Legendary guitarist, gifted songwriter, master of rhythm, snappy dresser -- Bo Diddley is all these things and more, and this two-fer CD, which reissues Diddley's first two albums on one convenient compact disc, offers a solid introduction to this man's special brand of musical innovation. While anyone looking for a full overview of Diddley's career should obviously go elsewhere (His Best [Chess 50th Anniversary Collection] is a great one-stop shopping place for beginners), these 23 tunes serve up a young Bo Diddley at his raw and primal best, and confirm that right out of the box the guy didn't sound like anyone else in rock & roll. Between Diddley's hypnotic, rhythmic guitar lines; the implacable rattle of Jerome Green's maracas; the spacy echo that threatens to envelop everything around it; and the borderline surrealism of the lyrics (witness the updated "Mr. Bones" routine of "Say Man," the overpopulated family of "Say Bossman," or the supreme bad-ass-ism of "Who Do You Love"), this man's music existed in a world of its own, and while you might not want to live there, the one-hour tour offered on Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley makes it sound like a great place to take a vacation. In the interest of accuracy, this disc even includes the same take of "Dearest Darling" twice, since the tune managed to appear on both Bo Diddley and Go Bo Diddley; nice to know someone at Chess' reissue department was paying attention to the details.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming