Thursday, January 29, 2015

From Georgia, But Not Athens Georgia...

Guadalcanal Diary originated in Georgia in the early 1980's, but not Athens, Georgia as they were often said to come from. That was some other lot that went on to world domination. Often lazily lumped in with the Rapid Eye Movement lot, they had a distinctive sound that was quite different to their peers, as evidenced on their debut EP from 1983, the wonderful Watusi Rodeo. *
Released on the Athens based DB label, it introduced their literate, melodic music to the public at large. Formed by Murray Attaway and Jeff Walls, they also had one of the finest rhythm sections you will hear with the bass playing of Rhett Crowe and the dynamic drumming of John Poe. Unjustly forgotten, they really do sound like no-one with their blend of jangly guitars, rockabilly, a dash of country and whatever else they happened to be listening to at the time.

Watusi Rodeo

* Just to confuse matters, the track posted did not appear on the Watusi Rodeo EP. The song, Watusi Rodeo, that appears today is from 1985 album Waiting In the Shadow Of The Big Man *



  1. Love love love Guadalcanal Diary. I have the four Elektra albums on vinyl, and all are worthy of a spot on the shelf. What I don't have is the Watusi Rodeo EP on DB. Do you have it? Was the song Watusi Rodeo on that EP? I'm pretty sure it had four songs, but I don't think the song Watusi Rodeo was one of them. Confusing, eh? I know the song Watusi Rodeo was also a stand-alone single too, but I don't have that either. I'm listening to your download now, but I can't tell on this crappy computer if it's different from the Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man version I have. Please let me know what you've got. I'm prepared to be impressed if you have that EP or an original single of this song from 1983. The band was part of an MTV Basement Tapes competition at that time for this song. I seem to recall it did quite well, but I don't remember if it won. At any rate, great choice today. Were they well known in your neck of the woods?

  2. Brian, prepare to be disappointed - how I wish I had a copy of the EP , but sadly not. A bit like Cope and the World Shut Your Mouth album, the title track of the EP was not actually on the EP itself. It is indeed the Walking In the Shadow version which I picked up in a second hand shop on one of my trips to Canada. They came to my attention through David Fricke when he used to write for Melody Maker in the mid 80's and his end of year lists were largely made up of new American bands of that era like Guadalcanal Diary, Let's Active, Green On Red etc...

  3. Not disappointed at all, sir. I don't think I have ever seen that EP in the "flesh". I did dig around looking for information about an earlier version of Watusi Rodeo, and I found out the one that was used for that MTV competition in 1983 was actually a live recording from Atlanta's 688 Club earlier in the year. The following audio is less than ideal, but you'll get the idea. This is how I first heard them, and the clip really took me back. It's quite possible the Walking in the Shadow version we both have is the only proper release the song ever had... still not 100% sure about that.