Thursday, February 7, 2013

Black Oak Arkansas-Street Party

Street Party
Arguably their best effort, Black Oak Arkansas was one of the hottest groups around in the mid-70's when they released their sixth album entitled "Street Party" in 1974. Following up on their excellent 1973 release "High On The Hog", "Street Party" continued the pattern of mixing blistering rock tunes with down-home bluegrass-country numbers that was both satisfying and frustrating at the same time. The rock-only crowd (most of my friends at the time) considered tunes like the Caribbean/calypso flavored "Good Good Woman", the chain gang dirge of "Sure Been Workin' Hard", the doleful country offering "Going Home", the odd spiritual pair of tunes both entitled "Brink Of Creation", and the bluegrass-tinged "Everybody Wants To See Heaven" to be novel distractions at best that disturbed the momentum created by the smokin' rock numbers ("Dancing In The Streets", "Sting Me", "Jail Bait", "Son Of A Gun", "I'm A Man", "Dixie", and "Hey Y'All"). Then there were those like me who found this mixture to be an enriching experience and extremely effective inasmuchas it came from a group of seriously good musicians who decided to have some serious fun while putting out a seriously good musical product that didn't have to be taken so seriously to be enjoyed. Thanks to releases like "Street Party", I developed the ability to appreciate other musical genres beyond rock and roll at an earlier age than many of my teenaged counterparts.

And here's a nod to reviewer "mdavis255" from San Antonio for bringing up the comparison to the Darlin family on The Andy Griffith Show. Good call as the scenario you described is quite valid. However, let there be no doubt that BOA are rockers first and foremost who just happen not to have any reservations at all about slipping into their bib overalls and breaking down on some hot and nasty bluegrass and country when the mood hits them.

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