gullbuy music review

Root Boy Slim & the Sex Change Band


Root Boy Slim & the Sex Change Band with The Rootettes


Wounded Bird Records


JRoot Boy Slim & the Sex Change Band CD coverRoot Boy Slim (real name Foster Mackenzie III) graduated from Yale in 1977. Later that same year he debuted his Sex Change Band in DC and the following year, Warner Brothers released this, his debut album. While never really garnering more than "novelty act" status nationally (due to repeated spins by Dr. Demento), Root Boy Slim had a fiercely loyal (and large) cult following in the DC area, where I grew up. Mackenzie passed away ten years ago - almost to the day as I write this - suffering a fatal heart attack at the age of 47.

An immaculately produced (by Steely Dan's Gary Katz) album of blues/boogie rock with Root Boy's wickedly funny and (sometimes) insightful lyrics keeping things from getting too serious (or boring).

  • Boogie 'til You Puke, one of his best known songs, is about partying (and boogie-ing) all night.
  • Iin I'm Not Too Old for You, Root comes onto a high school girl "When you turn seventeen / I'll just be thirty-two."
  • I Used to Be a Radical recounts Root's revolutionary activities like jumping the White House fence (which he really did).
  • Heartbreak of Psoriasis, the name taken from an advertisement, is a first person account of suffering from the skin disease.
  • Mood Ring (a.k.a. You Broke My Mood Ring) is one of the best pick-up lines I've ever heard.
  • Too Sick to Reggae is apparently based on time Root spent in jail in Jamaica.
  • My Wig Fell Off is sung from the point of view of a 42 year old "trying to pass for eighteen" at the disco. Along with problems with his toupee, he also has difficulties with his dentures and truss.
  • In Jail in Jacksonville is about getting busted with a joint that somehow becomes a large amount of cocaine at some point in the booking process (an eerily similar incident happened to HR from Bad Brains some years after this song was released).

This record has aged way better than I would have thought. I rate it 7 1/2 out of 10.

---Peter L, June 3, 2003