Live at Royal Albert Hall ( DVD )

Titles :
1 - Introduction By Jim Dandy 2 - Lord Have Mercy On My Soul 3 - Hey Y'All 4 - Back Door Man 5 - Hot & Nasty 6 - Hot Rod 7 - Mutants Of The Monster
8 - Taxman 9 - Jim Dandy 10 - Jail Bait
Bonus : - BOA memorabilia gallery - Behind the scenes photo gallery - "High On The Hog" album trailer
Musicians :
Jim "Dandy" Mangrum - lead vocals & washboard Rickie Reynolds - rhythm guitar Harvey Jett - lead guitar Stanley Knight - lead guitar, banjo & piano
Pat Daugherty - bass Wayne Evans - drums Tommy Aldridge - drums Jimmy Henderson - lead guitar Ruby Starr - vocals


Black Oak Arkansas… Everybody knows that name but it seems that this band is still not at the top in Southern Rock memories. Is it as Southern band, in fact ? For the musicians, there’s no doubt, but real Southern music fans are not so sure (the BOA guitarist Jimmy Henderson calls themselves ‘Southern Rock Outlaw’). Musical question ? Probably not. Southern Music is open to everybody. What is in common with bands as different as The Allman Brothers Band, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Blackfoot, Marshall Tucker Band, Molly Hatchet, Point Blank and Wet Willie ? The powerful music of Black Oak Arkansas can obviously allow them to be a part of this list, close to Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet. Look of the Band ? They always wanted to be a wild bad boys band. There are three guitar players and they always gave us great performances on stage, and they always used the Rebel Flag. So ? The problem seems to be focused around Jim “Dandy” Mangrum big charisma. When we see him on stage, we know where Axl Rose found his model. Naked chest with incredible trousers at the edge of decency (back in 1974!), long wild hair, with platform-boots, playing his washboard in sensitive and sexual positions. Even with a special and surprising voice, Jim Dandy seems to be proud of his wanted sex-symbol image. And here is the point that doesn’t fit to Southern Rock? Take some famous Southern world singers (Van Zant brothers, Johnny O’ Daniel, Danny Joe Brown, Doug Gray, Ronnie Hammond for instance), bring Jim Dandy in the middle of them, and look at the difference ! That’s why Black Oak Arkansas seems to be closer to Guns n’ Roses than to any Southern Rock band. And Black Oak Arkansas seemed to be more an entertainment band than a ‘serious’ group. Jim Dandy, like David Lee Roth later for instance, seems more a show man, an entertainer, than a real singer. The DVD cover gives no precision about the place of the show, only the title, and it seems that Black Oak Arkansas has been filmed at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1974, with his new guitar player, Jimmy Henderson, 19 years old, just after Harvey Jett departure. The show begins in a bad way, because of the sound mixing, too much drums, no guitar solos. But, little by little, things improve and the sound becomes good. Proud to his reputation, the band does his best, like Rick Reynolds that stands near the drums to sometimes come and sing the choruses, a little bit like Malcolm Young in AC/DC. Filming is good and we can enjoy the party, even if the light show is not clear enough. Some guitar parts are not perfect, maybe because of Jimmy Henderson’s new arrival, maybe a little bit like Skynyrd when Steve Gaines just arrived in the band, but however all the musicians are happy to play live and we can feel it. The great cover of the Beatles ‘Taxman’ is at the moment where the sound is at his best and ‘Jim dandy’ (the song!) gives us the opportunity to enjoy the great guitar duets between the SG Special and the Les Paul Custom. Henderson takes his bottleneck, songs are in a real Southern way, the energy of the band is really close to bring everybody at a high level of happiness. But it soon stops : maybe because of technical limitations, or maybe because of the new musicians (Tommy Aldridge is new in the band too) ? However we only get 35 minutes of the show… The bonus of the DVD only show us a trailer for the promotion of their album ‘High on the Hog’, where we can hear and see the female singer Ruby Starr (who died of a cancer in 1995) who was a long time on the road with the band. We can also watch some pictures of the band, in a wild and heavy way, and their albums covers. And that’s all ! However, it is a testimony, unhappily not complete, of a band at the top of his energy and celebrity. Even if the sound quality spoils a little bit the beginning of the show, this band deserves our consideration : many American musicians are proud of them and come of their heritage, Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake), Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, John Sykes, Thin Lizzy, Yngwie Malmsteen, Pat Travers, James Mangrum, Jake E. Lee, Stan Knight, pat Daugherty, Rudy Sarzo, Ricky Reynolds, Max Norman, Don Airey, Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley, Jimmy Henderson, Pat Thrall, Ruby Starr, Pete Cowling, Michael Shrieve, Gary Moore, House of Lords, Motorhead ! The list is not over ! Maybe one day this band will be known as it deserves it ? When we watch this DVD, at the end, we really think that it could have been longer, and that shows how good this band was on stage.
Yves Philippot

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