TITLE: Walking in the Shadows of the Big Man
YEAR RELEASED: 1984
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Watusi Rodeo, Trail of Tears
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Why Do the Heathen Rage?, Pillow Talk
LINEUP: Murray Attaway, Jeff Walls, Rhett Crowe, John Poe
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Athens scene band, jangly guitars, but a different deal than REM due to the more linear story songs and harmonies.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Hearing the guitars, you think that maybe Guadalcanal Diary cribbed something from older scenesters REM, but then when Murray Attaway sings, and the lyrics are definitely mostly straight forward story songs or love songs, with harmonies from the rest of the band, it becomes more of a second cousin band to their more famous scene-mates.
Their debut, produced by REM producer Don Dixon, show off the band’s strengths in harmonies, and creating a mood. Yet, it seems slight, since two of the tracks were instrumentals, and another was a live version of Kum Ba Yah”.
Guadalcanal Diary had promise – a more traditional sound still with the college radio / independent streak. This debut showed off some of the things that endeared them to fans later down the road.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Dixon had recorded an EP for them, and this album to put out on a local label. When they got signed, they convinced Elektra to release this record and not make them record new tracks.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, B-sides and their first EP are appended.
GRADE: B: It’s really good in most spots, but it’s slight and seems slapped together at times.