by Max Brantley
The Boston Phoenix, an alternative weekly, has done a 50-state ranking of the best bands and solo performers.
Arkansas's best band: Black Oak Arkansas. Go, Jim Dandy.
Best solo performer: Johnny Cash.
Best new band: Gossip.
If Skynyrd wore spandex, played their instruments in barrels of sludgy motor oil, and were led by a choogly, boogie-woogie bonehead straight outta Spinal Tap, they’d have been Black Oak Arkansas, named for frontman “Big Jim Dandy” Mangrum’s hometown. | Man in Black Johnny Cash’s balls were steelier than the jailhouse doors at San Quentin and Folsom prisons. The original gangsta rapper boasted in song about shooting a dude just to watch him die, years before Suge Knight hung people out of hotel windows. | Lesbian punk-bluestress Beth Ditto of Gossip (featured in the video below) could swallow six Gwen Stefanis and spit four of them out for breakfast. (She’d save the other two for sustenance through a long winter, where they’d play cards inside her with a couple of Janis Joplins.)
The link on best band will take you to a page with video, MP3s, etc.
The feature is a setup to get people to vote by phone in some "people's choice" awards -- Bob Dylvan v. Prince for best solo performer from Minnesota; the Four Seasons v. the Misfits for best New Jersey band, etc.