Friday, August 31, 2007

The Bo Diddley Beat

I read that Bo Diddley had a heart attack on 28-August. Not good, but hopefully he pulls through. Truly, he is a founding father of rock. Just check out his debut album from 1958 (actually a collection of songs that were also released as singles from 1955-58).
All songs written by Ellas McDaniel (aka "Bo Diddley"), except as noted:
"Bo Diddley" – 2:30
"I'm a Man" – 2:41
"Bring It to Jerome" – 2:37
"Before You Accuse Me" – 2:40
"Hey! Bo Diddley" – 2:17
"Dearest Darling" – 2:32
"Hush Your Mouth" – 2:36
"Say Boss Man" – 2:18
"Diddley Daddy" – 2:11
"Diddy Wah Diddy" (Ellas McDaniel / Willie Dixon) – 2:51
"Who Do You Love?" – 2:18
"Pretty Thing" – 2:48
Review by Matthew Greenwald (from AllMusic): "For anyone who wants to play rock & roll, real rock & roll, this is one of the few records that you really need. Along with Chuck Berry, Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and a few select others, Bo Diddley was one of the founders of the form — and he did it like no other. Diddley had only one real style, that being the Bo Diddley beat: a syncopated, rhythmic drive, loaded with tremolo. There are 12 examples of it on this record, and that is about all you need. It's one of those records that, after listening to just a few cuts, will find you tapping the beats on every available surface. Diddley's guitar and vocals have a gruff feeling that recalls bluesmen such as Waters, yet he has his own style. Buttressed by drums, funky piano, and usually maracas, it's absolutely infectious. This is one of the greatest rock sounds that you're likely to hear, and it's all on this one record, too."
I'll add a few more words of Haahnster admiration for "the Bo Diddley beat." No less of an early rock legend than Buddy Holly emulated the Bo Diddley beat in his song "Not Fade Away," one of the most covered songs in rock history. Think also about other familiar and oft-covered songs such as "I Want Candy" (originally recorded by The Strangeloves in 1965) and "Willie and the Hand Jive" (originally from Johnny Otis in 1957). A somewhat more recent example is U2's "Desire" (from Rattle and Hum in 1988).
Oh, and as a throw-in, Bo Diddley basically defined the use of tremolo in guitar playing. What a kick-ass guitar sound! If you don't have this disc, get it NOW!


Blogger Beth said...

Man, do I love me some Bo Diddley. My dad saw him play live many times in the 1950s. My dad rawked.

10:24 AM, August 31, 2007  
Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

It is very important that we give homage to the beginning.

And Bo was certainly "A" beginning.

And like most, never received the recognition he deserved so he took it upon himself to toot his own horn - which unfortunately, made him seem a bit "over the top".

But for us efficianados, details don't matter - only the music.

Thanks for getting back to reviews.

10:30 AM, August 31, 2007  
Blogger haahnster said...

BETH: Wow! You're dad did rawk!

KK: It all starts with taking time to listen to music. This mainly seems to happen in the car these days, and it's almost always b**tleg CDs. I need to work some more official releases into my rotation. Reviews are fun...

1:00 PM, August 31, 2007  

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