Music from my past: Guadalcanal Diary

One of the fine bands lost in the brilliant glow of R.E.M., Pylon and the B52s during the white-hot music scene in Athens of the late 1970s and early 1980s was Guadalcanal Diary, a little group out of Marietta, Ga., that later got lumped into that whole movement. Perhaps you’ve heard of ’em. Most likely, you haven’t.

I saw them a few times back in the 1980s and they blew me away. The release that won me over was Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man, 1984. The most played track off that LP was Watusi Rodeo, a rollicking tune that made the MTV rounds. But Shadow of the Big Man was a much deeper record, with other great tracks like Trail of Tears, Ghosts on the Road, the title track and a live version of Kum Ba Yah. (It’s a sign of how overlooked this band was, and is, that it’s difficult to find videos on YouTube of these guys. Other songs of note by these guys are John Wayne, Dead Eyes and Michael Rockefeller.)

I don’t know what made me think of these guys on a Saturday night more than 25 years after I last saw them in concert. Maybe just nostalgia. But I thought I’d share a bit of music. Enjoy.

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