Big Bad Bo…
Special thanks for the input and to the listeners on WXYC’s Thursday Night Feature. I have to admit that I was nervous about presenting the legendary music and story of Bo Diddley. His innovations and creative process is nothing short of astounding. Bo Diddley was truly a “Man’s Man.”
For the show, I was able to inerview, Blues Hall of Fame member, photographer, curator, and producer Dick Waterman and former Chess Records sax player and producer, Gene Barge. (Little known fact: Barge was actually the sax player on Chuck Willis’s C.C. Rider.)
Both Dick and Gene provided great insights on Bo Diddley and the Chicago Blues scene. As an added bonus, they were able to touch upon where the direction of blues is headed today.
The unfortunate part is that my recorder was out for the show, and I was able to only record the first hour. Check out the first recorded hour of the show here.
With that first hour, you’ll enjoy Bo’s biographical tidbits and Bo’s early Chess years. The tough part is that with help from an esteemed WXYC elder, I was able to uncover Gene Autry’s guitar riff from “Jingle Jangle” and compare the portion to “Who Do You Love?” That may not be on the recorded version.
With that said, the shame is that I was able to play a lot of Bo’s ‘funk’ and his ‘Black Alligator’ work from the ’70s from ‘Another Dimension’, ‘Big Bad Bo’ and ‘Bo and Co.’ In fact, for sample fans out there, pick up ‘Big Bad Bo’, De La Soul used the sample off ‘Hit or Miss.’ The song is a classic funk sample. Also, be sure to try and find a lot of Bo’s live work, which you can catch a good feel for in the YouTube video that I’ve posted below.
Here is the information that I used for the show:
1.) Bo Diddley Box Set – For XYC DJs, do yourself and dig deep into vinyl. The cuts between 1955-1962 are all classics, and they all contain that classic Bo Diddley riff. Another tidbit is to check out the liner notes. Bo set the record straight with his thoughts upon Chess Records, his musical style, his influences, and even icons like Chuck Berry …Great read.
2.) “The Indestructible Bo Diddley” – This may be the definitive article on Bo Diddley from Neil Strauss of “Rolling Stone Magazine.” Seriously, this is a great read, and Strauss depicts a great impromptu jam session in Diddley’s living room filled with home-made amplifiers and guitars…Very strong read.
Here’s another great review from Strauss in the NYTimes. You can also pick some great reads via this NYTimes tribute, which also includes a solid read about his personal feeling that he never received respect for his musical innovations.
Here is another great Rolling Stone interview from Kurt Loder from 1987, which supports a lot of Bo’s thoughts on the music industry.
3.) Bo Diddley Wikipedia Entry – Good source of consolidated info. This was probably the best source for details of the last two years before his death on June 2, 2008. Check out the final entry that details his last show in his birthplace of McComb, Mississippi.
4.) NPR’s “All Things Considered” – Good short perspective on Bo’s legacy and life.
Here is the playlist from the show:
Here is the playlist:
Bo Diddley – I’m a M-A-N – Chess Records
Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley – Checker/Chess Records
Bo Diddley – Send It To Jerome – Chess/Checker
Bo Diddley – Diddley Daddy – Chess/Checker
Bo Diddley – Pretty Thing – Chess/Checker
Bo Diddley – Before You Accuse Me – Chess
Bo Diddley – Who Do You Love? – Chess
Bo Diddley – Mona – Chess
Bo Diddley – Oooh Baby – Chess Records
Dick Waterman Interview
Gene Autry – “Jingle Jangle”
Elmore James – “Dust My Broom”
Bo Diddley – “Look At My Baby” – Chess
Bo Diddley – “Cops & Robbers” – Chess
Bo Diddley – Ride On Josephine – Chess
Bo Diddley – Aztec Bo Diddley The Chess Box
Bo Diddley – “Back Home” – Bo Diddley The Chess Box/Chess
Bo Diddley – “Pills” – Bo Diddley The Chess Box/Chess
Bo Diddley – “Untitled Instrumental” – Bo Diddley The Chess Box/Chess
Gene Barge Interview
Bo Diddley – “Bo Diddley The Gunslinger” – Bo Diddley 16 All-Time Greatest Hits/Chess
Bo Diddley – “Bad Side Of The Moon”- Another Dimension/Chess
Bo Diddley – “I Said Shuttup Woman” – Another Dimension/Chess
Bo Diddley – “Go For Broke (Instrumental) ” – Another Dimension/Chess
Bo Diddley – “He Got All The Whiskey” – Big Bad Bo/Chess
Bo Diddley – “Hit or Miss” – Big Bad Bo/Chess
Bo Diddley & Co. – “He’s A Hell Of A Man” – Bo Diddley & Co./Fan Club
As I mentioned in the show, I actually met Bo inside the lobby of the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles, and he was one of the cooler bump-ins that I’ve had with a celebrity. I only now wish that I could ask more about his Chicago days.
Also, thanks to George Thorogood and Dan Aykroyd for placing Bo in their works. Both of those works introduced me to Bo Diddley’s music. Bo appeared as a pool hustler in Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone” video, and he appeared in Trading Places as a Philadelphia pawn-shop owner/broker, who not only states Aykroyd’s watch that tells time in ‘Sch-tad’ ‘That watch is hot”, but also pronounces “…in Philadelphia, that watch is worth fifty bucks.”
After learning and reading more about Bo, the setting in Trading Places with all of the loose equipment hanging from the walls, electronics under the shelves, and blues music playing in the background, that may be a solid setting for listening to his work.
Bring that work…