BOA’S STAR-STUDDED TRIBUTE
Album boasts impressive lineup of iconic punk rockers
The steady f low of Memphis-connected tribute projects (we reported last week on a forthcoming album paying homage to Charlie Rich) continues with the release of a new record dedicated to Southern hard rockers Black Oak Arkansas.
The disc, “Mutants of the Monster: A Tribute to Black Oak Arkansas” comes out Friday (CD and digital) from the Saustex Records label out of Houston, but it’s a local effort through and through.
In addition to its Memphis-based subject (Black Oak has claimed the Bluff City as its home base for decades now), the disc was put together by Joey Killingsworth and Dik Ledoux of Jocephus and the George Jonestown Massacre.
The group serves as the backing band for the bulk of the 17 tracks on the disc. Black Oak frontman Jim “Dandy” Mangrum, guitarist Rickie Lee Reynolds, as well as late BOA ax man Jimmy Henderson, turn up on several tracks. But it’s the roster of guest contributors that’s both impressive and unexpected. It includes a number of iconic punk names: the Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra, Black Flag’s Greg Ginn, Antiseen’s Jeff Clayton, and the Butthole Surfers’ Paul Leary and JD Pinkus.
The project was six years in the making. Back in 2011, Jocephus collaborated with Mangrum on tracks for a 7-inch single of Black Oak covers. But, as Killingsworth notes, the interest in and affection for Black Oak was such that the idea of a full BOA tribute album soon took on a life of its own. “It seemed like the more people we got on board, the easier it got to get other people involved,” he says.
Ultimately, the guest roster would come to include the Supersuckers’ Eddie Spaghetti, Dash Rip Rock’s Bill Davis, Shooter Jennings, Jimbo Mathus, Hawkwind’s Nik Turner, longtime Willie Nelson harmonica ace Mickey Raphael, and former NFL offensive tackle Kyle Turley, among others.
Killingsworth says part of the goal for the project is to focus on Black Oak’s music, particularly the work of the band’s numerous sixstring stylists.
“The guitar players from Black Oak never seemed to get their due,” K illingsworth says. “Harvey Jett and Stanley Knight, Jimmy Henderson and Ricky Lee . . . that’s some monster players and playing that nobody talks about. That was the main catalyst for me — to get them guys some attention. There’s so many good heavy rock Black Oak songs. We wanted to shine a light on that.”
Jocephus the George Jonestown Massacre will celebrate the release of the disc with a show at 10 p.m. Friday night at RockHouse Live Midtown (2586 Poplar). Whatever Dude and Chees Kees will also perform. Cover is $5.
CD copies will be available at the show; a limited-edition double orange vinyl LP will come out in September. Proceeds from the sales will go to Memphis animal charity The Savior Foundation.
For more on “Mutants of the Monster,” go to saustex.com.
AVENUE TO STAX
Fa st-r isi ng Memphis blues-rock combo Southern Avenue is officially part of the Stax Records family. The band’s long-rumored signing to California-based Concord Music Group, the company that owns and operates the contemporary Stax label, was formalized last week.
The group — led by Israeli-born guitarist Ori Naftaly, with vocalist Tierinii Jackson, drummer Tikyra Jackson and bassist Daniel Mckee — has been working with producer Kevin Houston (North Mississippi Allstars, Lucero) on their debut album for Stax.
Announcing the signing, Concord Label Group president John Burk said Southern Avenue “embodies the spirit and sound of Memphis, both past and present. And Stax is the perfect imprint to represent Southern Avenue’s unique blend of rhythm and blues, gospel and Southern soul.”
Southern Avenue’s album is expected to come out sometime in spring 2017. In the meantime, the group has been hitting the road hard. This weekend will see them play B.B. King’s Blues Club in New York City, as part of a brief East Coast run, ahead of a tour of Belgium and the Netherlands.
The band’s next Memphis show is set for Sept. 8 at Beale Street’s Rum Boogie Café.
Mississippi R&B icon Bobby Rush is back with a new album. Rush’s latest — the vividly titled “Porcupine Meat” — is set for a Sept. 16 release on Rounder Records.
The disc finds venerable Rush — a three-time Grammy nominee and Blues Music Hall of Fame member — backed by a crew of top New Orleans players, plus name guests including Dave Alvin, Joe Bonamassa, Keb’ Mo’ and Vasti Jackson.
Ahead of the record, Rush will be in the MidSouth, performing as part of Saturday’s Tri-state Blues Festival at the Landers Center in Southaven. The 14th annual edition of the event will feature Rush along Lenny Williams, Shirley Brown, T.K. Soul and Sir Charles Jones, among others.
Tickets for the event, which starts at 6:30 p.m., are $28 to $60. Available now at all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com or (800) 745-3000.
The great Bobby Rush readies a new album and highlights this weekend’s Tri-state Blues Festival in Southaven.
Southern rockers Black Oak Arkansas are the subject of a new tribute LP, spearheaded by Memphis band Jocephus and the George Jonestown Massacre.
MEMPHIS MUSIC BEAT