Bo Diddley

Hey Bo Diddley/In Concert

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Bo's music was beginning to slip in sales -- though he remained a popular concert act, as captured on the second half of this two-fer from the Aim label -- when Chess released Hey Bo Diddley in the summer of 1962. "I Can Tell," awritten by Samuel Smith, showed Bo trying out a slower, more seductively soulful sound, a whole four and a half minutes long -- it is different, though not very distinguished. "Bo's Twist" isn't much more impressive, a fairly standard instrumental with an unusually grungy (like you were expecting Julian Bream) guitar sound, with the first prominent appearance of an organ in the backing of a Bo Diddley record; "Sad Sack" is a somewhat more successful instrumental. "Mr. Kruschev" is one of the funniest, most delightfully nonsensical pieces of topical songwriting Bo ever engaged in, writing about wanting to go into the army and go over to see the Soviet leader and get him to stop nuclear testing, to a background of "Hut, two--three four!" "You All Green" is first-rate Bo, and deserved to be anthologized somewhere. "You Can't Judge a Book By the Cover" was the one standard from the album, but other tracks deserving of better exposure include "Bo's Bounce" and "Who May Your Lover Be," which takes off from Howlin' Wolf's "Moaning At Midnight," recasting it in a Bo Diddley beat with Bo sounding a lot like Wolf, and "Give Me A Break (Man)," a very animated impromptu guitar jam. The album filler tracks include "Mama Don't Allow No Twistin'" is Bo's take on "Mama Don't Like Music," a song that was old when country-and-western/novelty singer Smiley Burnette covered it successfully in the 1930s, "Babes In the Woods" (featuring a backing chorus mimicking the doo-wop parody "Get A Job") and "Diddling" is a routine Bo instrumental.