365 Days of Album Recommendations – Jan 12

Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley

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For all the purple-prosed pronouncements made over the years about the relationship between blues and rock n’ roll … this is actually all you need to know. This is where blues becomes rock n’ roll. This man, this music, this album.

Technically, it’s not actually an “album” in the traditional sense. It’s actually a compilations of singles, starting from 1955 and stretching up to the release of this offering, in 1958. But for all intents and purposes, it’s an album.

And for all intents and purposes, it’s badass as fuck.

It’s SO important to listen to this, so you really understand what the rhythm was about. The “Bo Diddley Beat”—as it’s come to be called—is just a bloody caricature of itself, and has nothing to do with the crazy grooves on these original recordings. The awful weight of decades of horrible bands bludgeoning these rhythms into generic bump-bump-bump … bump-bumps is just too ghastly to bear up under sometimes …

So you HAVE to come back to these recordings.

Plus, there is so much sly wit here. And the vocals are just sharp as razors. And the music is so delightfully sloppy, and out of tune, and erratic, in ways that could never be mimic’d or done intentionally …

Some of this music is just plain weird.

“Who Do You Love” has been so ruined over the years by so many bland, awful performances, and so many dreadful covers have been played on so many deadening “classic rock” stations, that we’ve virtually lost our ability to understand the insane poetry of the original:

“Night was dark, when the sky was blue,
Down the alley, the ice-wagon flew,
Hit a bump, and somebody screamed,
You shoulda heard just what I seen.”

That’s fucking genius.

Recommended tracks to start with: 

Hush Your Mouth, Bring It To Jerome, and Who Do You Love

#1, Because it’s just so cool. SO cool. So weird. And so cool.

#2, Because it’s so damn groovy

#3, Because you owe it to yourself to understand the original.


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