Black Oak Arkansas

ARTICLE ABOUT The A-Z of Heavy Metal FROM SOUNDS (Part 2), April 26, 1975

Here I continue what I started in my last post. Hope you enjoy it. These are the bands that mattered in 1975 when they spoke about “heavy metal”. I guess most people don`t call many of these bands “metal” in 2019.
Read on!

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Rock from `eavy to `umble or
The Sounds A – Z of Heavy Metal

Compiled by Pete Makowski and Geoff Barton

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Babe Ruth

`Eek! `Screech!` Closely followed by a dull `clung!`

Bachman Turner Overdrive

Heavy Duty Rock. It all started when Randy Bachman left top selling Canadian band Guess Who. He wrote their hits (e.g `American Woman`) and eventually decided to try his hand at solo albums and producing. He got together with another ex-Guess Who member Chad Allen and his brother Rob Bachman to record an album `Brave Belt`. Reprise were interested in the product but wanted a band to go on the road and sell it. So C. F. Turner was added on bass to complete a roadworthy line up. Allen dropped out of the band before the release of the Belt`s second album, another Bachman, Timmy, joined on guitar. They recorded their third album and left Reprise to join Mercury, Brave Belt III became Bachman Turner Overdrive. After two moderately successful albums Timmy left to produce and was replaced by Great Vancouver guitarist Blair Thornton. Things began happening and by the time of the release of their third album – `Not Fragile` – they were big business. Their popularity has even spread here (You Ain`t Seen Nothin` Yet`, `Roll Down The Highway`). Their music combines all the excitement of the world`s leading rock bands, packaged neatly into one tight commercial bundle.

Bad Company

Probably one of today`s most popular `commercial` rock and roll bands. They`ve hit the jackpot from the start with their single `Can`t Get Enough Of Your Love` and album `Bad Co` and second time round their album `Straight Shooter` is selling well. Stable mates to those `eavy boys Zeppelin, Bad Co is half of Free, Paul Rodgers (vocals) and Simon Kirke (drums) – the others Paul Kossoff (unemployed) and Andy Fraser (new band just formed) – plus Mick Ralphs (guitar) ex-Mott, and former King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell.

Jeff Beck

Beck can be as vicious as the heftiest of metallurgists, soft as a pigeon`s tail feather, depending on his mood, or his band, of the moment. Compare `Cause We`ve Ended Now As Lovers` with the savagery of his playing on the likes of `Plynth` (on Cosa Nostra Beck-Ola`) and see what I mean. Neither the Yardbirds (in which Beck replaced Eric Clapton) nor the brilliant Beck Group with Stewart, Wood and Waller was exactly heavy metal, but both were vital influences on the bands that made up the first division, first generation of the emerging muscular metal groups. Beck later joined Beck, Bogert, Appice, and joined the ranks of those who had followed on the lead of the old Beck bands. As usual, the results were sometimes spectacular, sometimes very ordinary. Beck quickly outgrew his desire to out-heavy the opposition, and moved on to more melodic and intricate music.

Bedlam

`Is Bedlam the new Cream` asked one music paper, well not quite, but Bedlam did revive a thrashing rock sound that was reminiscent of the late Sixties into a 70s package – a definite British sound that never quite made it. The band was formed by ex-Jeff Beck drummer Cozy Powell who along with Dave Ball (guitar), his brother Dennis (bass) and singer Frank Aiello produced one album.

Black Oak Arkansas

The blond and bleached Jim Dandy Mangrum and Arkansan cohorts are the epitome of American raunch and roll. The band started about 13 years ago when they acquired their first bits of equipment from local schools, `they just got off probation a couple of years ago. Their success is the result of solid roadwork and an exciting live performance. On record they seem to lack that certain je-ne-sais-quoi. Their new guitarist, 20 year old So` Bean, could put a change to that.

Black Sabbath

Highly popular, originally black magic, now big league metal band, Sabbath are currently slightly more mature in approach than they were say, with their first three albums. `Warning` a track on their first album produced by Roger Bain is definitely recommended. Had a hit with `Paranoid`. Currently hibernating.

Black Widow

Came out at the same time as Black Sabbath but never quite made it. Their music was in the same genre and they took the whole Black Magic thing one step further by culminating the show with a mock sacrifice featuring chief witch Alex Sanders and his wife. Got a lot of scandal press coverage.

Blue Cheer

Probably the closest thing to a critic`s idea of a Heavy Metal band. This powerhouse trio were an American interpretation of the Cream and the Yardbirds? Their weapon was volume, energy and simplicity and in `67 they pioneered a style which has remained with us ever since. Their rendition of Cochran`s `Summertime Blues` was a Heavy Metal anthem, a classic, those bombastic powerchords, throbbing bass blues and battering percussion sent the message home. The original line up featured Paul Whaley (drums), Dick Peterson (bass) and Leigh Stephens (guitar). Stephens left the band to record some solo albums and was replaced by Randy Holden, this also marked the end of the band for most people. They never bettered their first two efforts `Vincibus Eruptium` and `Outside Inside`.

Blue Oyster Cult

Probably the most competent of recent American heavy bands. Undeniably derivative, the B. O`Cult are nevertheless great fun. Surrealist lyrics and Buck Dharma`s sizzling guitar are the two things that strike you immediately. Their current `On Your Feet Or On Your Knees` double album is the best live rock effort for years.

Edgar Broughton Band

From the Midlands, and regarded as outcasts even in their family life, `Them Broughtons` started a rock and roll band. They got famous for benefits and free gigs, for the People`s Music, for endless versions of tunes like `Out Demons Out` and `Freedom`, and they gathered an audience that included some of the most loyal and relentless head-shakers and shoulder-joggers known to the British concert hall. In some ways they were close to the Third World War kind of thing – Preachin` revolution if not violence – and they`ve had their share of busts and court cases. These days they`re more into mime and theatre than the star right heads – down – and – people`s – boogie number but the WEEMEENIT set is still strong and faithful.

Brownsville Station

“We`re just aiming for that great E chord in the sky”, says the Station`s outspoken guitarist / vocalist Cub Koda. It seems this bombshell trio found it. Their music is raucous punk rock, tight, jam-free. They scored with their teenage anthem `Smoking In The Boys Room` which also sold well here. Henry `H-Bomb` Weck (drums) and Michael Lutz (bass) completed the trio. So far they`ve had two hit albums in the States – `Yeah` and `School Punks`.

Budgie

Loud three-piece Welsh band, first formed in 1968 when bassist Burke Shelley met one-time drummer Ray Phillips in a record shop. Their first album, released in July 1971, was produced by Roger Bain. Guitarist Tony Bourge pumps out a good bludgeoning riff, their numbers `Breadfan` and `Whisky River` are as good metal as you`ll hear anywhere. Phillips (now in a band called Woman) was replaced by Pete Boot (who has since joined Sweaty Betty) and the band`s current drummer is a guy called Steve Williams. Their fourth album `In For The Kill` just made the album charts last year. Their repertoire also includes numbers with eccentric titles: `Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman`, `A Crash Course In Brain Surgery` for example. Great stuff.

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CREAM 

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Cactus

Beck, Bogert and Appice without Beck? Cactus were probably what Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice got together to flex their muscles before the formation of BB&A. Featuring Rusty Day (vocals), Jim McCarthy (guitar), they released three albums in this form between 1970 and 1972 then split. Another Cactus without the original core of the band (ie Appice and Bogert) appeared on the scene, which seemed a pointless excercise.

Climax Chicago

Out of the blues boom came a thousand bands, each one aping the city blues of America and few of them making big waves. Foghat were one (see below) and the Climax Chicago Blues Band, with the influences inherent in the name, were another. They played a lot here around 69/70, didn`t get very far, and eventually made a more than respectable living in America – easing off the blues pedal and doing that boogie-metal thing a bit more. Hence they dropped the `Blues Band` tag. It`s a familiar story.

Alice Cooper

Shockrock. The name was enough to confuse people. When Alice Cooper (alias Vincent Furnier) and his Detroit cronies (Glen Buxton, guitar, Michael Bruce, guitar, Dennis Dunaway, bass and Neal Smith, drums) appeared on the scene, no one was ready. They were so unpopular that their mass dejection inspired Frank Zappa to sign them onto his label – Straight. They released two albums, `Pretties For You` and `Easy Action` in `69, and they bombed miserably. It wasn`t until the band moved to Warners that they got the visuals of their act and the music together, this resulted with the classic `Love It To Death` album in `71, followed by US hit single `I`m Eighteen` which was proclaimed a contemporary to `My Generation`. Their show progressed from mere hangings to simulated mutilations as the years progressed, their music became more theatrical. They scored in this country with `School`s Out` in `72, followed by `Elected`. The band peaked with `Billion Dollar Babies` in `73 and retired from touring, and a year later they released `Muscle Of Love` which was the first album to receive mass appraisal on a musical level by the press. Again they remained static for a year, Cooper has returned with Lou Reed`s former band backing him and a new album and show (`Welcome To My Nightmare`). The rest of the original band, whose future with Cooper is still not definite, are in the process of recording solo ventures. Cooper`s antics have lost their initial controversial appeal. Although it`s equally theatrical, somehow it seems oddly normal in this day and age.

Cream

They came along at just the right time, they were (almost) the first, and they were magnificent. Three musicians from jazz, rock and R&B backgrounds who called themselves, and were, the Cream – the first genuine `supergroup`. In 1966 they came wailing out of nowhere with Jack Bruce howling `I Feel Free` and Eric Clapton doing things on the fretboard that most people figured was sleight of hand, while Ginger Baker`s restrained thunder provided an indespensable bottom. All of a sudden those twelve bar clichès were as viable as yesterday`s papers, and everyone craned their necks to see how long Cream could fly. It was 1966 the dawn of Flower-Power, `Revolver` had warped a good few minds and paved the way for further psychedelic excess, San Francisco was the new Liverpool, and Dylan had disappeared, for the time being at least. An audience and a generation of performers had grown through pop and wanted something more challenging. Cream gave it them in no uncertain terms. At the critical moment when pop was beginning to take itself seriously and call itself rock, along came three musical colossi, as it then seemed, who asserted without need of proof that you could play rock with all the passion and technical skill of any other music, and still create riotous excitement. Hendrix as an instrumentalist and Pete Townshend, for a while, were the only other people even in the running. Clapton, a blues purist until Hendrix opened his ears to flash and pyrotechnics, blossomed in Cream: on the old blues classics he wrought wondrous changes, and on Brown and Bruce`s originals he positively went into orbit. Bruce had a fluid lyrical bass style and a voice like a chilling gale. Baker, in the best performances he has given before or since, could even make a cowbell speak. `Fresh Cream` their first album, and the electrifying impact of their live performances revolutionised rock. They set the trend for extended soloing, which is fully explored in the live half of their double album `Wheels Of Fire`. A second album `Disraeli Gears` had appeared meanwhile containing classics such as the haunting `Strange Brew` and `Tales Of Brave Ulysses`. Tours of Britain and America followed and unanimous critical and commercial success. Then in 1969 always plagued by internal dissent, they broke up; Clapton to go to the abortive Blind Faith and then solo. Baker also to Blind Faith, then his ill-fated Airforce, and Africa for a long while before returning with the Baker-Gurvitz Army: Jack Bruce to various jazz outfits, and solo work again with poet Pete Brown`s lyrics, before a brief spell with Mountain`s Leslie West and Corky Laing, and now of course his new group with Carla Bley and Mick Taylor. For a while the Cream mantle fell upon Mountain who ploughed the Cream furrow until it was a highway. But Mountain were not alone; Cream made changes in rock that ensured it would never be the same again.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Frank Zappa, Gladys Knight, Women In Rock, Betty Wright, Steve Harley, Peter Frampton, Labelle, Peter Skellern, Ray Davies, Larry Uttal, Chris Spedding, Anne Murray, Sweet Sensation, Bernard Purdie, Mike Harding, Ronnie Lane, Yes.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Tommy Aldridge (Black Oak Arkansas) FROM SOUNDS, September 28, 1974

I imagine that this must be one of the earliest interviews ever done with this excellent drummer. The way that Mr. Makowski singles him out of the line-up of the band shows you that he had enough musical clue to know who`s good and who`s not. No wonder Mr. Makowski have done so many great contributions to the music press.
Enjoy this article with a man who have played with artists like Pat Travers Band, Gary Moore, Ozzy Osbourne, Yngwie Malmsteen, Patrick Rondat, Motörhead, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent, Vinnie Moore and more…

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`If I wasn`t doing this, I`d probably be a mass murderer or something like that.`
Tommy Aldridge. Drummer, Black Oak Arkansas.

`Oh, um, must rush now Tommy, I`ve just remembered – I`ve got to get some new bicycle clips.`
Pete Makowski. Reporter, Sounds.

Now I`m not going to claim to be one of Black Oak Arkansas biggest fans, and it wasn`t Jim Dandy`s cavortings that attracted me to the band, oh no squire, to tell you the truth I found the band to be slightly… er uninteresting until Tommy “Dork” Aldridge went into his drum solo, and Christ, what a solo!
Y`see until then I found solo`s to be a good excuse to go out for a quick pint, with a few rare exceptions, but the `dork` showed me what solo`s are supposed to be like.
Not being musical technicians, most of us don`t know a twin flick underarm paradiddle when it`s staring us in the face. Of course, the skill of percussionists like Ian Paice and Billy Cobham is a different matter, but the usual solo consists of the regular stuff culminating with more of the regular stuff – a bit boring.
Aldridge managed to combine his skill with one of the most potent visual acts I`ve seen in years and for an unknown quantity he seemed quite capable of stirring up plenty of dust.
The band arrived last week to play a couple of concerts, giving me the opportunity to speak to this regular four star laid back Southerner. Away from the Blitz Krieg of dork type rock and roll, Tommy is a quiet composed character who spends most of his time taking photographs, with the help of an impressive collection of photographical implements lying in the corner of his room.
Tommy is the band`s most recent acquisition and began his career playing in local bands. “Ah always played down South, Georgia, jamming around jest lookin` fer a gig. I really like Buddy Rich he kinda inspired me, I don`t play anything like him, but I like the way he plays.”

Aldridge kept moving around playing with bands long enough to earn a crust until around three years ago. “I had a friend who was in the sound system business, in Memphis Tennessee, and he was doing the sound with Black Oak, he was an old, old friend of mine from way back. And he told me the band were looking for a drummer, and I did an audition with them in Memphis.”
What was his first impression of the band?
“When I got into the band it was on a different level. They weren`t making much money but still it was the best thing I`d been in. It was still at the foundation level.”
Were the band just as visual in their early years?
“Well I don`t know, I guess we`ve got a little crazier in the last few years. We`ve always been known as a visual band, not so much a theatrical band, but more of a visual band than say a record group.”
Would the band like to broaden their hemisphere musically speaking?
“On stage it`s kinda hard for us to do anything rather than what we do `cause… well here it`s different. In America people expect certain things from us, so we have to more or less stay within those limits. But over here people don`t know what to expect from us `cause they don`t know us that well. So we`re not really restricted to a certain thing here.
The band made quite an impression (almost literally) on the British audiences when they did a support tour with Sabbath earlier this year, were they pleased with the results?
“We thought it was okay, it`s not near the response we get back home, but we wouldn`t expect that. At first it was kinda weird cause the audiences were really quiet, checking us out more or less and we didn`t know what it was going to be like, but after the first couple of gigs it was alright.”

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I asked Tommy what he credited the band`s success to. “I guess most of our success is down to consistency, we`re on stage a lot. We didn`t have all the hype and the push of the AM airplays, the recognition and momentum you get being constantly exposed on the radio. We had to do it manually. We had to go out and be in front of people physically and God, did it take us a long time.
“We spend a lot of time on the road and give the people a little something to look at, it`s not really theatrical, it`s all basic, we`re just a showband.”
What kind of music do you like listening to back home?
“I like kinda laid back things, I like Joni Mitchell a helluva lot. I like rock and roll too, but I`m surrounded by it so much and I play it so much.
“We all kinda let loose on stage. `Cause living in these lil ol` hotels and eating all this bogus food, and generally living on the road, makes you get kinda cynical if you don`t watch yourself. We`ve been able to release all that by playing on stage `cause that`s all we really do.
“We don`t have much of a personal life, we can`t go out gallavanting on the town `cause we don`t know nobody and we don`t stay around long enough to make many friends, so you gotta get the tensions out some way. If I wasn`t doing this, maybe I`d be a mass murder or something like that.”
The band have never really come out with anything substantial on record and their performance seems to rely on atmosphere. This is lacking on record and Aldridge is aware of this.
“We haven`t really concentrated on the records, playing live is where our strength lies, our strength hasn`t been in the records, we do okay but we have to stay out on the road to do what we wanna do. But this new album we`re working on has got the feel we`ve been after. We`ve already laid down three tracks and we`re production it ourselves.
“The last album we did was with Tom Dowd, whose a genius without a doubt. It`s just that it was a kind of formal atmosphere when we were in the studio and we`re very informal.
“We`ve been trying to figure out why we don`t come across so well on record as we do live. We recorded our recent material at Isaac Hayes` Buttered Soul studios and that was great, it`s captured our feel.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Ron Wood, The Sharks, John Cale, Michael Fennelly, John Sebastian, Sparks, John Entwistle, Maggie Bell, CSNY, Scott English, Tom Scott, John Grimaldi, Brian Robertson, Steve Howe, Lorraine Ellison, Tony Visconti.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Black Sabbath and Black Oak Arkansas FROM SOUNDS, May 25, 1974

A new year is here, and as my first posting I think that this double concert review will kick off things in style. Funny that these two “black” bands toured together. Enjoy!

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Concert review

By Pete Makowski

Stoke, Bloody, Stoke, eh? I can now admit to seeing my first Sabbath gig and it proved to be quite a mind shattering experience. For a start Stoke Trentham Gardens venue is quite an odd place anyway what with a ridiculously limited capacity (something to do with the doors on the side of the hall not being counted as fire exits) also, it`s in the centre of what could be described as Stoke`s version of Kew Gardens. It seemed quite strange to see a band as heavy as Sabbath in such serene surroundings.
The band that kicked off the evening were American friends of Sabb – Black Oak Arkansas who left me rather dazed and confused. They went down extremely well and I can understand why but the music they played was absolutely dire. But that didn`t really matter because with a showman like Jim Dandy they could help but go down well. That guy comes over strong like a sledge hammer in the guts. His vocals are deep and raunchy and he struts around the stage like an arrogant peacock occasionally leaping up in the air and pulling various stunts.
All the numbers sounded the same with the exception of “Mutants Of The Monster” and their rendition of “Dixie” which was very well played.
Ozzie Osbourne and Jim Dandy project themselves in a similar way and they would also win first prize in the look alike contest. Something that impressed me more than Dandy`s cahorting was the drummer Tommy Aldridge, who played an immaculate solo. Technically I wouldn`t know how good it was, that didn`t matter it was just so hard and
rhythmic that the guy even got a standing ovation from the audience. And when he leaped out to the front of the stage offering his sticks to the audience, there was virtually a riot.
He then went back and played some more without sticks, that guy has just got to be seen to be believed. The band had to do an encore which turned out to be their best song of the night, their single “Jim Dandy” and kids were still screaming for more after that. If this band`s music matched up to their stage act they`d be sensational but until then I can see them doing well at gigs but I wouldn`t imagine their records selling in the masses. Still I can honestly say I`ve never seen an unknown support band go down so well.

The stage was done up quite nicely with an English and American flag suspended from either side and a huge crucifix was hanging in the middle with strands of white wool trailing down either side. Their gear consists of speakers on top of speakers and mountains of amps – I`ve never seen so much equipment.
Sabbath strode onto the stage calmly and the crowd immediately leapt onto their feet. They opened the set with what I believed to be “Tomorrows Dream” and Ozzie leapt into action straight away flaying his arms all over the place and peace signs seemed to be the order of the day. Boy are they loud, it`s not so much the volume it`s the way they use it. It pounds into your nervous system and renders you helpless.
Each number kept at the same thunderous pace. The best part of the night was when they played material of their new album including “Killing Yourself To Live” and “Sabbra Cadabra” which featured some neat guitar from a short haired Tony Iommi.
Being a bit of a riff rat myself I really rate their new album which is much more refined than their previous efforts although it stays closely to the roots that they were set on the first and their other good album. Other numbers the band pounded away were “War Pigs”, “Snowblind”, “Iron Man”, and “Children Of The Grave”, which closed the show. Of course they came back for an encore.
“This songs from `Paranoid` what`s it going to be?” screamed Ozzie.
“PARANOID!” the audience yelled back, they were right. The band really let loose. Bassist Geezer Butler is quite a showman himself moving all the time occasionally kicking a leg up into the air.
I`ve got to admit, for the most part I didn`t enjoy this concert and I found myself watching the audience more than the band. I just couldn`t cope with the sound which came over dull and monotonous. But I`m glad I saw them just for the fact that I can now appreciate why their fans like them so much.
I spoke to Ozzie after the set and it seemed that the band were disgruntled with the sound the monitors were giving.
“For sound this place is terrible it`s like a bloody second world war aircraft hanger,” said Osbourne, “but I suppose this is the only good venue. Anyway the kids enjoyed themselves and that`s what I`m here for.” I wish I`d said that.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Goldie Zelkowitz, Curtis Knight, Simon Alexander, Steely Dan, Chris Stainton, Ronnie Lane, Elliott Murphy, Loudon Wainwright, Tim Buckley, Steve Miller, Beach Boys, Tommy Vance, Jim Simpson, Stefan Grossman, Lynsey de Paul, Mott the Hoople, Kevin Ayers,
Dave Cousins, ELP.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.