Video for an early version of the song:
Better Sounding Album Version:
Before there was a song titled “Watusi Rodeo,” there was Guadalcanal Diary’s debut EP, Watusi Rodeo. The EP title (chosen because side A sounded country and side B sounded African) inspired the song, so basically it was a sort of happy accident.
The song kicks off with a great slow riff from Jeff Walls that quickly resolves into hyperactive rhythm work from John Poe and Rhett Crowe. Murray Attaway is always very precise in his articulation and there are times in this song where he sounds like he’s singing at the limits of comprehensibility. Its a great, breathless performance. Then there’s Walls’ great solo which, as AllMusic points out, sounds like it was inspired by Dick Dale.
The lyrics describe a group of cowboys out in the Congo trying to remake the place so its appropriate for their rodeo and, in the process, stirring native unrest. Attaway wrote a lyric that was deliberately uncomfortable but also at times very funny.
“Watusi Rodeo” was the song that arguably got Guadalcanal Diary the most airplay in 1984. Poking around the internet, its clear that I’m not the only one who fondly remembers this great tune.