Early last week, I began to remember a female vocalist from the ’70s by the name of Ruby Starr. That got me to thinking about Ellen Foley, Maggie Bell, and a host of others as well but that’s another story for later.
Thinking of Ruby Starr (who died of lung cancer back in 1995) got me to thinking of her band, Grey Ghost, which, finally, got me to remembering Black Oak Arkansas. Now, black Oak Arkansas was immensely popular back in the ’70s. But when their star began to burn out, they faded so fast it made my head spin. But remembering that band brought many wonderful moments back.
Jim ‘Dandy’ Mangrum was a great frontman with plenty of swagger. In fact, you might be able to say that “Diamond Dave” Lee Roth of Van Halen fame completely stole that whole game that Mangrum created as vocalist for BOA. Hell, it’s almost identical. And I still remember his washboard playing.
Then there is Tommy Aldridge, an unsung, but well-traveled drummer, who pounded the skins for not only Black Oak Arkansas, but also Pat Travers, Ozzy Osbourne, and Whitesnake.
I won’t ignore the other fine musicians in Black Oak Arkansas who made the band a joy to listen to. But the band itself was a strong part of the ’70s Rock and Roll dream that never seems to get much recognition these days.
I’m sure there are a whole lot of other bands that were very popular back ‘in the day’ who enjoyed a meteoric career only to suddenly disappear from site. BOA never really disappeared though. Mangrum kept the band going but who really knew about them after their fall. Not I.
Still, Black Oak Arkansas was a great band with some very excellent albums to their credit. I played a lot of their videos on YouTube over the week. Enjoyed them all.
Oddly enough, I really mourn the loss of Ruby Starr, a sexy southern girl with a ton of hot charm, all of which she used liberally in her promotion of Grey Ghost, as well as her appearances with BOA. (Ruby is the female vocal part of the single “Jim Dandy”!)
I often wonder what happened with the machine known as Black Oak Arkansas, how they fell so suddenly. They were there for a long period, then they weren’t.
Do yourself a favor, especially if you were ever a fan of the band. Check out some of their vintage videos on YouTube and regain a little of your youth back.