Album Reviews

Various Artists

A Tribute To Black Oak Arkansas: Mutants Of The Monster

Artist:     Various Artists

Album:     Mutants Of The Monster

Label:     Saustex Records

Release Date:     08/19/2016

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When ranking bands from southern rock’s golden age, Black Oak Arkansas fits in the middle with groups like Molly Hatchet, the Marshall Tucker Band and the Outlaws. Black Oak Arkansas scored one big hit, a raucous cover of “Jim Dandy,” and a well-earned reputation as a wildly fun live act.

The new tribute album, Mutants Of the Monster, also reveals BOA’s fandom stretching across country, hard rock and punk rock lines. Organized and anchored by Memphis country punkers Joecephus & the George Jonestown Massacre, this 17-track set features contributions from members of Butthole Surfers, Supersuckers, Lucero, Hawkwind and Willie Nelson’s band.

It’s an hour of blazing rock ‘n’ roll, where guest vocalists often play second fiddle to the guitarists. On “When Electricity Came To Arkansas,” you are drawn more to Black Flag’s Greg Ginn and BOA’s own guitarist Rickie Lee Reynolds guitar duel than Antiseen’s Jeff Clayton’s vocals, and Joecephus’ Joey Killingsworth and Mercyful Fate’s Michael Denner epic soloing, not singer Christopher “CT” Terry’s sinister growl, fuel the seven-minute take of the title track.

Nashville Pussy’s Ruyter Suys not only lays down ear-pounding riffs on “Hey Y’all,” but also adds a welcome female presence whether she’s belting out “Strong Enough To Be Gentle” or supporting Jello Biafra on a revved up rendition of “Jim Dandy.”

Everyone seems to have had a good time making this CD, and Mutants is enjoyable, head-banging fun, but it isn’t likely to elevate Black Oak Arkansas to southern rock royalty.

– Michael Berick

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