Friday, May 30, 2014

Bo Diddley is a Gun Slinger

What a great freakin' record! Of course, most of Diddley's output is well worthwhile, but these recordings - all from 1960 or thereabouts - are all especially cool and powerful. There's the opening title cut, a super swingin' "Ride On Josephine" (with hints of Screamin' Jay Hawkins talkin'n'tongues), a new dance craze ("Doing the Crawdaddy" with little girls learning the dance from Bo's directions), the honkin'-sax, call-n-answer/spelling-song "Cadillac" (a popular number in the SD 80's r'n'b scene), and even a bluesy re-write of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (list simply as "Somewhere" here and credited to Bo!). And that's all just on side one of the album!

I think Bo claims credit for re-working the Coasters' "Along Came John" with slightly different lyrics in "Cheyenne" and really does change up "Sixteen Tons", making it a Bo tune. There's another Coasters-styled number in "Whoa Mule (Shine)" and "No More Lovin'" continues in the doo-wop vein. Apparently, the album iteself concluded with the upbeat, honkin' sax instro "Diddling", though this CD contains two bonus tracks (I've seen ones online that have 4 - guess I lost out!).

The two extras are a fantastic minimalistic chain-gang chant of "Working Man" and a groove not unlike the Coasters' "Searchin'" with "Do What I Say" - done Diddley-style, of course!

I've got several Diddley comps and all of his early work is certainly worthwhile, but this album is especially cool and consistent - certainly one to own!