Guadalcanal Diary – Watusi Rodeo

I’ve been listening to this band for the last few days…they combine country with jangle pop on a lot their songs.  This band came from Marietta, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, but they were often billed as being from Athens, Georgia and was lumped in with the other Athens acts.

The band formed in 1981 and disbanded in 1989. They reformed in 1997, but never recorded any new material. After going on hiatus in 2000, Guadalcanal Diary temporarily reunited for a second time in 2011 for Athfest, where they celebrated their 30th anniversary.

Still in high school, singer/guitarists Murray Attaway and Jeff Walls became musical partners when they joined the punk band Strictly American. Electing to strike out on their own, they formed Emergency Broadcast System. Walls was teaching Rhett Crowe bass at the time and she was asked to join the band. Crowe accepted the offer and quickly suggested a name change to Guadalcanal Diary (based on the 1940s movie).

Though he had no experience on the instrument (having previously played bass),  Walls friend John Poe was added as drummer.

The band quickly became staples on the Athens and Atlanta club circuit, signed by Danny Brown’s Atlanta-based dB Records.

Watusi Rodeo was on Guadalcanal Diary’s debut album called Walking In The Shadow of The Big Man released in 1984. They were constantly being overshadowed by the successes other mid-’80s alternative jangle rock bands.

Watusi Rodeo

Come along with me to the Congo land
Got a zebra by the tail and a python in my hand
Once my home was a Texas plain
But now I swing a lasso on an alien terrain

Hottentots and pygmies know where to go
Everybody’s heading for the Watusi Rodeo

Cowboys are putting up a big fence around
A sacred elephant burial ground
Native women stomping up a flurry in the mud
Villagers are looking for some cowboy blood

I guess they didn’t like them hats we made ’em wear
They don’t look right on the native hair
Don’t they know that it’s all for show
All for showing at the Watusi Rodeo

Monkeys in the trees just thumbing their nose
At the bull riders riding on rhinos
Warriors standing with spears in the hands
Wondering what’s next from a crazy white man

Natives are restless under these Stetsons
What are these cowboys doing in the Congo
Look like cows but they’re water buffaloes
Ropin and a ridin in the Watusi Rodeo

Oh they look like cows but they’re water buffaloes
Everybody’s heading for the Watusi Rodeo


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

35 thoughts on “Guadalcanal Diary – Watusi Rodeo”

  1. Highly recommended band… I remember some of their songs well from ’80s alt rock station and had the chance to talk to Murray from the band once, real nice guy; Rhett (now a massage therapist) also was very willing to share thoughts about the band with me. They quit largely because they were getting tired, some were having families and they lost confidence they’d ever be more than a marginal band selling maybe 10 000 copies per album. Had they stuck around into the 90s, who knows?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. they wrote some good ones – I’d never really looked at the lyrics to this one before… quite cool though like others have suggested, would probably get even less airplay now than back then! I heard it on radio back then, though it wasn’t a “hit” really. Personally, I kind of equate them with the B52s, but not quite as goofy and (to step on a few toes) probably a little more talented.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve been listening to them in the last few days. They came out with some stuff in the later 80s that was more tame.
        I meant to say something (I had meetings yesterday) about you talking to some from the band…that is really cool Dave.


  2. That song kicks butt. Didn’t listen to the lyrics as much as the sound and of course the video is SO good. Us humans are a strange and wonderful group that sometimes does such dumb things.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like this one a lot – as I told you before I thought they did another song – have heard of them but had never heard any of their stuff – not that I remembered anyway. The lyrics are out there and the video is a little out there two – funny though. Will have to check out more of their stuff

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I got more positive comments on this one than most of the others…which surprises the hell out of me. I like the jangle and the country touches.

      Liked by 1 person

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