Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley [1962]

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Five years after Bo Diddley first released an album called Bo Diddley, he went and released another LP with just his name on the front cover, and really, what else do you need to know about an album that features the wit, wisdom, sound, and rhythm of the great man also known as Ellas McDaniel? The 1962 Bo Diddley doesn't boast quite as many immediate classics as his 1957 debut, but any album that includes "You Can't Judge a Book by Looking at the Cover" and "Bo's Bounce" need not make any excuses, and "You All Green" and "I Can Tell" confirm Bo had plenty of other tricks up his sleeve. Elsewhere, Bo offers his take on the politics of the day in "Mr. Khrushchev," reveals he can keep up with the latest dance crazes with "Mama Don't Allow No Twistin'" and "Bo's Twist," and rejects brazen infidelity in "Who May Your Lover Be." Of course, despite the great songs, the real attraction here is hearing Bo's gloriously hypnotic guitar work, which chugs along with the power of the Super Chief, and the relentless rhythm poured out by Bo, his guitar foil Norma Jean Wolford (aka the Duchess), maraca man Jerome Green, and a handful of drummers and bassists, with some of the best moments coming in instrumental numbers like "Diddling," "Sad Sack," and the relentless "Give Me a Break." Part of Bo Diddley's brilliance was that he could come up with amazing music like this seemingly at will, and when you can do that, your name really is all the description your records need. Hey Bo Diddley, indeed.

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