Tuesday, April 24, 2012

214. Bo Diddley. You don't know Diddley.

Album: Bo Diddley
Artist: Bo Diddley
Year: 1958
Genre: Blues


1. Bo Diddley
2. I'm a Man
3. Bring It to Jerome
4. Before You Accuse Me
5. Hey! Bo Diddley
6. Dearest Darling
7. Hush Your Mouth
8. Say, Boss Man
9. Diddley Daddy
10. Diddy Wah Diddy
11. Who Do You Love?
12. Pretty Thing

Bo Diddley has his own beat. How's that for cool? Some artists have a signature guitar sound, or an iconic hat but Bo has his own damn rhythm. It's impressive that a guy with a silly name and a uniquely shaped guitar can be remembered more for something his drummer does. But then the Diddley beat isn't just something the guy with the sticks gets up to. The whole band falls behind the percussion and the bass and guitar churn out the drive without changing chord patterns. A whole band pumps out a modified rhumba beat which Diddley uses as a launching point to sing his unique brand of humour-laden vocals.

As a technique it helped to launch Diddley's career but more than that it helped turn the Blues into Rock and Roll. The Rolling Stones were so enamoured with Diddley they not only adopted his rhythms they covered his songs and welcomed the guy onstage. And they were only one of the many groups of white rock and rollers who saw Diddley as one of the Godfathers of what they were trying to achieve.

Bo Diddley the album (not to be confused with Bo Diddley the song, Bo Diddley the artist or Bo Diddley the other album) is a collection of Bo Diddley the man's early singles (which includes Bo Diddley the song). It's another one of those Blues compilations which contains a bunch of classic songs that became standards of the White Boy Blues scene: I'm a man, Cops and Robbers, Who Do you Love? Before you Accuse me and Hey Bo Diddley are still gracing the repetoires of bar bands all over the world.

While the Bo Diddley beat could get a bit repetitive over time, when it's used on a handful of classic tracks as it is here it makes for compelling, foot tapping listening and the lyrics are a unique band of idiosyncratic wonderful. Great stuff.

Influenced by: Muddy Waters
Influenced: The Rolling Stones and Rock and Roll

Highlight: I'm a man (although I've always loved Bring it to Jerome)
Lowlight: Diddy Wah Diddy

Favourite Amazon Customer review quote: "Long-forgotten LPs like "Have Guitar Will Travel", "The Originator", "Hey Good Lookin'", "Bo Diddley's Beach Party (Live)" deserve to be heard by a new generation of potential Diddleyphiles."

-Diddleyphiles! I love that expression.

So are you a Diddleyphile? Let me know below.

1 comment:

  1. hey Great album , cant.....seem ...to ..stop..
    tapping..to....this.... infectious .....beat.