Thursday, June 08, 2006

Black Oak Arkansas - Raunch'n'Roll Live!

I suppose that I should consider this a “guilty pleasure” album, but I really don’t! None other than Creem magazine (either Lester Bangs or R. Meltzer – I forget which, now) declared that this was the best live record since Kick Out The Jams, so how can ya go wrong?!

Yes, this is the same band that did the somewhat silly version of the 50’s tune, “Jim Dandy” (which I also dig) in honor of their singer of the same name, but it was Elvis Presley that suggested that they do it! And, as Jim said at the time, “if Elvis tells you to do something, you do it!”

On this album, though, their triple guitar attack is focused on their aptly-named “raunch’n’roll”! With titles like “Getting Kinda Cocky”, “Gigolo”, “Hot Rod” and “Hot and Nasty”, there is no doubt as to what Jim is talking about – especially when you see him (ALL of him!) in his tighter-than-skin-tight spandex jumpsuit! And fans of Van Halen need to see videos of this band to see where David Lee Roth stole his entire schtick! The look, the hair, the moves, the onstage banter, the lyrics – Diamond Dave got it all from Mr. Dandy!

There was talk at the time about these guys not being virtuosos, but when you listen to this record, there is no doubt that these cats can play! Check out Pat Daugherty’s bass intro to “Electricity Comes to Arkansas”, or Tommy Aldridge’s drumming throughout, including the obligatory drum solo in the pot-themed “Up”. The three guitarists make a beautiful noise on all the tunes, sometimes in harmony, sometimes just rockin’, without ever stepping on each other’s toes. Even Jim Dandy chimes in with some microphoned washboard playing!

Yes, as with most of the 70’s bands, these guys degenerated as the years went by – losing members (one guitarist quit because he found god – and even spoke at my college about turning his back on the r’n’r lifestyle), adding keyboards, and writing lame songs. But, at this time, this was a real party band!

In the words of Jim Dandy introducing “Electricity”, “This is High Energy!!!”

(You can check out a website dedicated to BOA here)


Post a Comment

<< Home