Black Oak Arkansas guitarist Rickie Lee Reynolds dies at 72


Black Oak Arkansas’ longtime guitarist Rickie Lee Reynolds dies aged 72


Black Oak Arkansas guitarist Rickie Lee Reynolds died at the age of 72 today, TMZ reported. 

The musician’s son confirmed his father died in a hospital after battling long-term health complications.  

Reynolds was one of the founding members of the band during the 1960s along with singer Ronnie Smith, guitarists Harvey Jett and Stanley Knight, bassist Pat Daugherty and drummer Wayne Evans. James Mangrum eventually replaced Ronnie Smith in group. 

Gone too soon: Black Oak Arkansas guitarist Rickie Lee Reynolds died at the age of 72 today, TMZ reported

A long fight: The musician's son confirmed his father died in a hospital after battling long-term health complications

A long fight: The musician’s son confirmed his father died in a hospital after battling long-term health complications

Before they became Black Oak Arkansas, the group was played under the moniker The Knowbody Else. The Knowbody Else members changed their name to Black Oak Arkansas in the early 1970s when they moved to California in an effort to embrace their own town. 

In a 2018 interview with the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Reynolds said, ‘We didn’t name the band after just the people in the town. We named the band after the town. No matter who you are or what you do, there’s a certain point in life when you are at the pivot point from what you were to what you are.

‘The city of Black Oak was a pivoting point for us. Whether they liked us or not, that was the pivot in our history,’ the late guitarist added.  

The Knowbody Else: The band, pictured here in 1973, changed its name to Black Oak Arkansas from The Knowbody Else to Black Oak Arkansas in the early 1970s

The Knowbody Else: The band, pictured here in 1973, changed its name to Black Oak Arkansas from The Knowbody Else to Black Oak Arkansas in the early 1970s

Embracing their hometown: Although many in Black Oak didn't appreciate the group in the 70s, the band still embraced their roots by naming the group after their hometown

Embracing their hometown: Although many in Black Oak didn’t appreciate the group in the 70s, the band still embraced their roots by naming the group after their hometown

The band experienced the peak of their success in the ’70s. Among the hits the band released during this time were songs like Uncle Lijah, Lord Have Mercy on My Soul and When Electricity Came to Arkansas. 

When Electricity Came to Arkansas was well-known by fans because some people believed that the song had lyrics that referenced Satan.   

The band experienced many complications during their run. Members of the group were arrested and faced homelessness.  

Peaking in the 70s: Among the hits the band released during the 1970s were songs like Uncle Lijah, Lord Have Mercy on My Soul and When Electricity Came to Arkansas

Peaking in the 70s: Among the hits the band released during the 1970s were songs like Uncle Lijah, Lord Have Mercy on My Soul and When Electricity Came to Arkansas

Complicated history: The band experienced many complications during their run. Members of the group were arrested and face homelessness

Complicated history: The band experienced many complications during their run. Members of the group were arrested and face homelessness

Lead singer James Mangrum was questioned on suspicion of arson and fraud when the band’s compound burned down. Mangrum and Reynolds originally left the band after the group’s entire music catalog was sold on eBay. 

As Reynolds later said, ‘When we wanted to begin enjoying life, we were left high & dry. We all lost our homes, cars, publishing and almost lost our band name. It got blamed on bad investments. All I know is some of us had to pawn our Gold albums to feed our families.’ 

Eventually many of the key members returned to the group, and they toured as a group along with a rotating cast of band members. The group is still active. 

The straw that broke the camel's back: Mangrum and Reynolds originally left the band after the group's entire music catalog was sold on eBay

The straw that broke the camel’s back: Mangrum and Reynolds originally left the band after the group’s entire music catalog was sold on eBay

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