Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Bo Diddley - The Bo Diddley Boxdotdotdotdot
artworkEvery one decides for themselves where things begin and end. In my book, rock n roll began with Bo Diddley in 1955 on the day he stopped breaking bottles against the ally wall of the Chess Studios in Chicago, and took his street-corner band inside to cut Bo Diddley. Among the many tracks Bo cut over his 40+ year career are a handful of spectacular instros, including The Clock Strikes Twelve, and Aztec. Bo is a true rock n roll original. The book that comes with this box set is stuffed with great photos and infinite details about the sessions. Incidentally, Bo's name comes from the Mississippi child's instrument made from a string or line nailed to the side of the house, stretched out, and played like a wash tub bass. It was called a Diddley Bow!
Picks: The Clock Strikes Twelve, Mumblin' Guitar, Aztec, Untitled Instrumental

Track by Track Review


The Clock Strikes Twelve dotdotdotdot
Bowed Bass Dirge (Instrumental)

This amazing track was issued in 1958 as the B-side of Say Man. It features Bo Diddley playing bowed upright bass as the lead instrument, and a very dark almost dirge ambiance decades ahead of it's time. A very cool track - no surf, not even guitar, but what a monster.

Mumblin' Guitar dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

From 1959, this track is a fast track Bo Diddley beat instro, with the lead guitar using a tremolo and mean tone everywhere. Bo is using some sort of Magic Bag technology that gives the guitar notes his words... a very strange track just waiting for the surf to find it. Very cool.

Aztec dotdotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of those wonderful fifties tunes Bo Diddley created that woulda-coulda been a surf monster if picked up by the right band. The vibrato guitar and swooping slides are spectacular. Any intro fan should have this, and besides, who is more important to guitar rock than Bo Diddley. Peggy (Jones) Malone a.k.a. Lady Bo played lead guitar on "Aztec." Recorded in 1961.

Untitled Instrumental dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This 1961 Previously unreleased instro is a shimmering track, melodic and pretty, with the tremolo effect set at warble on Bo's guitar. This straddles the fence between rock and MOR, being infectious, very well written, and smooth, yet clearly Bo Diddley magic. His use of harmonics predates nearly all other artists. Great track.