How can I explain Root Boy Slim? Maybe I could say he was a unique product of a certain time and place. The time was the late 1970's and the place was Washington, DC. Root Boy's appeal didn't seem to transfer outside this area, but for some of us he was a local legend who we remember fondly.
He was born into a wealthy family and went to an Ivy League school, I believe, but the culture and politics of the 1960's took their toll on the Root Boy. Many of his songs were autobiographical, such as "I used to be a Radical" which tells how he tried to climb over the White House fence and "Dozing and Drooling" which describes the effects of the prescription drug he was later given (thorazine, I think.). Mostly though, Root Boy was about fun. "You Broke my Mood Ring" and "Boogie 'til You Puke" were probably his best known songs.
The band we listened and danced to Friday contained at least one former member of the original group which Root Boy named The Sex Change Band. Saxophonist Ron Holloway went from back-up to the Root Boy to a successful jazz career. He seems to still operate from this area because we saw him last year sitting in with Little Feat at the Warner.
Root Boy died a couple of decades ago. It was nice to see so many people who remembered him. We had a good time, and I was thankful that once again in my life I was able to call out "Root!"