Title - 'Underdog Heroes'
Artist - Black Oak Arkansas
For those not in the know, Black Oak Arkansas is an American Southern rock band named after the band's hometown of Black Oak, Arkansas.
Their style is punctuated by multiple guitar players and the raspy voice and on-stage antics of vocalist Jim "Dandy" Mangrum and reached the height of its fame in the 1970s with ten charting albums released in that decade.
Their first full-length album of all new recordings in more than 30 years, the just-released Underdog Heroes (out now via Cleopatra Records) features founding members Jim "Dandy" Mangrum (vocals) and Rickie Lee Reynolds (guitar).
Having kept the spirit of BOA alive over the intervening years it's their songwriting partnership that makes this album an essential release in the band's much heralded catalog.
1. 'Don't Let It Show'
2. 'Underdog Heroes'
3. 'Channeling Spirits'
4. 'Ruby's Heartbreaker'
5. 'The Wrong Side of Midnight'
6. 'The Devil's Daughter' [Feat. Sammy B. Seauphine]
7. 'Arkansas Medicine Man'
8. 'Do Unto Others' [Feat. Shawn Lane]
9. 'You Told Me You Loved Me'
10. 'Love 4 Rent'
11. 'The 12 Bar Blues'
12. 'Johnnie Won't Be Good'
On an album that truly delivers from start to finish, and with lyrical references encouraging people to come together when times get tough, tributes to lost loves, songs that detail the pain of street life all lovingly wrapped up within some of the most dedicated blues rock 'n' roll boogie that I've heard in a long time, Underdog Heroes is a stunning return to form for the band.
The album opens with the unique trademark lo-fi growl from front man Jim "Dandy" Mangum on the heartfelt ballad 'Don't Let It Show' and that's backed up by both the spirited guitar fest of the title track and the tribute to those that have departed us within the industry, 'Channeling Spirits.'
The storytelling of 'Ruby's Heartbreaker,' a song "... dedicated to memory of an unforgettable little lady with red hair and a perfect derriere" is up next and that's followed by the growled passages of darkness within 'The Wrong Side of Midnight.'
One of the best tracks on the album, in my humble opinion is the blues rock of 'The Devil's Daughter' featuring the unmistakable vocals of Sammy B. Seauphine (founder/front woman of melodic metal band, Dark Epiphany).
Up next comes the howling rock winds of 'Arkansas Medicine Man' which in turn is backed by another stand out cut in 'Do Unto Others'. Now this is a very special recording for many reason, lest the fact that it features the incredible talents of virtuoso guitarist Shawn Lane; regarded by many as one of the fastest guitar players to ever live, and a member of the BOA clan since 1978!
The slow rock roll of 'You Told Me You Loved Me' is next and that's followed by the slower lo-fi vibe of 'Love 4 Rent.' The album then rounds out with the blues rockier 'The 12 Bar Blues,' and finally a rousing 'Johnnie Won't Be Good.'
Underdog Heroes is available on both CD and a special limited edition GOLD vinyl pressing (only 300 made!).
Official CD Purchase Link