Lost links & Re-ups

On any post, if the link is no longer good, leave a comment if you want the music re-uploaded. As long as I still have the file, or the record, cd, or cassette to re-rip, I will gladly accommodate in a timely manner all such requests.

Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

01 August 2008

RootBoy Slim - The Lenny Bruce of Boogie

UPDATE: This post was re-uploaded
10/27/2013. Enjoy 'til you puke, NØ.

When I was deciding whether to post this album or not, I searched around on the Net to see if it was available or not & to get some facts to write up.

Searchs found it for $135.00.
But I had no idea there was such a RootBoy cult or how loyal they were.

I first saw RootBoy & the Sex Change crew at a club called The Bayou in Washington, D.C. on July 4, 1978. I had driven down from Pittsburgh, PA. to attend the Annual White House Smoke-out with my partner-in-crime Mother Dies. We were having a great time, staying in a tent made from an Air Force parachute down at West Potomac Park by the Tidal Basin. We had already pied the Pieman Aaron Kay with an all-American apple pie & we were feeling pretty good. RootBoy & band were playing Independence Day at The Bayou & we were so there. We almost got popped outside the club for smoking a jay, can you believe that, at the Smoke-out, going to see RootBoy ('Put a quarter in the juke/& boogie 'til you puke/Pop that Locker Room/Let's really zoom/Shootin' & a-tootin'/all night long') & almost gettin' arrested for smokin' some ganja!

RootBoy Slim (born Foster MacKenzie III in Asheville, North Carolina, on July 9, 1945) & his band, the hilariously named Sex Change Band w/ the Rootettes, were a fixture in the mid-Atlantic blues/rock scene. Stridently different than your typical club fare, RootBoy was fat, had greasy hair & almost always seemed to be in a drug- or alcohol-induced stupor .

MacKenzie was an intelligent yet incorrigible youth who was invited to leave several private DC-area prep schools. He went on to Yale, where he majored in African American studies, graduating in 1967. He was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (the Dekes) fraternity. His fraternity brothers included future President George W. Bush. MacKenzie was a year older than Bush.

While at Yale, MacKenzie formed a band
with classmate & fraternity brother Bob Greenlee,
who was quarterback of Yale's football team.
The band was named
Prince La La & the Midnight Creepers.
Band members wore ermine capes,
silver lame hot pants
& boasted that they were never invited for return engagements.

The year after MacKenzie & Greenlee graduated, they returned to the DKE house during Yale's homecoming. Bush, who since their departure had become president of DKE, threw them out & banned them from the house for smoking a joint on the steps. RootBoy hopped the White House fence in 1969 while tripping balls on LSD (Root explained to Secret Service agents that he was 'looking for the center of the universe').

One of RootBoy's adventures, 'framed for cocaine':

All I had was a roach it's true
Told the pigs what they could do
Then they found a coupla pounds
Too bad that cocaine was around

Chorus: In jail in Jacksonville - 2 times

I was pretty high when the bust went down
Noddin' & smilin', shufflin' around
Now my life is a mess
You can reach me at my new address

Chorus: 2 times

Didn't have a dime for a call
Public defender laughin' in the hall
Took my prints, mug shots, too
Pushed me down to cell block two
Put me in with Big Bad John
Had to keep my mudflap on
Queens were screamin' up a storm
Want my young body to keep them warm

Chorus: 2 times

Now I'm doin' eleven months to two
For a crime I, of course, didn't do
My lawyer's appeal, coppin' a plea
Gonna sue for what they done to me

Chorus: 2 times, then (What'd they do, Slim?)

Gave me a number, ring in my nose
Beat me senseless with a rubber hose
Kept me dirty, fed me swill
Didn't give me no medicine when I was ill
Had a hangnail, bad, bad pain
Need my Demerol right away
Had an attack of the gout
Where was my morphine to help me out?

Chorus: 8 times to fade over RootBoy rap...

Root & company trudged the mid-Atlantic club circuit until a self-produced recording caught the ear of Donald Fagen & Walter Becker of Steely Dan who in turn passed it on to some A&R honchoes at Warner Brothers Records. RootBoy & band landed a $250,000 contract with Warners. Root Boy Slim & The Sex Change Band with the Rootettes was inflammatory, piss drunk & powered by Rootboy's good time Beefheart, the album is pure punk aesthetics saddled to a strong boogie bronco, demonstrating Root & the band's penchant for writing tunes relating to pop-culture with such quirky titles as "Boogie Till You Puke" & "You Broke My Mood Ring". Naturally, being a major label, Warners mismarketed the LP & the band found themselves without a label -- but not without a having had a European tour, in which Root Boy became enamoured with his forefathers' homeland: Scotland...

Enter Miles Copeland's Illegal Records. Miles signed the band & they produced their second LP, ZOOM on I.R.S. in the US, Illegal in the UK. Despite the use of A&M's mighty marketing arm, the LP sold about as well as its predecessor, & Root & the boys (& girls) found themselves labelless once again. After this Root Boy Slim & The Sex Change Band (with & without The Rootettes) continued playing the Atlantic Seaboard. They did four more LPs: DOG SECRETS on Congressional Records; DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU & LEFT FOR DEAD for Kingsnake Records; & ROOT SIX for Naked Language Records. There is a great video of RootBoy & Co. doing "Hey, Mr. President" (a song about the plight of the homeless) here.

Sadly, the silliness of Slim could not go on forever. On June 8, 1993, four days after the start of an east coast tour with the Sex Change Band & one month before his forty-eighth birthday, RootBoy Slim died in his sleep in his Orlando, FL, apartment. The culprit? Hard livin’, pure & simple. The fast lane had finally caught up with him. His ashes were scattered in Scotland.

On this album:
RootBoy Slim - vocals, harmonica; E. Locker Romm Lancaster - guitar; Rattlesnake rattles - bass; Tommy Ruger - drums; Cosmo Creek - pedal steel; Winston 'Spots' Kelly - keyboards; Ron Holloway - tenor sax; Cherie Grasso - Rootette; 'Micki' Lee Jonnie - Rootette; Kathe 'Special K' Russel - assistant Rootette; & Flaco - percussion. SPECIAL THANKS: Mood Barn;...Catfish Bones; the Smiley Sisters; certain resident of Cabin John; & all others whose names are too short to remember, the list of course too long to forget; also Mr. Tobias & his Gurian. No thanks to anyone else.

Warner Brothers Records BSK 3160,1978.
decryption code in comments

Side 1 -

Boogie 'Til You Puke
I'm Not too Old for You
I Used to Be a Radical
Heartbreak of Psoriasis
I Want it Now

Side 2 -
Mood Ring
Too Sick to Reggae
My Wig Fell Off
Country Love
In Jail in Jacksonville
You Can't Quit My Club



  1. Brooklyn Bill,
    Thanks for the comment.
    Though thousands have lurked here & hundreds have leeched here, you are the first to comment here.
    I have placed a link to your blog here, & will stop by to leave a comment later.
    Thanks again,

  2. Great stuff! Thanks for turnin' me on to this. I wouldn't be mad at ya at all if you uploaded more.


  3. Seems the two of us 'pinned the tail on the donkey' fairly close together...check out my "Memories of Root Boy Slim" on the Blogger site and leave a snide remark or crude accusation as evidence.
    "Take the square Root" - This Old Scarecrow

  4. MEGA decryption code

  5. I've had the 1st & 2nd lps for a dozen odd years - had no idea they were so pricey these days.. The Root Boy performance in Mr. Mike's Mondo Video made me a fan immediately and got me searching for the records.. showing it Sunday at a weekly screening I host - so I'm glad I found this - gonna make some cds to give away to folks at the screening - pretty confident Root Boy's gonna blow some minds so big THANKS!