Guadalcanal Diary – Trail Of Tears

I posted a song called Watusi Rodeo by Guadalcanal Diary a while back and I got a great response. I’ve been listening to these guys and it gets better and better. This band had a sophisticated and spiritual bent to the band’s lyrics.

This song is off of the EP  Watusi Rodeo released in 1983. The songwriting in this band was a step above many of their peers…clever lyrics with a mixture of jangle and country. When you start listening to this band later on you can see a lot of eclecticism as they could bounce from one style to another.

They did get picked up by a major label after this release. Their LP  Jamboree  released in 1986 was on Elektra. They unsuccessfully attempted a commercial breakthrough, adopting the style of a country-rock band with some  religious sentiment.

Jeff Walls and singer Murray Attaway were friends in high school in Marietta, Ga., just outside of Atlanta. Along with bassist Rhett Crowe and drummer John Poe, they formed Guadalcanal Diary.

In 2011, Guadalcanal Diary briefly reunited to play Athfest, and celebrated their 30th anniversary there. Jeff Walls died, May 29, 2019, of a rare pulmonary disease.

Trail Of Tears

The Sun hangs low in the Western sky
I bow my head and remember now
Someone’s lips pressed close to mine
Her cool hand upon my brow

Hell burns hot for a killer ‘s heart
A shallow grave in an unmarked plot
Crack of gunfire in the dark
Hand in hand we’ll walk at daybreak

One wore black
One wore black
One wore black

The trail of tears is winding on
Many pass along the road
Dusty soldiers march along
As they file one by one

One wore black
One wore black
One wore black

Trail of tears is winding on
Frightened soldier run no more
Arm and arm with lovers gone
No one passes on the road

Two girls wait at the railroad track
For their soldiers to come back
Knowing this will be their last
One wore blue and one wore black

One wore black…


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 – Trail Of Tears”

      1. I have ‘2X4’ (which has ‘Litany’, a great almost-hit) and ‘Flip flop’, which I think was their last and has ‘Always Saturday’, statistically the only one of theirs to make any Billboard list.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Always Saturday…I do like that one and the video is unusual in a good way. Again I’m getting good comments on them which is cool.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. They supposedly did reference the real trail of tears… The most I found is they wanted to convey a lost of innocence.
      I love how they tie their lyrics in with each other.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I guarantee that it’s about The Trail of Tears. Thousands of Native Americans died, being marched out West for “relocation.” There was a LOT of death including the soldiers. The “one wore blue” line is a reference to the US Army’s blue uniform.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that one or more members of the band were of NA ancestry. Marietta & Kennesaw, GA, sit in Cobb County which was Cherokee territory. Kennesaw is Cherokee for “burial ground.”

      Liked by 2 people

  1. For some reason this song reminds me of Midnight Oil from Australia. I listened to some of some other GD after your last post – you’re right they did a number of different styles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were a good one…in the late eighties they had more of a main stream sound in a song called “Always Saturday”…it was an alt hit.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I forgot about this band. I liked some of their stuff back in the day. Very 80s college radio. They landed hard about the same time REM did. as I recall. They just couldn’t build onto their success, consistently, the way REM did, until they–REM–exploded and Guadalcanal Diaries fizzled. Too bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For the past few months I’ve been trying to hit more alt 80s bands…at first just on Mondays then I said forget it…I started to do it everyday for a while.
      This band had the writing chops to do well…it is a shame they fizzled… I’m a fan now.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m surprised I didn’t hear about them more. I have a reader that is from that town in Georgia who never heard about them…they are just a little older than him.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is something about them…usually when I post an unknown band I don’t get a lot of comments but with this band I do. It tells me yes…they did have the goods.


    1. They change a little but not bad…a little more mainstream but sound good later on…they charted one song called “Always Saturday”

      Liked by 1 person

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