"This album is almost worth owning just for the cover photo of Bo Diddley and the Duchess, aka Norma-Jean Wofford, each with their axe. What makes it really cool, though, is the music, which is among the best of his 1960s output. "Bo's a Lumberjack" is one of the most ferociously sexual and funny signature songs he ever cut, "(Extra, Read All About It) Ben" is a sort of sideways version of "Say Man," with a rollicking beat and very effective use of piano in the backing band, with a grim subject matter handled in a humorous manner, and "Help Out" is one of his better guitar workouts, with the man getting lots of help from the Duchess. It was records like this that helped keep his reputation alive in England when Americans stopped buying his stuff. "Met You on a Saturday" is an unusual slow, romantic number for him, very much in a late-'50s style that was probably a few years late to capture anyone's imagination. Other material, like "Diana" (a reworking of "Hey Bo Diddley") and "Little Girl" are less compelling but still solid rock & roll, as are "Gimme Gimme," "Same Old Thing," "Met You on a Saturday," "Put the Shoes on Willie" (written by Earl Hooker), and "Pretty Girl." The latter has a great chorus, and turned up in the repertories of several British Invasion bands." -- Bruce Eder
Diddley, Bo - Bo Diddley & Company - New LP
New. European pressing from Wax Love, reissue of 1962 Chess release.
"Bo Diddley was one of the founders of the form -- and he did it like no other. Diddley had only one real style, that being the Bo Diddley beat: a syncopated, rhythmic drive, loaded with tremolo. There are 12 examples of it on this record, and that is about all you need. It's one of those records that, after listening to just a few cuts, will find you tapping the beats on every available surface. Diddley's guitar and vocals have a gruff feeling that recalls bluesmen such as Waters, yet he has his own style. Buttressed by drums, funky piano, and usually maracas, it's absolutely infectious. This is one of the greatest rock sounds that you're likely to hear, and it's all on this one record." -- Matthew Greenwald