Black Oak Arkansas Newcastle Mayfair 1975

Black Oak Arkansas Newcastle Mayfair February 28th 1975
Support came from Welsh rockers Sassafras
Jim Dandy to the Rescue!
My mate Norm reminded me to write about seeing Black Oak Arkansas at Newcastle Mayfair in 1975. I’d forgotten all about this gig, until Norm mentioned it last night. The tour advert for the time declared: “They’re hot, they’re nasty, and they’re gonna make you scream for more!” All tickets were £1 at “Black Oak Arkansas special request”. Black Oak were (and still are!) an American southern rock boogie band, and front man Jim Dandy was just crazy on stage. The highlight of the set was “Jim Dandy to the Rescue”, their cover of R&B singer LaVern Baker’s 1956 hit, which had the Mayfair crowd all singing along. I remember Jim Dandy had insanely long hair, jumped around a lot, and played the washboard. I also recall that they did a great version of “Dixie” and had several guitarists. Norm remembers that they had a pretty big stage show, and it being the first time we saw lights with hydraulics at the side of the stage, the lighting rig rising out of a metal case. Black Oak Arkansas are still playing in America, with Jim Dandy the only original member. Jim Dandy is said to have been a big influence on Dave Lee Roth; which I can understand. I was to see Black Oak once more a year later, when they played at the 1976 Reading Festival.
Thanks to John for the following insights, which he recently (Nov 2013) emailed me: “BOA are named after the town of Black Oak (population 272) in Arkansas, released their first major album in 1970 to little success.The band featured three guitarists and the famous Jim Mangrum who was nicknamed Dandy based on how he dressed and behaved, plus Tommy Aldrige on drums. In 1973 the band played 310 concert dates and in 74, 320 dates (all of them one nighters) and also recorded four albums.They were a Top 5 Concert Act in the US in 1974.They played at the California Jam, then the largest one day paying concert in the USA with 250,000 tickets sold (I always thought it was Watkins Glen) headlined by ELP then Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and BOA. A recent TV programme showed concert footage of the band from the Albert Hall in 75 playing a few songs – Hot N Nasty, Hard Ride, Mutants of the Monster and of course Jim Dandy. The song Jim Dandy is an old song and they recorded it based on the singers nickname.The vocals are Jim plus a lady Ruby Star.I heard that song a lot and I am sure that they played on the Old Grey Whistle test (but I could be wrong) and I thought it was good. However, on the footage from the RHA his vocals are just terrible – a bit like a mad version of Ted Nugent but out of tune and with a very heavy accent. David Lee Roth must have been very heavily influenced by his style and look. I have an old rock book from 1976 which says that they supported Black Sabbath on tour in 74 , and I can remember reading a big interview with them in Melody Maker and I think they played Reading one year (76). They have a new album out and are supposed to be touring in the US.All very interesting.”

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