Bo Diddley is seen as one of the early pioneers of Blues-based Rock and Roll music. Although back in the 1950s Rock and Roll was just getting started, he made music that although has been frequently overlooked, is essential history. Many bands, such as The Rolling Stones and many others took influences from them, particularly early onwards. Taking his name from an unusual and unique instrument, this should be an exciting listen. This is his debut album, comprising of some singles by Bo Diddley reissued in an album format. Let’s hear it.
Bo Diddley is the mission statement. It begins with nice electric guitar and maracas, with some good blues style guitar and singing. This is fairly dated stylistically, but musically, this is impressive. It is a good tune that is instantly recognisable and catchy, and it sounds very exciting and decent. There is a rhythmic guitar solo section present, with some interesting basic guitar effects on it. A clever and decent piece of music with references to romanticism lyrically, this is a good start to this album. Short, at two and a half minutes long, but definitely a good listen.
I’m A Man goes into a slow blues classic with harmonica and it has been covered many times throughout musical history. It relies upon a synchronised rhythm, but the piece is very good musically and vocally as well. Bo Diddley sings and plays with passion throughout, and sings about sexual passion. A really great piece, the harmonica present in this song is unique and beautiful. An undeniable classic of a song Blues song, this is a really short but enjoyable tune. Instead of a guitar solo are some brief harmonies, before this song goes into the outro. Nice work.
Bring It To Jerome is an upbeat tune with some dual vocals and an upbeat feel to this song. A really cool tune, this is music that has some great simplicity and lovely listening to it. Fairly repetitive, but a good song about said Jerome bringing women over to his place for you-know-what. A decent and fairly beautiful listen, there is a very good harmonica solo in the latter part of the song to complete this unique tune. Great.
Before You Accuse Me (Take A Look At Yourself) begins with some gorgeous lead guitar playing, before launching into a good and simple tune about comparisons of one’s love life. It is interesting to listen to about troubles in romance, and it is also supported by a traditional 12 bar blues listening experience in a Rock and Roll context. In the middle is a very pretty and clean Blues guitar solo that hits the spot. A very powerful and unique piece of music, this sounds sweet and interesting vocally and lyrically. Short, at just over three minutes long, this is a good lesson in life set to music. The guitar at the end is great.
Hey! Bo Diddley arrives next, and it has a gigantic and quick drumbeat, with some fast guitar work thrown into the mix as well. This is another old fashioned piece of romance that sounds powerful and interesting, and it is an excellent listen from start to finish. Very catchy and fast-paced listening that is a great musical statement, this is a tremendous musical effort. Fantastic song, all the way to the end. The best two minute 1950s song you could ask for.
Dearest Darling begins with some lovely acoustic guitar, before launching into an upbeat ballad that sounds very deep, soulful and catchy. It has some gorgeous piano and rhythms throughout, and Bo Diddley wails away in a deep and emotional way. This was the era of pure instrumental performance and singing, and this is evidence of that. A very great and upbeat listening experience, this sounds really interesting and swell. Bo Diddley sings his guts out over some great piano and pounding drums throughout this song, and it is a simple, yet impressive listening experience. A really cool listen from start to finish.
Hush Your Mouth begins with some clean electric guitar, pounding drum beats that are almost like breakbeats and some upbeat piano. It quickly launches into a piece that is very groove-based and has Bo Diddley screaming his guts out. A very decent listen, this is a reassurance to a lover that things will be okay, as long as one keeps quiet, so to speak. There is a really good guitar solo present as well, which is different and interesting. Really awesome listening, this is a good and upbeat tune.
Say! Boss Man begins with a lot slower tempo and has some call-and-response vocals throughout. It’s a tale of misery and poverty set to music and sounds decent and a little humourous. This music is very pure and listenable and just sounds very classy for 1950s music. There is some very good upbeat piano soloing in the second half before Bo Diddley continues to wail away. Another good tune for the time, this is a good musical statement. The fade-out is very good.
Diddley Daddy begins with a fairly catchy guitar riff, before launching into a rather cool piece of music that has some very old fashioned vocals. It is a simple piece of music, with a harmonica solo that is really gorgeous throughout. A very good and upbeat piece of music that sounds very iconic, it is a totally different listening experience from the mainstream postmodern music of today. The vocals are the centrepiece of this song, all the way to the end. Decent.
Diddy Wah Diddy is not about the video game character Diddy Kong. Instead, it is a fairly slow and interesting piece with slow guitars and a more gentle rhythm throughout. The guitar playing here is quite outstanding, and although this song is a mainstream piece for the time, it still retains its quality. A very nice and genuinely good tune, this points back to the romanticism of early Rock and Roll music. A gentle and cool listen.
Who Do You Love comes next, and it is a more breezy and upbeat listening experience. It is one of the more recognisable tunes by Bo Diddley, and one can hear why upon listening. An impressive and catchy tune, this sounds really driven and upbeat. A really great and fine listen, this is a really awesome and driven piece with a scorching guitar solo. Catchy and great, this is worth hearing for sure. A good piece to listen to if nostalgia strikes. A different listen for sure.
Pretty Thing begins with some excellent electric guitar work, followed by percussion and rolling tom-tom beats. This is another improvement of a song, and it sounds very cool and casual. A very nice and interesting listening experience, this is good old fashioned Rock and Roll music. The harmonica throughout is searing and really good to listen to. It’s a romantic piece that sounds very good. Nice tune, it is about eternal love. Good ending to this mishmash album, the outro is awesome.
To be fair, this music has not dated that well in comparison to other Rock and Roll acts out there. It lacks some significant magic compared to other releases of the time (and afterwards). Don’t dismiss this all the same, yet the songs present here have been covered better elsewhere and although it is good, it is just not great listening. All the same, it’s worth exploring if you ever feel like it, but even so, it’s not overly great. Still, it was the 1950s after all.
Good work for all its faults.