Black Oak Arkansas guitarist Rickie Lee Reynolds dies at 72
Rickie Lee Reynolds, guitarist of classic southern rock band Black Oak Arkansas, has died at the age of 72.
The musician’s daughter, Amber Lee, confirmed her passing via Facebook. Reynolds was reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19, before suffering kidney failure and cardiac arrest.
“Unfortunately this morning he suffered another cardiac arrest, which they were unable to revive him. We are all heartbroken by this massive loss, and the whole world feels colder and more empty without his presence among us, ”Lee wrote in her article. “Please take a moment of silence today to remember all the love he has given the world, and take the time to give back some of those wonderful feelings that he has given us all in our difficult times. “
Lee’s post, which can be read in full below, also thanked fans for their “outpouring of compassion and care.”
Reynolds was a founding member of Black Oak Arkansas, alongside vocalist Ronnie Smith, guitarists Stanley Knight and Harvey Jett, bassist Pat Daugherty and drummer Wayne Evans. Smith quickly stepped down as the leader, choosing instead to become the group’s stage manager. In his place, mutual friend Jim Mangrum would take over the main vocal functions.
Black Oak Arkansas’ self-titled debut album was released in March 1971, featuring such well-known tracks as “Hot and Nasty”, “Lord Have Mercy On My Soul”, “Uncle Lijiah” and “When Electricity Came To Arkansas”. The LP only peaked at No. 127 on the Billboard 200, but was eventually certified as a Gold Record.
The band released eight more studio albums over the next five years, including the 1973 one. High on the pork, the most commercially successful LP in their catalog. The album was supported by Black Oak Arkansas’ rendition of the classic R&B song “Jim Dandy”, which reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Known for their dynamic live performances, Black Oak Arkansas filled arenas throughout the ’70s. Along the way, several notable artists served as opening act, including Bruce Springsteen, Ted Nugent, Todd Rundgren, Aerosmith and the Eagles.
Reynolds left the group after the 1976’s release Fire balls. He eventually joined Black Oak Arkansas in 1984 and performed and recorded with the band until his death. The group’s most recent album, Heroes of the Outsiders, was released in 2019.
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