Black Oak, AR
Black Oak Arkansas is an American Southern rock band named after the band's hometown of Black Oak, Arkansas. The band reached the height of its fame in the 1970s with ten charting albums released in that decade. Their style is punctuated by multiple guitar players and the raspy voice and on-stage antics of vocalist Jim "Dandy" Mangrum.
The group, originally called "The Knowbody Else", was formed in 1965 in Black Oak, Arkansas, by Ronnie "Chicky Hawk" Smith (vocals), Rickie Reynolds (guitar), Stanley Knight (guitar), Harvey Jett (guitar), Pat Daugherty (bass), and Wayne Evans (drums). Their first PA system was stolen from a local high school. Members of the group were subsequently charged in absentia with grand larceny and sentenced to 26 years at the Tucker Prison Farm (this sentence was later suspended). This led to their retreat to the hills of rural northeast Arkansas where they lived off the land and refined their musical style. They also lived in Long Beach, Mississippi and played at the local Lobe theater/dance hall. Some of their influences during this time were the Beatles and the Byrds. At some point the band and Ronnie "Chickey Hawk" Smith agreed that a mutual friend named James "Jim Dandy" Mangrum would make a better front man, Ronnie Smith agreed that he would make a better stage production manager.
The Knowbody Else moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1969 and signed a record deal with Stax Records. Their self-titled debut album was largely ignored by the public. During this time the band became interested in psychedelia and Eastern spiritualism which, combined with their Southern Baptist upbringing, contributed to their sound.