Live is an essential testament to such. Out of print for several years now, The Complete Raunch 'N' Roll Live has been brought back to life by Real Gone Music and has been upgraded and expanded from the original album that was birthed back in 1973 as a seven-song vinyl LP. Now, the two-CD set boasts an impressive 24 tunes that were recorded on Dec. 1, 1972 at the Paramount Theater in Portland and on the next evening in Seattle.
And my, oh my, were the boys on fire those two nights.
With BOA it always begins and ends with the one-of-a-kind James Mangrum and he's in rare form on The Complete Raunch 'N' Roll Live.
From his visceral sandpaper on a chalkboard delivery of opening cut "Getting' Kinda Cocky" to his tripped-out introductions to "Uncle Lijiah" and "Mutants of the Monster" and on to his demented chants during "When Electricity Came to Arkansas" and his impassioned rhythm work on the scrub board, this is Jim Dandy in all his Technicolor glory. Well worth the price of admission all by its lonesome.
As far as guitarists go, Lynyrd Skynyrd's three amigos -- as well as The Outlaws' 'Florida Guitar Army' -- always seem to get the lion's share of love when it comes to three deep six-string slingers associated with southern rock; as well they should. But one shouldn't sleep on BOA's triple axe threat of Rickie 'Ricochet' Reynolds, Stanley 'Goober' Knight and Harvey 'Burley' Jett; a quick spin through "Full Moon Ride" is guaranteed to make the hair on your arms stand straight up in awe.
By the way that Tommy Aldridge absolutely pounds the living heck out of his drum kit and seamlessly locks in with bassist Pat 'Dirty' Daugherty, it's almost unfathomable to think that he had just hooked up with BOA not too long before the live album was recorded.
Impressive stuff for sure.
For those that think southern rock starts and stops with bands like The Allman Brothers and Molly Hatchet, this one is for you.
For those that may remember Black Oak Arkansas from back in their hey-day ... what the heck ... this one is for you, too.