Various Artists

Bo Diddley Is a Songwriter [Arc]

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MCA Records, as the successor to Chess Records, may have little interest in doing much with the Bo Diddley catalog, but Arc Music, which publishes a lot of the artist's songs, has no such notions of neglect -- they've put out this first-rate 22-song collection, consisting of recordings of those songs by Bo as well as Koko Taylor, George Thorogood, Cub Koda, Moe Tucker, the New York Dolls, Little Walter, Slo Leak, C.C. Adcock, Tinsley Ellis, and John Hammond -- and any release that puts Bo and Moe on the same CD deserves more than a second look (her rendition of "Crackin' Up" is priceless, and following it with Walter's rendition of "Roller Coaster" is sheer genius, while throwing on the Dolls' version of "Pills" goes right off the scale for inspiration). This CD is not a commercial release but a publisher's sampler, intended to sell interest in the compositions, but for fans of Bo Diddley, Chess Records, or early rock & roll, it's still a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining anthology that ought to make someone at Universal or someplace else start germinating an idea along similar lines.