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Ramblin' With Rickie Lee

  • Posted by Black Oak Arkan... on August 31, 2015

    Hi gang! Well, here we are at the tail end of July, and at this moment… we are sittin’ on the side of the road outside of a gig we did last night in Arnold Park, Iowa… in a customized Prevost tour bus worth almost a quarter of a million bucks… and we are broke down! We’re all just sittin’ here… patiently awaiting roadside assistance and tryin’ to kill time until we can be rescued… so I thought I’d spend a little time with you folks. My good buddy Hal McCormack heard me tell this next little tale before, so on his request and suggestion… I’ll be tell ya’ll about one of his favorite “Rambin’ With Rickie Lee” stories of the old BOA days gone by.                                        

     

      I think we’ll call this critter  -  

         The Arrowhead Stadium Adventure!

     

      Well, this story takes place in the early 1970’s in good ol’ Kansas City. We were at our peak in those days, and selling out big stadiums across the country. On this particular weekend, we were do a giant concert at the home of the Kansas City Chiefs… Arrowhead Stadium! (I just had Hal consult with my good buddy Jim Dandy, and we’ve arrived at the conclusion that the opening acts for this concert were Utopia with Tod Rundgren and The Nitty-Gritty Dirt Band)

      Man… what a place! It’s gotta be one of the largest venues I’ve ever had the pleasure to play, and the folks runnin’ the place were incredibly nice the whole time we were there and treated us and our families and crew as VIP’s.

    We arrived at Kansas City the day before the show and went down to meet the folks running the place and the folks responsible for us getting to play at this unbelievable location. My first wife, Annie, and my first-born son, Christopher, were able to make this show and spend a couple of precious days with me. This was extremely rare in those days, and we treasured every moment. Christopher was only two or three years old at that time… and I had gotten to spend very little time with him since his birth.  When we arrived at the venue, the stage was being built, the sound being set up and lights being unloaded. The stage was to be in the center of the football field… with quite a distance between it and where we would come onto the field. We were offered several choices of vehicles to drive us from the ramp to the stage, but after learning that “War Horse,” the K.C. Chief’s mascot was boarded there also, we decided… to ride out to the stage on horseback!

      Of course, everyone… the promoter, the Chief’s people, our management… everyone… thought this was a great idea… as long as we could pull it off!

      Yeah, right!

      That afternoon, we all drove out to where the stables were that housed War Horse, his son, War Cloud… and a double handful of other beautiful horses! Boy, oh boy, did we love horses!

      Here, I’ve got to say that in those days of being on the road all of the time, a day off for us would often mean looking for a stable where we could rent horses and head for the woods! We were all good horsemen, and loved the freedom that riding gives you after working so hard 24/7. I’ve got several stories to tell you all later about those adventures… but let’s get back to Kansas City!

      We all went through the stable… got to know the animals a little… and we each picked out a horse. Getting introduced to your horse in advance is never a bad idea, so we all found mounts that seemed to feel right to us. If you’ve ridden a lot, you’ll know what I mean. Since Jim was wearing so much white clothing in those days… it was decided, (not by Jim, by the way!), that he should ride the only all white stallion available the day of the show. 

    Well, that afternoon, we all head down to an early sound check, (including wives and children). They have let us have the actual dressing room of the Kansas City Chiefs… with the lockers and whirlpool and the whole shootin’ match… as our dressing room! Annie, my wife, and my infant son Chris are both there with me… and the room is full of drinks and sandwich stuff and chips and cookies and breads and cheese and all kinds of goodies! Chris is goin’ out of his mind to get a taste of everything!

      It finally is time for us to do our sound check. We are all walkin’ out of the dressing room, Annie is holding my hand… smilin’ real big… with Chris walkin’ alongside of her… and everyone else in front of us… WHEN THE AUTOMATIC DOOR TO THE DRESSING ROOM SWINGS CLOSED… and locks poor little Chris inside! No one there has a KEY TO OPEN THIS DOOR! The little guy is screaming his heart out, locked in all alone, and we have to wait almost a half hour until a walkie-talkie can be found to contact a maintenance man on the other side of the stadium to come around with a key to release this poor screaming child!

      Right then, I KNEW it was gonna be a weird adventure!

     The sound check goes O.K., we load up and head back to the hotel.

    That night, we have a gigantic crowd… and all of the opening acts are sounding great! We’re all wound up and ready to come galloping out to our big show with a screaming crowd of thousands of folks!

    Now comes the funny part!

    We all jump bareback on our excited horses with guitars slung over our backs… and go stampeding out of the end zone toward center field where our stage is located! What we DIDN’T know… until we were in full gallop… was that Jim Dandy’s mount was “line shy!” This means that every time his horse would come up to a ten-yard line marked on the field, Jim’s horse would jump over it as if it were a four-foot tall fence! The band was already at the stage while Jim’s horse was still pogoing down the field as if it were a steeplechase with Jim whompin’ on it tryin’ to control the critter!\

      The gig was great after that… with three encores and a standing ovation… but we STILL to this day talk about that crazy horse jumping all over that damn football field with Jim holding on bareback for dear life in front of thousands of BOA fans!

      Ol’ Jim pulled it off great, though! What a showman!

     You just gotta love that guy!

     Well, we’ve gotta get back to trying to fix this bus critter. Thanks for listening in here with me… and I hope to see you all soon. Be good to each other.

      Peace -

      Rickie Lee

     

  • Posted by Black Oak Arkan... on August 7, 2015

    Howdy friends and neighbors! Thought we'd try something a little different this time around. The following is alittle piece I wrote awhile back. I like the way it makes me feel. Maybe you will, too. Thanks for listening.

    The Child and the Pond By Rickie Lee Reynolds

    Being a child is such a wondrous thing; spending a summer's eve trotting down a sloping green hillside to the pond…a sliver of afternoon sunshine still remaining, the distorted silhouette of a gnarled old oak rippling at the water's farthest edge, the cricket's chirping near the lily covered waters as the Eastern Sun darkens to a golden amber.

    The soft winds are hissing through the cattails which guard the edge of their cold, wet world like ancient soldiers. The bullfrogs begin their evening song where the hyacinths and pond grass mingle into a forest of watery beauty. The quiet solitude is truly a paradise for a curious youngster. Waters reflecting the colors of sunset skies; dewdrops as clear as mountain air flowing ever so slowly down into the waiting embrace of the transparent liquid.

    The surrounding grasses seem colored in wildflower-bright hues of yellows and blues, and the crickets are now well into their evening concert. As the rhythmic song rises around the youth, small fingers caress the surface of a nearby stone worn as smooth as glass. A voice seems to whisper--whisper-- "For how long has this stone been here?" "From where does the breeze come that ripples these waters?"

    The sunset is now completely gone from the skies, and the pond, which has slept here since before the memories of mankind, bids farewell to the child,\... who clutches the neck of her coat tightly against the unexpected chill of the night-- suddenly lonely for light, warmth, and a familiar voice.

    This is Rickie Lee, signing off once again. I bid you… peace.

    Copyright © Rickie Lee Reynolds

  • Posted by Black Oak Arkan... on July 9, 2015

    O.K., here we are, smack dab at the beginning of 2007! WHOA! Who ever thought we’d live this long? Certainly not me… way back in 1963 when Jim and I started playing together…way back in a cotton gin…way back in the lil’ ol’ city of Black Oak, ARKANSAS!!

      O.K…. we’ve managed to survive this far.

      Some haven’t.

      In the last day or so, The Godfather of Soul AND President Gerald Ford have both crossed over.

      I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Ford, (though we did once get a letter of thanks from his wife and the American Cancer Society, but that’s another story!.)

      I did have the chance in my life to meet James Brown.

      Man… what an entertainer.

    The following is a story of my brief encounter with the “GODFATHER Of SOUL!”

      This lil’ ol’ story… I’ll call… …

     

    The Night I Met the Godfather of Soul!

     

      O.K…. here we go. Three quarters of a decade ago…give or take a fraction of a millennium or so… (Pat Daugherty and Rocky Athas were playing with Jim and I at this time frame), we were invited to be the opening act for one of the true giants of this business we call music. Mr. James Brown had just gotten out of jail after an altercation with Mr. John Law… and he was once again back on the road bringing us that fine entertainment that he was known so well for. I’ve always admired performers who were not merely singers… but also ENTERTAINERS! This is probably one reason that I’ve hung with Jim Dandy so damn long.

      Well anyway, James was scheduled to do a concert here in Memphis at the Ellis Auditorium downtown as part of his first tour since getting out of jail, and we were offered the opening spot at this concert. I had seen James perform twice before, but had never had the opportunity to play on the same stage with him.

      We accepted the date. Later, we looked back at this decision and wonder if we were right or not to do this. It had nothing to do with our show or James’ show or us not getting along with he or his band… but with the weird crowd we drew! James’ fans were there to see him… and cared nothing about BOA. Most of his crowds were Afro-American. BOA fans came to see us, and were mostly white! Even though we were later asked by James to pick up a few more dates on this tour, the package combination was too weird… and we passed.

      The night of this show, though, is where my story takes place.

      We arrived in plenty of time to get set up, do a sound check and be prepared to perform right on schedule… because we had heard that James was VERY strict with not only his band’s performance… but with everything running on schedule! This night, however, everything was late! What had happened was that the folks running the lights wanted payment in advance… and refused to turn down the house lights so the show could begin until the promoter settled up with them!

      Well… we’d been standing behind the stage curtain for ten minutes or so past our starting time when behind me… in the wings of the auditorium… someone says, “Say, brother, could you tell what the delay is?” I turned around to answer… and stood there like an idiot for about thirty seconds with my mouth wide open!

      James Brown.

     James started laughin’ at me, and I ended up laughin’, too! “Hi, I’m James Brown! Sorry for this getup! Aren’t you in Black Oak Arkansas?”

      OK gang, here I have to explain something to you. James is standing there talkin’ to me… but he has on a flannel bathrobe… the kind of fuzzy house shoes that my Mom used to call “mules”… and his hair is rolled up in two dozen giant curlers the size of my fist! James was quite a bit shorter than I was… and in those slippers… he looked tiny!

      I finally pull myself together and explain to James that WE were ready to play… but we’re waiting on the light crew who are waiting on the promoter. I stand there and talk to James for about five more minutes about music, jail and the road… during which time James tells me he’s listened to BOA for years… and likes Jim a lot! “Let me go get him!  I’m sure he’d LOVE to meet you!” says I.

      Now, the whole time I’ve been talkin’ to James, the rest of my band and crew have been watching me from the other side of the stage… tryin’ to figure out who this little old black lady was whom I was talkin’ to for so long! I walk over to them while they’re tryin’ to figure this out… and I say, “Hey Jim, how would you like to meet James Brown!?”

      You could have knocked Jim over with dandelion fuzz!

      “HELL YES!”

      Well, eventually the show got under way, and got a write-up in the local newspaper as being one of the strangest mix-ups of acts ever, but James was a true gentleman to work with… a great entertainer of the top quality… and for a little while, my friend.

      God bless you, my brother. You rocked my world. Rest well. 

    I leave you again now, my friends, until we meet again. Live well… and enjoy the times we have while we’re here. Thanks for being here with me and spending some of that time.

      Peace-

      Rickie Lee

    Copyright © Rickie Lee Reynolds

     

  • Hey
    Posted by Black Oak Arkan... on July 1, 2015

    O.K., here we are, smack dab at the beginning of 2007! WHOA! Who ever thought we’d live this long? Certainly not me… way back in 1963 when Jim and I started playing together…way back in a cotton gin…way back in the lil’ ol’ city of Black Oak, ARKANSAS!!

    O.K…. we’ve managed to survive this far. Some haven’t.

    In the last day or so, The Godfather of Soul AND President Gerald Ford have both crossed over.

    I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Ford, (though we did once get a letter of thanks from his wife and the American Cancer Society, but that’s another story!.)

    I did have the chance in my life to meet James Brown.

    Man… what an entertainer.

    The following is a story of my brief encounter with the “GODFATHER Of SOUL!” This lil’ ol’ story… I’ll call… …

     

    The Night I Met the Godfather of Soul!

    O.K…. here we go. Three quarters of a decade ago…give or take a fraction of a millennium or so… (Pat Daugherty and Rocky Athas were playing with Jim and I at this time frame), we were invited to be the opening act for one of the true giants of this business we call music. Mr. James Brown had just gotten out of jail after an altercation with Mr. John Law… and he was once again back on the road bringing us that fine entertainment that he was known so well for. I’ve always admired performers who were not merely singers… but also ENTERTAINERS! This is probably one reason that I’ve hung with Jim Dandy so damn long.

    Well anyway, James was scheduled to do a concert here in Memphis at the Ellis Auditorium downtown as part of his first tour since getting out of jail, and we were offered the opening spot at this concert. I had seen James perform twice before, but had never had the opportunity to play on the same stage with him.

    We accepted the date. Later, we looked back at this decision and wonder if we were right or not to do this. It had nothing to do with our show or James’ show or us not getting along with he or his band… but with the weird crowd we drew! James’ fans were there to see him… and cared nothing about BOA. Most of his crowds were Afro-American. BOA fans came to see us, and were mostly white! Even though we were later asked by James to pick up a few more dates on this tour, the package combination was too weird… and we passed.

    The night of this show, though, is where my story takes place.

    We arrived in plenty of time to get set up, do a sound check and be prepared to perform right on schedule… because we had heard that James was VERY strict with not only his band’s performance… but with everything running on schedule! This night, however, everything was late! What had happened was that the folks running the lights wanted payment in advance… and refused to turn down the house lights so the show could begin until the promoter settled up with them! Well… we’d been standing behind the stage curtain for ten minutes or so past our starting time when behind me… in the wings of the auditorium… someone says, “Say, brother, could you tell what the delay is?” I turned around to answer… and stood there like an idiot for about thirty seconds with my mouth wide open! James Brown.

    JAMES BROWN!

    James started laughin’ at me, and I ended up laughin’, too! “Hi, I’m James Brown! Sorry for this getup! Aren’t you in Black Oak Arkansas?”

    OK gang, here I have to explain something to you. James is standing there talkin’ to me… but he has on a flannel bathrobe… the kind of fuzzy house shoes that my Mom used to call “mules”… and his hair is rolled up in two dozen giant curlers the size of my fist! James was quite a bit shorter than I was… and in those slippers… he looked tiny!

    I finally pull myself together and explain to James that WE were ready to play… but we’re waiting on the light crew who are waiting on the promoter. I stand there and talk to James for about five more minutes about music, jail and the road… during which time James tells me he’s listened to BOA for years… and likes Jim a lot! “Let me go get him! I’m sure he’d LOVE to meet you!” says I. Now, the whole time I’ve been talkin’ to James, the rest of my band and crew have been watching me from the other side of the stage… tryin’ to figure out who this little old black lady was whom I was talkin’ to for so long! I walk over to them while they’re tryin’ to figure this out… and I say, “Hey Jim, how would you like to meet James Brown!?”

    You could have knocked Jim over with dandelion fuzz!

    “HELL YES!”

    Well, eventually the show got under way, and got a write-up in the local newspaper as being one of the strangest mix-ups of acts ever, but James was a true gentleman to work with… a great entertainer of the top quality… and for a little while, my friend. God bless you, my brother. You rocked my world. Rest well.

    I leave you again now, my friends, until we meet again. Live well… and enjoy the times we have while we’re here. Thanks for being here with me and spending some of that time.

    Peace-

    Rickie Lee

  • Posted by Black Oak Arkan... on May 29, 2015

    Hi gang!

      It's almost a hundred degrees here in the South already, and it's just barely May! Whew! Well, while I'm sittin' here sippin' on an ice-cold lemonade and thinkin' about the ol' days, I'd like to share a little tale with ya.
      Black Oak Arkansas, besides being a "people" band, has also always been an animal band! By that, I mean we've always had an abundance of pets--no matter where we lived.
      At one time, I myself had two dogs, a cat, a rabbit, a raccoon named Dixie, five aquariums, a parrot, a guinea pig and a love bird named Turkey that we would let outside every day into the woods--who would show up again at supper time!! But that's another story.
      This story is about Gibbert.

            "Gibbert Was An Ape!!!"

    Many long years ago, the guys in the band, myself included, lived in the great wilderness known as Los Angeles (maybe you've heard of it!).We had a house in the valley with four bedrooms, and each bedroom was divided into two sections--one section for each of the two members who were housed in that room.
    We had two friends of ours, (who were originally from Memphis) named Mike and Ralph who were working at different leather places in Hollywood making strange and NOW collectible clothing out of dead animals (LOL)!
    Now, these two lads got to meet a wide cross-section of Hollywood lifeforms in their many travels. BOY! Talk about some strange life forms! Movie stars, weirdoes, radio folk, tourists, Rock Gods, has-beens and used-to-was's! They made clothing for all walks of life, including some pretty cool stuff that ended up in movies!
    They somehow met these two fellows who, besides being of the gay persuasion, owned an ape. Yep, that's what I said. AN APE!!I am told, though I have no firsthand experience of this secondhand knowledge, that this creature was badly mistreated by these two fellows and, for one reason or another, my two friends ended up in possession of this wonderful animal.
        His name was Gibbert.
    He was what is known as a Golden Gibbon Ape. I am told that they are now on the endangered species list, and are no longer available in the United States. In the early 1970s, life was different.



      Gibbert stood about two and a half feet tall, During the early 1970s, you would see him at concerts all over the LA area, usually wearing some bizarre outfit that Mike and Ralph had cooked up for the occasion. I think my favorite was probably a Captain America looking leather shirt with extra long fringe along the front and sleeves--and stars and stripes galore!! What a sight he was!!I remember Griffith Park with us, the Youngblood’s-along with Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Carlos Santana--and Gibbert!!!
      For some strange reason that we never figured out, Gibbert didn't get along with girls!! He loved hangin' with the guys, but the ladies usually either scared him or pissed him off!!
      For some reason which I now fail to recall, Mike and Ralph were unable to keep Gibbert. It may have been a problem with lodging or landlords or something weird like that, but for whatever reason it was--- Gibbert became a member of Black Oak Arkansas!
      He would eat breakfast with us, he would sleep with us--Hell, and he would even catch an occasional buzz with us!! (He LOVED pot seeds!).      

       One night, a double-handful of friends showed up at our house with a quarter-pound of wonderfulness, and we cleaned every bit of it that evening!!All seeds went into one of those big wooden salad bowls that you always see, and was placed into a cupboard and closed for the night.

      The next morning about 5 A.M., we are awakened to a giant CRASH coming from the kitchen!! We walk in to see the bowl upside-down on the floor, about two seeds left out of the thousands which were originally there, and Gibbert in a corner---LAUGHING HIS ASS OFF!!
      We used to hang strips of rawhide from the ceiling of our house, about 8 feet apart, and Gibbert would swing from string to string like Tarzan!! Damnedest thing you ever saw!!
      We discovered, quite by accident, that he would go outside into the backyard and play in the trees!! Swinging and yelling and screaming his head off!! When it was time for him to come in, we would call him--and there he would be!!
      One morning we awoke to find a window open--and Gibbert was gone!! We searched the house, we searched the yard, we searched his normal trees. No Gibbert!

      Myself and Mr. Harvey Jett are kinda walking around the front yard, worried about the little critter, when we hear a big commotion about two blocks down the road. We take off running towards this racket, just KNOWING who was causing it!!

      Yep, we were right!!

      A giant tree was the source of the noise. Above this tree, 20 or 30 large crows were circling and cawing!! In the very top of the tree is Gibbert, shaking his fist at them all!! Damned if it didn't look like the end of KING KONG!!
      Gibbert used to sing with us!!Yep, you heard me right again!! He couldn't speak English, of course, but when we would play--he would do this " Woo-Woo" thing!!

    One song that he was especially fond of (and was present when we wrote it!) was a tune called "Don't Confuse What You Don't Know," and if you listen to the end of that song---you will hear us singing Gibbert's part!!
      All good things must one day come to an end, and so it was with Gibbert. He had the habit of riding our dogs! Yep, once again, you heard me right!! The ugliest damn cowboy you ever seen!! 

    The disaster came when a friend of ours came to visit for a while and brought with him a pregnant Great Dane. This was normally a kind and gentle animal, but as any lady will tell you, a female can get cranky enough just being with child---and the last thing she wants is a monkey on her back!!
      Gibbert made the mistake of jumping on this nervous dog, and paid the ultimate price for his mistake. We found him later, gave him the same sendoff to the other side as we would have if it had been one of us.    He was one of the strangest critters we've ever had in this band, (and believe me--we've had some strange ones!!), but he was my buddy.
      Gibbert, if there are crows in Heaven, I'll know where to find you. Sleep well, my friend.

    Until next time, my brothers and sisters--
    Peace.
    Rickie Lee

    Copyright © Rickie Lee Reynolds

     

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