Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bo Diddley - His Best - The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection

Damn, I’ve been listening to so many different things lately that I love but that are so different aesthetically and musically, that it's hard to write about them all and be even relatively coherent.

I was just been listening to a couple of hours of pop music and then I put on Bo Diddley! Wow! Not that there isn't a direct correlation between it all, but the primitiveness of Bo and the fierce edge and pure rawness of it all is pretty goddam diametrically opposed to the likes of DM3 and Material Issue, as great as they are.

When I saw Bo - probably for the first time in a live setting - on the TAMI show, I understood why white parents would be afraid to have their kids listen to this type of music! With the lovely Duchess by his side (on second guitar and shimmying hips) and his incessant "Bo Diddley beat" (how many people can lay claim to their own beat?!), and little lily white teenage girls screaming for him, I could see why parents would warn their kids not to listen to this music!

While Bo has become a r'n'r icon, he was definitely a blues man, and his songs like "I'm a Man" are blues standards that everyone has to know and play at some point. Songs like "You Don't Love Me" have wild blues harp and piano as well as the stock Diddley guitar beat and maracas.

Bo was a true originator and innovator and while his music is simplistic, there is a genius behind it all. He sang about himself - in the third person - more than many people (though that was somewhat of a blues persona), but while it is boastful, you don't feel that it is untrue.

Man, everything on this collection is pretty mind-boggling. You can see how he has influenced everyone - black and white, blues and r'n'r. The Pretty Things took their name from his song of the same title and his songs are some of the most covered no matter what color you are! Even the Dictators stole the line "bring it to Jerome" for their "Who Will Save R'n'R" single.

Everything on this collection is fantastic - from the original "Pills" that the NY Dolls covered, to "You Can't Judge a Book By It's Cover", “Mona” and “Road Runner” (all of which every band that ever existed (seemingly) did). There are a few semi-obscure numbers, but you would have to have never have listened to r’n’r to not be familiar with most of this collection.

This man is a true genius and every living person on this planet needs to own something by this man and this is a good place to start!