Legendary Bo Diddley Part Five
Legendary Bo Diddley Part Five, means< I still have some more to type about, which also means, I got another album for you to listen to. Legendary Bo Diddley Part Five, nay not be the last one either, so let’s get started and enjoy.
The “Bo Diddley beat” is essentially the clave rhythm, one of the most common bell patterns found in sub-Saharan African music traditions. One scholar found this rhythm in 13 rhythm and blues recordings made in the years 1944–55, including two by Johnny Otis from 1948.
Bo Diddley gave different accounts of how he began to use this rhythm. Sublette asserts, “In the context of the time, and especially those maracas [heard on the record], ‘Bo Diddley’ has to be understood as a Latin-tinged record. A rejected cut recorded at the same session was titled only ‘Rhumba’ on the track sheets.” The Bo Diddley beat is similar to “hambone”, a style used by street performers who play out the beat by slapping and patting their arms, legs, chest, and cheeks while chanting rhymes. Somewhat resembling the “shave and a haircut, two bits” rhythm, Diddley came across it while trying to play Gene Autry’s “(I’ve Got Spurs That) Jingle, Jangle, Jingle”. Three years before his “Bo Diddley”, a song with similar syncopation “Hambone”, was cut by the Red Saunders Orchestra with the Hambone Kids. In 1944, “Rum and Coca Cola”, containing the Bo Diddley beat, was recorded by the Andrews Sisters. Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” (1957) and Them’s “Mystic Eyes” (1965) used the beat.
In its simplest form, the Bo Diddley beat can be counted out as either a one-bar or a two-bar phrase. Here is the count as a one-bar phrase: One e and ah, two e and ah, three e and ah, four e and ah (the boldface counts are the clave rhythm).
Many songs (for example, “Hey Bo Diddley” and “Who Do You Love?”) often have no chord changes; that is, the musicians play the same chord throughout the piece, so that the rhythms create the excitement, rather than having the excitement generated by harmonic tension and release. In his other recordings, Bo Diddley used various rhythms, from straight back beat to pop ballad style to doo-wop, frequently with maracas by Jerome Green.
An influential guitar player, Bo Diddley developed many special effects and other innovations in tone and attack, particularly the resonant “shimmering” sound. His trademark instrument was his self-designed, one-of-a-kind, rectangular-bodied “Twang Machine” (referred to as “cigar-box shaped” by music promoter Dick Clark) built by Gretsch. He had other uniquely shaped guitars custom-made for him by other manufacturers throughout the years, most notably the “Cadillac” and the rectangular “Turbo 5-speed” (with built-in envelope filter, flanger and delay) designs made by Tom Holmes (who also made guitars for ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, among others). In a 2005 interview on JJJ radio in Australia, he implied that the rectangular design sprang from an embarrassing moment. During an early gig, while jumping around on stage with a Gibson L5 guitar, he landed awkwardly, hurting his groin. He then went about designing a smaller, less restrictive guitar that allowed him to keep jumping around on stage while still playing his guitar. He also played the violin, which is featured on his mournful instrumental “The Clock Strikes Twelve”, a twelve-bar blues.
He often created lyrics as witty and humorous adaptations of folk music themes. The song “Bo Diddley” was based on the African-American clapping rhyme “Hambone” (which in turn was based on the lullaby “Hush Little Baby”). Likewise, “Hey Bo Diddley” is based on the song “Old MacDonald”. The song “Who Do You Love?” with its rap-style boasting, and his use of the African-American game known as “the dozens” on the songs “Say Man” and “Say Man, Back Again,” are cited as progenitors of hip-hop music (for example, “You got the nerve to call somebody ugly. Why, you so ugly, the stork that brought you into the world ought to be arrested”).
“I used to get mad about people recording my things; now I got a new thing going … I don’t get mad about them recording my material because they keep me alive.”
Bo Diddley, 1969 Pop Chronicles interview
▪Bo Diddley (1958)
▪Go Bo Diddley (1959)
▪Have Guitar Will Travel (1960)
▪Bo Diddley in the Spotlight (1960)
▪Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger (1960)
▪Bo Diddley Is a Lover (1961)
▪Bo Diddley’s a Twister (1962)
▪Bo Diddley (1962)
▪Bo Diddley & Company (1963)
▪Surfin’ with Bo Diddley (1963)
▪Hey! Good Lookin’ (1965)
▪500% More Man (1965)
▪The Originator (1966)
▪The Black Gladiator (1970)
▪Another Dimension (1971)
▪Where It All Began (1972)
▪The London Bo Diddley Sessions (1973)
▪Big Bad Bo (1974)
▪20th Anniversary of Rock & Roll (1976)
▪Ain’t It Good to Be Free (1983)
▪Breakin’ Through the B.S. (1989)
▪Living Legend (1989)
▪This Should Not Be (1992)
▪A Man Amongst Men (1996)
▪Chuck Berry Is on Top, with Chuck Berry (1959)
▪Two Great Guitars, with Chuck Berry (1964)
▪Super Blues, with Muddy Waters and Little Walter (1967)
▪The Super Super Blues Band, with Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf (1968)
“Bo Diddley” /
“I’m a Man”
“Say Man, Back Again”
“You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover”
“Hey Good Lookin'”