BLACK OAK, AR – Jim Dandy to the Rescue. Not these days. Jim Dandy Mangrum, the flamboyant frontman for the 70’s southern rock band Black Oak Arkansas may be in need of a rescue himself. Dandy has been in declining health for the past decade or so, having endured several heart attacks, leaving him in a state that could be described as anything but dandy.
Most of rock’s pioneers are experiencing some aches and pains these days. Jim Dandy and the bands original members formed in 1965. Then the Beatles were called longhairs, though they truly were just mop tops in comparison to Dandy who sported the waist length golden locks that made him instantly identifiable among the many emerging bands. It was Jim Dandy and the members of Black Oak Arkansas who where rock’s first true longhairs. Yet it was Dandy’s tight white spandex pants that garnered even more attention.
Clad in knee high boots, skin tight spandex britches and nothing else is how Dandy would hit the stage. Young men dug his raspy voice and raunchy onstage antics, while the ladies stayed fixated on his ever present bulge. The term “trouser trout” was coined at a Black Oak Arkansas show in Memphis in ’69.
Screenwriter Paul Thomas Anderson of Boogie Nights fame created the character Dirk Diggler following the California Jam rock music festival at the Ontario Motor Speedway where he had just seen Jim Dandy and Black Oak Arkansas perform. “I’m totally hetero-sexual” said Anderson “but damn if that thing didn’t haunt my dreams”.
Dandy is credited as a major influence of David Lee Roth, Axl Rose and James Blunt. Even christian rockers Stryper chose a wardrobe of tight spandex similar to Dandy, forsaking the advice of their manager who was pushing for Jesus type robes. It should be noted, the Stryper members members were never a distraction in the spandex pants, unlike the pistol packing Dandy.
A life of living hard made Jim Dandy the icon rock fans across America loved. That same lifestyle is responsible for Jim’s downgrade from dandy to tepid, which clearly doesn’t have the same ring to it. Despite that, a new album and tour is in the works.