Archive for the ‘Black Oak Arkansas’ Category

The Reading Festival 27 – 29 August 1976

The Reading Festival 27 – 29 August 1976
readingprog It was August Bank Holiday 1976 and I was back at Reading for the annual festival. By now a group of us went every year, usually traveling down in the back of a hired transit van. The line-up for this festival wasn’t as strong as previous years, and included a mix of reggae, classic rock, underground and heavy metal bands. Punk was on the horizon, but yet to break through. The other memories I have are of rain (some, but not lots in 1976, as I recall), mud, lots of drunkenness (by us, and every one else as I remember), and lots (and I mean lots) of can fights, which seemed fun at the time, but were probably actually pretty dangerous. If you got a half-full can of Watney’s Red Barrel on the back of your head, you really knew about it, and several people must have come home from the festival with pretty nasty cuts and scars. The festival was moving from a friendly, hippy vibe to a drunken, laddish, almost aggro vibe. This also matched the way the line-up and the music would develop, as it moved more to heavy metal in the late ’70s. The main attraction for us this year was Rory, who was the man, and a hero to us all.
Friday’s line-up consisted of Stallion (don’t recall who they were), Roy St John (American pub rock), U Roy (reggae), Supercharge (a Liverpool band fronted by singer and sax player Albie Donnelly, who had quite a bit of success in the mid-70s and played a lot up and down the country; I remember seeing them several times), Mighty Diamonds (reggae), Mallard (Cpt Beefheart’s original Magic Band, and pretty good too) and headliners the hippy, trippy and quite weird Gong. I remember watching Mallard and Gong, who were both pretty good.
reading76Saturday had Nick Pickett (a folk singer, who I’d seen supporting Curved Air a few years earlier), Eddie & The Hot Rods (classed as pub rock as much as punk at this stage), Moon, Pat Travers (ace guitarist), Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum, Sadista Sisters, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Van Der Graaf Generator, Phil Manzanera and the 801 band, Camel and Rory Gallagher. Stand outs for me were Van Der Graaf who played an amazing extended version of Killer (John Peel: “Bloody marvellous, Van der Graaf Generator. Come on let’s here it for them”), Manfred Mann, and Phil Manzanera and the 801 band, which was seen as a pretty big deal at the time as Phil had assembled a stella line-up of himself (guitar), ex-Roxy compatriot Brian Eno (keyboards, synthesizers, vocals), Bill MacCormick (bass, vocals), Simon Phillips (drums), Francis Monkman (ex-Curved Air, piano and clavinet) and Lloyd Watson (ace slide-guitar, vocals). The 801 band released one album, and a live lp which was recorded at one of three gigs that they played, at the Festival Hall. They played a great version of the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows. But Rory was the highlight of the weekend. We were all massive fans, and made our way to the front of the crowd for his set, which was just amazing. A recording of Rory’s set that night exist which shows that he played: Take What I Want; Bought and Sold; Everybody Wants To Know; Drinkin’ Muddy Water; Tattoo’d Lady; Calling Card; Secret Agent; Pistol Slapper Blues; Too Much Alcohol; Souped-Up Ford and Bullfrog Blues. The Rory Gallagher band was Rory (guitar, vocals), Lou Martin (keyboards), the great Gerry McAvoy (bass) and Rod de’Ath (drums).
reading76Sunday featured: Howard Bragen; Aft; The Enid (who got the crowd singing along with Land Of Hope And Glory and became a festival favourite), A Band Called ‘O’; Back Door (very jazzy); Sassafras; Brand X (featured Phil Collins on drums); AC/DC (one of their early UK appearances, and just blew everyone away; Angus and Bon Scott on top form); Sutherland Bros & Quiver; Ted Nugent (had some arguments with the crowd who were throwing cans at him); Black Oak Arkansas (Jim Dandy to the Rescue 🙂 ) and Osibisa (who were billed as special mystery guests, which seemed a bit of a let down, but got the crowd going and went down well).
Another fun time had by all 🙂
Note; for the first time there was an official glossy programme, as well as the newspaper programme, produced by the local Evening Post. Both are pictured here.

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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.”