Sunday, January 20, 2013

Guadalcanal Diary- Live At The Catalyst 1988

 I always thought the 80's got a bad rap when people joke about music from that decade. Personally, some of my favourite music and bands formed and produced their best work during the 80's, but unfortunately the mainstream perception of the decade is of Madonna, U2, Bon Jovi, Live Aid, Boy George, George Michael, Michael Jackson's glove, baggy pants, bad hairstyles, leg get the picture! In my last post, I celebrated band reunions and a good many of the groups I mentioned originated from the 80's. This past week, three of the members of the Replacements collaborated on a project that has been put up for auction. This is their first musical collaboration (Songs For Slim) since their breakup in 1991 (I know, but their heyday was in the 80's) with much anticipation of a possible reunion show or something further in the future with Stinson and Westerberg (don't hold your breath).

The 80's also saw the rise of some regional music scenes getting much deserved attention with some great bands coming from those cities. In Minneapolis, the Replacements and Husker Du spawned many bands that captured the attention of the alt-music scene at the time. Soul Asylum, the Suburbs, the Jayhawks, Gear Daddies, Trip Shakespere, Run Westy Run, Babes in Toyland are just some of the Twin Cities bands I remember in my university days. Around this same time, Athens, Georgia garnished much interest with the rise of a band called R.E.M. and many like-sounding jangly-guitar bands that caused a stir from music journalists and music fans flocking to see what the big deal was in Athens. There was a few decent bands that rode on the coattails of R.E.M., but the only one that I gave serious attention to was a band from nearby Marietta, Georgia, Guadalcanal Diary. They formed in 1981 and disbanded in 1989, but reformed and reunited a few times in 1997 (see below for download!) and in 2011 to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Guadalcanal Diary had a similar sound to R.E.M. and many mistakenly billed them as part of the Athens scene, but their sound and songs were distinctly unique and definitely not a R.E.M. soundalike. Murray Attaway described their music, "It was great fun to be able to take a line from a revered blues song, a drum pattern from Africa, and a guitar or bass riff from The Stooges, and squeeze it all into some loud, tongue-in-cheek mush". and since I suck at describing a band's sound (according to Wikipedia), "This under appreciated Georgia quartet distinguished itself from any number of smart, tuneful American guitar combos by combining accessible songcraft with provocatively twisted lyrics. Singer/guitarist Murray Attaway's songs reflect a bizarre variety of far-flung interests, from a preoccupation with the supernatural to a fascination with American cultural imperialism; the band delivers them all with rootsy irony".

I had the pleasure of seeing Guadalcanal Diary live here in my hometown in 1989 touring their final album, Flip-Flop and it was a an amazing, memorable show. I would love to see them again and I guess with their frequent reunions, there's always the possibility I'll have a chance. Today's post is a recording I pulled from Dime many years back. I have a few of their live shows (including their pair of 1989 "farewell" shows), but this one has the best sound and the setlist (circa, 2x4) is great. The original poster found this tape with other master tapes from The Catalyst stored in a box in the basement. The sound is sweet because it's a matrix mix of the soundboard feed and various microphones in the room.

Bonus: Guadalcanal Diary- Live From Your Birthday (1997 reunion)

The Catalyst
Santa Cruz, CA
February 3, 1988

Soundboard with microphones- live matrix mix from cassette master

01. Trail Of Tears
02. Michael Rockefeller
03. Things Fall Apart
04. Ghost On The Road
05. Newborn
06. Say Please
07. Please Stop Me
08. Gilbert Takes The Wheel
09. Get Over It
10. Little Birds
11. Litany (Life Goes On)
12. Under The Yoke
13. Let The Big Wheel Roll
14. T.R.O.U.B.L.E.
15. unidentified intro
16. Country Club Gun
17. Lips Of Steel
18. Watsui Rodeo
19  Encore break
20. Immigrant Song
21. Cattle Prod
22. Encore break
23. Dead Eyes
24. Kumbayah
25. Murray talking
26. Staying Alive
27. Kumbayah
28. End- outro

GUADALCANAL DIARY- 1988-02-03, The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA FLAC. rar


jeffen said...

That show at Le Rendez-Vous was incredible - one of the best I've ever seen.

binky said...

It was! Too bad this was still years before I started to tape shows.

Dia said...

Thank you so much for your website, you have such great stuff I don't know where to start!

Anonymous said...

Guadalcanal Diary are one of my all-time favorite live bands, and I have never understood their lack of exposure/popularity.

I got to see them several times in around Chapel Hill in 1982-83, and was blown away each time. Including a show at the Cat's Cradle during its interlude on Rosemary Street, attended by about eight people. Seriously.


Anonymous said...


A Guadalcanal Diary show exists??????? I have looked for *years* for anything of theirs live.

You, sir, have made my day. I cannot thank you enough!

binky said...

Be sure to check out the "Live At the Birthday Party" recording as well...amazing set!!

Jim H. said...

great stuff! saw them every time they passed thru Boston in the 80's, always great....

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