Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Root Boy Slim: Don't Let This Happen to You Vinyl LP Rip

Holy Crap! I can hardly believe the response to my earlier Root Boy post. A lot of downloads and feedback. Looks like a lot of folks from the Balt-DC area have found my blog and have made several comments on my WHFS posts and local music scene of the late 70's and early 80's. You don't have to be from 'round here to appreciate Root Boy Slim! Here is a CD rip of my Vinyl LP of Root Boy's "Don't Let This Happen to You".
Included in this file is the A and B side of the 45, "Do The Meltdown" and "Graveyard of Losers". This 45 is courtesy of Mark, a fellow Root fan that sent the files for the 45 single. Thanks Mark!

Mark sent me the front cover Pic for the LP...Thanks again to Mark!

1) "WHEN YOU DATE THE UNDEAD" by Root Boy Slim (2:55)
2) "RICH, WHITE & REPUBLICAN" by Root Boy Slim (3:45)
3) "HEALTH SPA LADY" by Root Boy Slim (3:59)
4) "KINKY U." by Root Boy Slim (4:08)
5) "COMPUTER LOVER" by Root Boy Slim (4:19)
6) "THEY DON'T SING ON THE CORNER" by Root Boy Slim (4:17)
7) "I FELL DOWN" by Root Boy Slim (3:11)
8) "IT'S ONLY MURDER" by Root Boy Slim (5:07)
9) "HOUSE BAND IN HELL" by Root Boy Slim (4:45)
10) "EVOLUTION" by Root Boy Slim (3:08)

Would love to find a bootleg of this show!

WAMA (the Washington Area Music Association) inducted Root Boy Slim into its Hall of Fame at the 2005 Wammie Awards at the new Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland. The Root Boy Slim Tribute Band appeared to commemorate Root’s induction.

The Root Boy Slim Tribute Band assembled for the WAMA/Strathmore concert in January 2005 had players representing all of the bands that Root put together over his 15 years of performing:
Tommy Lepson – lead vocals, organ; Ron Holloway – tenor sax; Deanna Bogart – tenor sax, vocs; Marshall Keys – alto sax; Dan Hovey – guitar, vocs; Torro Gamble – drums, vocs; Scott Ambush – bass, vocs; John Zidar – drums; Jim Orr – piano; and original Rootettes Cherie Grasso – vocs, percussion and Dick Bangham – vocs, trombone. Sitting in on baritone sax. Donny Schattenberg.

The two hour show started off with a dedication read by Esmirelda, followed by the band performing:
A moment to remember our deceased bandmates:
Bob Greenlee, Winston Kelly, Kathe Russell, Dominic V., Dani Murray, and Noble “Thin Man” Watts.
TOUGH LUCK (Reprise)

Foster "Ken" Mackenzie III (Root Boy Slim) was born on July 9, 1945 in Asheville, NC. His father was a golf course architect and he grew up in Washington, DC Root Boy attended a number of private schools, including Sidwell Friends and the St. James School in Hagerstown. Considered a tortured genius by some, Root Boy was a commanding, compelling presence in the DC music scene in the late 1970s and 80s. His songs were wry commentaries on the absurdities of life, including his own.

Root Boy attended Yale University, where he and George W. Bush belonged to the same fraternity (DKE, "the Dekes"), although Bush was one year behind him. Root Boy was the frat's social director, and he would later tell people that the future president showed up at all the parties. Root Boy said that he went back to visit one year and Bush, now president of the fraternity, threw him off the premises for smoking a joint on the frat house's front steps.

At Yale, Root Boy made friends with fraternity brother Bob Greenlee, who was captain of the Yale football team. They formed a band called "The Young Prince La La, Percy Uptight and the Midnight Creepers." It is said that the band never played the same venue twice.

Over the next decade, Root Boy attended architecture school, studied city planning, and traveled. He was arrested in Jamaica, then again in Jacksonville, and in 1969 jumped over the White House fence, landing him in St. Elizabeth's for observation. He would later write songs about these events and, while living in Florida, enlisted his friend Bob Greenlee to record some of them. The band moved to DC in the spring of 1977, adding Ron Holloway on saxophone and the backup singers The Rootettes.

The band was called Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band, and the combination of excellent musicians, clever and unusual hook-ridden songs, along with Root Boy's charismatic, outlandish persona propelled it to huge local success in the late 1970s and 1980s. His subjects included substance abuse, mental instability and politics, with song titles such as "Too Sick To Reggae," "Dozin' and Droolin," I'm Not Too Old for You," and "Boogie Til You Puke." Although he made fun of his vices, Root Boy used drugs and alcohol to excess. His shows were sometimes erratic, but they were always funny and outrageous. Root Boy would wear flowing capes, leopard outfits and his trademark ROOT glasses, and he would order his backup singers, the Rootettes, to get down on the filthy stage floor with him as he sang "Do the Gator." His performances at venues such as The Psychedelly in Bethesda, the Cellar Door and Bayou in Georgetown, and the Varsity Grill in College Park were always packed, and staffers from the Carter White House were among his following. He was even invited to visit the White House by Carter's appointment secretary. Root Boy approved of the Carter administration, but when President Reagan was elected, he wrote "Cowboy in the Sun Too Long" and "Rich, White, Republican."

In 1977, a demo album, including "Boogie Til You Puke" and "You Broke My Mood Ring," produced by local entrepreneurs Joe Lee and Dick Bangham (who later became a Rootette) was unofficially rated "the most requested album of the year" on WHFS. This caught the attention of Steely Dan's Donald Fagen and producer Gary Katz, who took the act to Warner Brothers Records. Root Boy inked a quarter of a million dollar deal with the record company and released his debut album in 1978 with all of the songs included on the original demo. An appearance in "Mr. Mike's Mondo Video," produced by Saturday Night Live head writer Michael O'Donahue, might have put him over the top but the special was rejected for air by then NBC-president Fred Silverman. The album didn't meet expectations and the label bought out the remainder of the contract. The next year, Root's second album, Zoom, was released on A&M's IRS/Illegal Records. The band toured England and Scotland, opening for Ian Dury and the Blockheads and making headlines in the British musical press as well as in Rolling Stone in the US. Marshall Keys joined the band in 1978 when guitarist Stuart Smith decided against doing the Dury tour. Root Boy went on to record four more albums with Greenlee and Lancaster on smaller labels, two of them Greenlee's King Snake Records.

For the last fifteen years of his life, Root Boy continued to write songs and perform with a series of bands made up of many of DC's most talented players, including Tommy Lepson. His last production was a moving video of his song "Hey Mr. President", a call to help the homeless, released during the Presidential campaign in 1992. The Sex Change Band reunited in 1993 for an East coast tour. Worn down by his inner demons and declining health, Root Boy died in his sleep just four days after the band's kickoff show at The Junkyard in Orlando, one month before his 48th birthday.

WMA 9.1 VBR and the 45 MP3 @320kbps, File Size: 53MB


Anonymous said...

Wonderful! I just found your blog and I'm so thrilled to see this Root Boy post. I'm in the UK, which Root Boy toured with Ian Drury and the Blockheads at the start of the 80s. Absolutely love the music... till I could puke! Many thanks for this... Any chance of a posting of his "improv session album" LEFT FOR DEAD?

WVKayaker said...

UK Dave,
If I had that LP I would post it. Youring with Ian Dury Sounds like a perfect fit. We apprecite your feedback. Enjoy!

DCDave said...

Most excellent!! I grew up in DC with Root Boy and the sex change band and the capital offense band. He roomed with an ex girl friend of mine. Amazing musician and performer. One of the most underrated of the era. Saw Root Boy play many times at pizza joints doin the gator on tables knocking over crap everywhere. And he sang about his life, which was troubled, but rich. Thanks.

WVKayaker said...

Thaks for the cool tibit on Root Boy...i saw him in a pizza joint in Riverdale....It's comments from guys like you that keep this thing going!

eddie said...

I have a exc live Root Boy concert from 1979... I'll snail a CDR to someone who would blog it. Too lazy to do my own blog, and can't up or dl big files at the moment. DC-wise, also have a exc Razz concert from the previous yr... I think they also are deserving of some blog recognition

WVKayaker said...

Would love to post some live Root Boy and Razz!

send me an e-mail

WVKayaker said...

got the CDs today will post them very soon!

thank you!!!!!!!

Heli0tr0pe said...

Cheers for the RBS stuff -- No'fwest D.C. up in da hizzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaaay!!!

-- GreenAlienChick

Camarillo Brillo said...

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your stay!

Anonymous said...

The link to Root Boy Slim is no longer working. Can you please re-up. The pictures of your collection are very impressive. Congratulations.

Camarillo Brillo said...

Here's a new link with a couple xtras added.

Anonymous said...

There will be good listening tonight. Thank you sir.

hoosierdaddy said...

Sharing my Root Boy Slim photos on the following public Facebook links:

Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band

Root Boy Slim and Capitol Offense

Partying with Root Boy


Camarillo Brillo said...

Those are totally awesome Hoosier!!!

Root fan said...

I made a cassette tape off of WHFS of an interview between Josh, Root Boy, and the Sex Change Band that is pretty great. I'll see if I can't find it.

Camarillo Brillo said...


Anonymous said...

Iwas turned on to root boy by a gator.House band in hell takes on a whole new perspective now that Don Cornelius has transcended the mortal coil. Shan W.P.B.

What This Is All About

I've been collecting live music from various sources since the mid to late 70's. Radio shows, TV broadcasts, radio show pre-FM CD's and vinyl LP's and some trades. Most of the shows posted here, I recorded and ripped myself. I always had top of the line stereo equipment and cassette and open reel recorders for those on air broadcasts.

I've downloaded plenty of bootlegged concerts from various blogs. As a rule I will only post stuff from my collection and not what is already available out there.

I also post out of print CDs and LPs from my collection.
I will repost from my readers anything someone sends me as long as it is either out of print or something that's not from someone else's blog. If you want to share a link for a cool item on your blog, or someone else's, please feel free to post it in the comments........

Enjoy and please leave a comment and pass this blog along.

Can you believe that so many out there are starving for the old WHFS? Amazing!

If you leave a comment, how about using a nickname instead of Anonymous. At least make up something please. Thanks!

I have reconsidered my position...and will re-upload dead links, so long as you go to that particular post and make the request from the comments page...

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