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Root Boy Slim - Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band (LP)

Root Boy Slim - Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band (LP)

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Condition: Brand new
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Genre: rock
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title:  Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band
Company: Warner Brothers
Catalog: BSK-3160
Year: 1978
Country/State: Washington, DC
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: --
Available: 3
Catalog ID: 4620
Price: $20.00

Unless you lived in the mid-Atlantic during the late-1970s through the mid-1980s, it's doubtful you'll recognize the name Foster MacKenzie III - aka Root Boy Slim. I was in my prime college years for part of the timeframe and thanks to friends (hi Bruce) got the opportunity to see Root Boy and company in concert several times. One of those New Year performances at Radford College still haunts me some thirty years later ...

Ah, the infamous 'root' sunglasses and an older, 
Root in a reflective moment

Tall, overweight, balding and seeming in a continuous drug and/or alcohol induced stupor (he was once arrested and subsequently committed to an asylum for scaling the White House fence while on LSD), Root Boy wasn't your standard rock and roll star. With a voice that could take old varnish off a piece of furniture, a sense of humor that was nothing short of bizarre and a stage show that frequently went over the edge, I've always been amazed that he managed to attract the attention of a major label.

Most folks would probably be surprised to know that Root Boy attended Yale, let alone that he was a frat brother. Along with fellow frat brother/football team captain Bob Greenlee, he formed Prince La La, Percy Uptight and the Midnight Creepers. After graduating Root started working as a city planner before dropping out and bumming around. The mid-1970s found him back in his native Washington, D.C. where he reunited with old buddy Greenlee. The two began collaborating, eventually forming a band around the talents of guitarist Ernie Lancaster. 

Having enjoyed some success on the Washington, D.C. club circuit, the band cut a series demos that eventually landed in the hands of Steely Dan's Donald Fagen and producer Gary Katz. At the same time the band released a self financed single on the Takoma Maryland-based Joe-Tel Records

- 1979's 'Christmas at K-Mart' b/w 'Too Much Jawbone' (Joe-Tel catalog number 4972) 

The single became a local hit (I remember radio station WHFS playing it), with the single catching on just as Fagen and Katz began pushing Warner Brothers to sign the Root Boy and company. Warner Brothers promptly signed Root and company to a reported $250,000 recording contract.  

1978's "Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band" teamed our hero with Katz handling production. Largely penned by MacKenzie, Greenlee and Lancaster, the album showcased prime Root Boy. Material such as 'Boogie 'Till You Puke', 'I'm Not Too Old For You' and 'Mood Ring' offered up a weird mixture of pounding blues and rock with lyrics that were either cutting edge criticism of American excesses, or simply the goofiest crap you'd heard in years ('My Wig Fell Off'). Personally I find the lyrics hysterical and I've spun this album dozens of times. If being a rock star was all about alcohol, bad women, drugs and more drugs then Root and company had it down to a fine art ('In Jail In Jacksonville'). Even if you find the lyrics juvenile or offensive, these guys could rock ('You Can't Quit My Club')! Imagine captain Beefheart and the crew with a better sense of humor and several life hampering addictions and you'll be in the right aural neighborhood. Unfortunately, Warner Brothers didn't have a clue to do with Root Boy. The band was shipped off to do a European tour (great idea) and in the absence of any sales, was promptly dropped from the company's recording roster.      

"Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Boogie 'Till You Puke (Foster MacKenzie III - Robert Greenlee - Ernest Lancaster - Kelly) - 3:26
2.) I'm Not Too Old For You (Foster MacKenzie III - Robert Greenlee - Ernest Lancaster) - 3:25
3.) I Used To Be a Radical (Foster MacKenzie III - Robert Greenlee - Ernest Lancaster) - 3:10
4.) Heartbreak of Psoriasis (Foster MacKenzie III - Robert Greenlee - Ernest Lancaster) - 3:47
5.) I Want It Now (Foster MacKenzie III - Robert Greenlee - Ernest Lancaster) -3:32

(side 2)
1.) Mood Ring (Foster MacKenzie III - Robert Greenlee - Ernest Lancaster) - 2:30
2.) Too Sick To Reggae (Foster MacKenzie III - Bernstein - Hall) - 3:04 
3.) My Wig Fell Off (Foster MacKenzie III - Robert Greenlee - Ernest Lancaster) - 2:03
4.) Country Love (Foster MacKenzie III - Robert Greenlee - Ernest Lancaster) - 2:35
5.) In Jail In Jacksonville (Foster MacKenzie III - Robert Greenlee - Ernest Lancaster) - 4:20
6.) You Can't Quit My Club (Foster MacKenzie III - Robert Greenlee - Ernest Lancaster) - 3:12
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