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Today, the romp-bompin' Bo Diddley, the baron of the beat!
Hear 2 massive music players, one of Bo and one of all his disciples from the 1950's to today!
Music Player quick-links:
Bo Diddley's disciples: 1950s-2010s
Part 1: The Rhythm King of Rock'n'Roll
It's that rhythm.
It had been around before in variations. "Shave-and-a-haircut, two-bits." His band says it came from a song called "The Hambone" (based on a rhythm and dance descended from the Juba dance of Haiti). Bo Diddley says it actually came out of his love of the insistent cadence of Country & Western star Gene Autry's "I Got Spurs That Jingle Jangle Jingle" (1942). Anything comes from anywhere, it's all in how you use it.
Chess Records in 1955 Chicago was the home of the electric blues gods; Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, their writer and bassist Willie Dixon, harpist Little Walter. Mature men from hard lives in the sharecropper South. When that gave out they migrated among millions to the Rust Belt states around the Great Lakes for factory jobs and record deals. Muddy's was the first all-electric Blues band, plugging Rock'n'Roll in in 1948. Wolf was the leer of the forbidden, crackling through the night airwaves. With the edgy John Lee Hooker, they stoked the souls of rambunctious young listeners, squirming to bust out.
You can hear it on those first singles by the new upstarts at Chess; when Chuck Berry and Bo crashed the party, it was like someone had flung writhing livewires onto the dance floor crowd. There is a jolting rush and breakneck intensity to those songs that had never been there before. Suddenly the Blues seemed plodding by comparison. It is alive, rude, both mean and joyful. So fast and so fuzzed out it made everything else trip over itself tepidly. What the hell was this? That hard stomping snarl of "Maybelline", that thundrous gallop and phasing tremolo of "Bo Diddley".
BOOM-de-boom-boom, De-BOOM-Boomp. Dag!