It’s been a trying couple of years for one of the most enduring institutions of Southern Rock. In 2021, beloved veterans Black Oak Arkansas lost one of their founding members, guitarist, songwriter, and vibrant, rebellious spirit Rickie Lee Reynolds. Reynolds, who was there at the very inception of the band back in 1963 when they were calling themselves The Knowbody Else, was in many ways the heart of the group, the fiery soul who kept the music playing and set the stage for legendary frontman James “Jim Dandy” Mangrum. But you can’t keep a good band down, and today a new BOA line-up, still fronted by Mangrum, announce a new studio album that seeks to honor Rickie Lee’s memory and keep the flame of Southern Rock alive and burning!
The Devil’s Jukebox is, surprisingly, BOA’s very first album of all covers in their five-decade history. Sure, the band has been known for thunderous live versions of Tommy Bolin’s “Homeward Strut,” but now for the first time ever they were given a chance to hand-select songs to record and make their own. Unsurprisingly, the band chose great classic rock tracks like The Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil” and Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody To Love”. They even reclaim what many perceive to be an anti-South song by Neil Young, “Southern Man,” which appears here alongside songs by Bob Dylan and The Mamas & The Papas.
But perhaps one of the biggest highlights of The Devil’s Jukebox is BOA’s absolutely killer take on the ‘90s alt rock megahit “Space Lord” originally by Monster Magnet. Built around one of the biggest, most bombastic guitar riffs of modern rock, “Space Lord” feels tailor-made for a southern rock reinvention and Black Oak does exactly that, infusing the track with a grittier, swampier feel that somehow makes the track even more sinister and compelling.
Stream/download the single: https://orcd.co/blackoakarkansas_spacelord
The same applies to many of the fantastic reinventions that BOA pull off on The Devil’s Jukebox and though his playing does not appear on the album, Rickie Lee’s spirit is palpable throughout. As bandleader Mangrum puts it “This album is dedicated to the memory of our brother, Rickie Lee Reynolds, who passed away right after we started recording this album. We love you Rickie Lee, you’ll never be forgotten.”
The Devil’s Jukebox is set for release on CD and digital September 1 with a beautiful vinyl version coming on September 22!
Pre-order/pre-save the digital: https://orcd.co/blackoakarkansas_thedevilsjukebox
1. Sympathy For The Devil
2. Space Lord
3. All Along The Watchtower
4. California Dreamin’
5. Rock ‘N’ Roll Woman
6. I’m A Man
7. Somebody To Love
8. Bold As Love
9. Mr. Soul
10. Southern Man
11. Goin’ Back
12. Christmas Everywhere