A Message from Jim Dandy

An open letter to bring us together, from “The Dandy”
To all our fans and true believers, thank you for keeping the faith and for always taking up for us and arguing our case. You might have thought we went away, but actually, we never left your side. It’s sort of like being invisible if you don’t have a CD deal, when the whole world has gone to a CD format, and we hadn’t signed one ’til now. It’s a spirit world thing, waiting for the right time to sing. It seemed like forever, but at last, after way too long, we’re back to stay with you forever. It’s meant to be, and you know I know you know what I mean ’cause it’s been a long time coming. I mean, when I say, this is it, all the pieces fit, that’s because the time is right, right now.
Now I’d like to say this to you, our fans: we’ll never forget you, because you have never forgotten us. For most stars, it’s often been said. “How soon they forget.” But that’s not what our Black Oak Arkansas Wild Bunch fans are like. Real world true hearts, both young and old, from all walks of life. Some of the original Wild Bunch fans have long since cut their hair, and now hold jobs at places like NASA and Chase Manhattan Bank still waiting for me to jump off stage yelling, “Follow me!” But not yet! This time we’re gonna do you proud. I hope someday to be what you see in me. For, if I could, I know we’d be bigger that we ever were.
It has seemed like forever, and I am sorry you had to wait so long, but we’ve just now come upon our time. Our time is now. Now we’re back on the road hittin’ the bricks, this band is out of the bag, and I’m back to my old tricks, and a few new ones. A new tour with new songs, celebrating the debut of our new album that you’ve all been waiting for, for way too long.Just when you least expected it to happen, our time has come again, and to the band you least expect to ever come back. That’s why we’ll be the biggest come back ever in the history of the record business.
Yes, we’re the band and the man whose belief in our fans turned out a legion of followers into and army of believers. So, let me invite you all to join us now as we begin the new millennium and embark upon a new level of adventure. The unbelievable, where no band, man, or fan have gone before. Now, we solemnly do vow and have given our oath to go all the way and finish what we started in ’69. All the way to the only fantastic finale that fits to the kind of blow-your-mind-surprise attack beginning that only we could have done. We made old hypocrites nervous, because we were born to favor a purpose. Wild-eyed boys who came out of nowhere, going everywhere, getting hot and nasty, turned on, tuned in, and talking about Karma. With our hair to our waist, smashing icons, and breaking taboos from state to state. When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose. We fight for the right to be free to choose. We were the ones your mamas warned you about, the radical non-conformists of our time. Just by taking one look at us, our established authoritarian leaders always swore, more and more. “Those boys just ain’t right.” But that’s all right, ’cause when you ain’t right in the world so wrong, God, it makes you proud.
In the beginning, Rickie Lee and me were boyhood friends who bonded together, got busted together, and haircuts together for agitating the change that had been denied. We proved that the truth was stronger that lies, but we had to find better way to do it that to fight ’em one at a time. We chose rock-n-roll music. We were self-taught, loud and raw, but we learned to use it. Some people talk between songs to be able to sing. We learned to sing and play so we could talk between the songs (I was a natural-born agitator). Rickie Lee Reynolds went to school with me, and was a well-read, straight A student with a great sense of humor. It’s a good thing too, ’cause I got him kicked out of school forever. I have always loved and believed in his song writing. The first place we ever rehearsed was in a bean elevator at a cotton gin in my little hometown of Black Oak, Arkansas. In 1968, two years later in California, that fact is why Jerry Cohen (a Wild Bunch member then who has passed on now) had the idea of changing the name of the band from Knowbody Else to Black Oak Arkansas. We had just come upon the scene in California, and this was just before we signed with Atco Records. That was when we had the good fortune to be the last of five acts ever personally signed by Ahmet Ertegun himself, who was then the president and founder of Atlantic Records. When Jerry thought of the name, he figured it would help us remember our roots and where we came from. We figured it might give talented young people from small towns hope, and prove you didn’t have to be from New York or L.A. to make it.
In the ’70’s, as Black Oak Arkansas, we stayed on top of the charts with hit albums like our first introductory album that had a map of Arkansas on the cover. It was simply called “Black Oak Arkansas” and it went platinum. We made the second live album in the business to go gold. It was titled “Raunch and Roll”, and was second only to the Rolling Stones’ live album, “Get Your Ya Ya’s Out.” The “High on the Hog” also went gold. These albums featured such unforgettable songs as “Uncle Lijah”, “Happy Hooker” and the one-of-a-kind “Halls of Karma/Lord Have Mercy On My Soul”, Mutants Of The Monster”, “Hot Rod”, “Hot and Nasty”, and, of course, our enormous smash hit, “Jim Dandy To The Rescue”, which was the number one hit in the nation for fifteen weeks. Oh, I guess I shouldn’t forget, “Jim Dandy To The Rescue”, was suggested to us by the King of rock-n-roll himself, Mr. Elvis Presley, and a mutual friend, George Klein. All of this, combined with a constant full touring schedule made us one of the top five moneymakers in the world for five years in a row, from ’72 to ’77.
I’m the front man, founding member, all-around spectacle, and the one and only real “Jim Dandy”. I’m blonde-maned and once resplendent in white spandex. I served as a sort of role model for David Lee Roth, Vince Neil, and Jesse James Dupree. Born the son of an Arkansas cotton farmer, they say my toad howl and acidic screech is reminiscent of Axl Rose of today. I don’t know, but to set the record straight, no one stole anything from me, ’cause I got it for free, and so can they. It comes through us, not from us. Also, for the record, to be someone like Jim Dandy you don’t have to have special endowments, be gifted, or chosen. All I am is the living example and proof that anybody can do it if I can. Believe me, if I can do it, anybody can. You just have to use that God-given, free-will to reach for more, instead of settling for less. If you want to be someone or something bad enough, you can will it to be so. Back when we first made it, the years flew past in a blaze of headlines and sold-out concerts and festivals. Some of which had more that three or four hundred thousand people spurred on by gold and platinum albums, such as the first California Jam and the Redding Festival outside of London. Also, it seemed we had become a household word from being a frequent guest host on “The Midnight Special”, the only rock-n-roll show allowed on TV back then, and for only one hour, once a week after midnight on Saturday Nights. Don’t it make you wonder what we’ll be able to do with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
Today, Rickie Lee, and me are better than ever, but that’s the way we wanted it. That was the plan. We have joined forces with three of my friends, one who played with me ten years ago on a European project called “Ready As Hell”. Their names are Johnnie Bolin, George Hughen and Hal McCormack.
We found George lurking in that great wilderness known as Arkansas! He had been playing with some friends of ours known as the Judge Parker Band, (whose sets already contained many BOA songs!), and when Pat Daugherty first heard George play… Pat said, “That’s him. That’s who you need to replace me.” If Dirty Daugherty said that’s what was to be… that’s what was to be! George is the reigning KING of the Arkansas bass men!
Good ol’ Hal McCormack was living here in Memphis where Rickie and I live. He had played with a band named Tora,Tora… and was also playing guitar with an old friend of ours, Jimi Jamison, in a band known as Survivor, (Eye Of The Tiger, ect…). After doing several un-plugged shows with Rickie and I, he became an important part of the Black Oak Arkansas family. Hal is the crunch in the live BOA show that was needed.
My favorite one is Johnnie. He’s the only one that loves strip bars more that me. Nobody can play the drums like my Johnnie, but like his dad always said, “It’s a good thing you can play the drums, son, ’cause just like Jim Dandy, nobody’s gonna ever hire you for anything else.” Johnnie is the ultimate drummer’s drummer. And he’s little brother to my great friend who was stolen from us in the mid-70’s, legendary guitar, singer, and songwriter Tommy Bolin who, in his short career, replaced Joe Walsh in the James Gang and Richie Blackmore in Deep Purple and had two solo albums, “Teaser” and “Private Eyes”.
These are the chosen four who have the heart to become Jim Dandy’s personal musical dream team, promising to return the electricity not only to Arkansas, but to concert stages all over the world. The birth of something very new, yes, the beginning of something unbelievable, even for true believers. In the words of Al Jolsen, “You ain’t seen nothing yet, folks!”.
These are the chosen four who have the heart to become Jim Dandy’s personal musical dream team, promising to return the electricity not only to Arkansas, but to concert stages all over the world. The birth of something very new, yes, the beginning of something unbelievable, even for true believers. In the words of Al Jolsen, “You ain’t seen nothing yet, folks!”.
Believe it or not, when we first made it, it was just a dress rehearsal and a great adventure, and we will always respect and treasure our memories and experiences of yesteryear, but remember that the Real Big Time we were rehearsing for and preparing for is just now at hand. Prepare yourselves, ’cause here we come again. No one has stopped us yet, no one can stop us now, and though some might place their bets on just how far we’ll get, we will get closer to you, no matter what they say or do. Because when you “kept the faith”, it made our will too strong to deny and we will be there for you, making sure that your dreams come true too. If there is any one thing in this world that is constant that you know you can depend on it’s “The Wild Bunch”. The rumors of our death have been greatly exaggerated. We are very much alive, and we’ve come back with plenty of guns and a goodly amount of gunpowder. This is it, all the pieces do fit. We’re like that crazy old man jumping out of the alleyway with a baseball bat, saying, “Remember me?
Remember that the mightiest oak was once just a little nut that held it’s ground. The Wild Bunch is that oak, with lots of nuts.
Last, but certainly not least, this new album is dedicated to all of our beloved family members who have passed on, and also to the memory of two founding Wild Bunch members. Both who were one-of-a-kind, ahead of their time, and can never be replaced. Both were our friends and family. One is Johnnie’s legendary big brother, Tommy Bolin. The other is the only female member of The Wild Bunch so far, Miss Ruby Starr, the renowned singer who always screamed “Go Jim Dandy, Go” on our number one hit “Jim Dandy To The Rescue” in 1973. Though they may have passed on to the spirit world hereafter, they’ll never be forgotten and will always be missed. For I, The Dandy, do believe that how we are remembered here after we are gone could very well be how we earn our hereafter. In essence, the truest sense of Dandyism is that how we’re remembered is the most important thing there is, and our memories of them are all wonderful. They might be gone, but they will always be with us. God bless them, to forever be remembered. For in death do we truly begin to live, this do sayeth The Dandy, theirs and yours completely.
Forever to your rescue, to your rescue forever, as always, I am your Jim Dandy, the real Jim Dandy, the genuine article, the real deal.
How could I lie about it all this time?
If you can’t wait to get to Hell’s gate, never fear…you are welcome… you’re already here.
Come one in… what took you so long? You gotta keep pushin’ on;
In the words of William Blake, you gotta go down through the gates of Hell to get up to the pearly gates of 7th Heaven… although our attention might be partly pre-occupied by a frightining sound… ’cause the thunderous heart that beats from the birthplace of creation sounds so incredibly loud.
Where God’s sngels are the dogs of Heaven, always loyal and ready to defend and God is dog spelled backwards, again known as Man’s best friend.Imagination paints a hot spiral wind of the Milky Way blowing us toward a beacon to the stars, where beams of light tie the stars together like a net across the ceiling of Heaven where we sometimes forget our many blessings and with with goodly compassion and the best intentions we sometimes miss our mark, but to be true of heart with good intentions earns forgivness and ascention to the infinite where in the end… all begins… as we graduate from Hell’s gate to the pearly gates of seven Heavens and beyo