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Rickie Lee Reynolds, founding member and guitarist for Southern rock group Black Oak Arkansas, died on Sunday morning. He was 72 years old.
His passing was both confirmed by current Black Oak Arkansas member Sammy Seauphine and Reynolds’ daughter Amber Lee.
“It’s with a heavy heart we are [informing] all of you Rickie Lee Reynolds has passed away this morning. We ask right now to give us all privacy while we remember a brother,” Seauphine wrote.
According a statements posted to Facebook by Lee, Reynolds was suffering from kidney failure and cardiac arrest, complications due to hospitalization from COVID-19.
Rickie Lee Reynolds was suffering from kidney failure and cardiac arrest, complications due to hospitalization from COVID-19.
(Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns/Getty Images)
“This morning he suffered another cardiac arrest, which they were unable to resuscitate him from. We are all heartbroken by this massive loss, and the whole world feels colder and more empty without his presence among us,” Lee wrote. “All of my love goes out to those who feel this overwhelming loss right now, just as I do. Please take heart in knowing he loves all of us, as much as we love him. And he felt that love every day in the center of his big ole heart. He will continue to feel that love, forever. Just as we will never forget the love he bestowed upon us.”
Reynolds originally founded the band in 1963, then named “The Knowbody Else” with vocalist Ronnie Smith, guitarists Stanley Knight and Harvey Jett, bassist Pat Daugherty and drummer Wayne Evans. After some time, the band agreed Smith would better serve as the band’s stage production manager and had mutual friend James “Jim Dandy” Mangrum enter as their frontman.
The group changed their name to their hometown after signing to Atco Records in 1970.
Black Oak Arkansas channeled a sound influenced by their experiences with psychedelia, Eastern spiritualism and their Southern Baptist upbringing blending the genres of country, blues, rock and gospel. The Southern rock band achieved commercial success in the ’70’s with three gold-certified albums. They are best known for singles “Up,” “Gigolo” and “When Electricity Came To Arkansas.”
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