on September 13, 2008
This is the second volume of Hip-O-Select's (hopefully) complete review of Bo's incredible output from the late 50's, into the 60's (and maybe the 70's?). The first set was released earlier this year and is called "Bo Diddley - "I'm A Man / The Chess Masters, 1955-1958". That was a two CD set covering every recorded track from 1955-1958 and this set picks up with 1959 and covers tracks recorded into early 1960. Obviously the first set is a bit stronger as it contained all of the classic early tracks like "I'm A Man", "Bo Diddley" etc.. but in some ways this set is almost more fun and interesting. I say that because those earlier tracks have been released a thousand times and this set includes some fantastic tracks that have not had the airplay and as many different releases that the earlier tracks have. There are some incredible tracks that have been unavailable (in the U.S at least) for several years and only available as imports with fairly poor sound and no sense of order.
This set (along with the first) have all the masters with very nice sound and an abundance of alternate versions including some rough demos and studio chatter that just makes it a great - 5 star release.
Bo's 1959 and early '60 tracks are every bit as good as the 1955 stuff and in fact he began branching out with some beautiful ballads and different rhythms. Pick up this set (and the earlier one if you don't have it) as it is some of the most important music of Rock's early years.
Both sets include nice booklets with an essay about Bo and track by track recording data.
I believe they are both limited editions also - limited to pressings of 5000 each.
on January 2, 2010
Bo Diddley - a true musical original and a man whose recordings from circa 1955 - 1963 I'd buy without a moment's hesitation regardless of such niceties as sound quality or finished product. Fortunately with this expansive and completist overview of two of his peak years, there's no danger of recieving anything resembling sub-par material. Everything here is a blinder.
These discs capture Bo's musical progress from around the time of "Have Gun..." and "...Spotlight". Bo's "jungle" rhythms, psycho-tremolo-pulses and madcap humour are surely bound to enchant any aficionado of old-time R & B, rockabilly, doo wop and associated styles. This set includes all his well-known material from '59/'60 plus many alternate takes many of which have not seen the light of day till now. Of particular interest are Bo's home recordings from around 1960. During this period, Diddley had constructed his own home studio and was using this new environment to pursue a direction of rampant experimentation. These home recordings are presented here in their pre-mixed form, i.e. vocals out of one channel, music out of the other. The end effect is totally weird and "out there" particularly via headphones. Although Bo's music is rootsy, earthy and full of mud, here his sound actually transports you to another place. I sure hope we get more of these on the next outing. Worth the price of entry alone.
Sonically, I would describe the sound of this CD as warm and growly. It's a very well-mastered CD that accurately captures the characteristics of Bo's music. But don't expect it to reach the lofty heights of the original vinyl. I have mono first pressings of both "...Spotlight" and "Bo Diddley Is A Lover" and you just cannot replicate the THUMP of the old analog recordings with digital (not any digital I've heard, at least)
Still, it's not that far off, certainly not enough to distract from musical pleasure. Plus you get tracks you never had before and liner notes by people who know what they are talking about with interesting technical detail and stuff.
If more CDs like this were made, the downloading revolution wouldn't stand a chance. On the other hand, now that the CD era is coming to an end, perhaps now we may start to see more and more interesting items like the one here.
If that's the case, long may the downloading revolution reign!
on February 25, 2011
For those who can't get enough of the now famous beat. There's plenty here and maybe for those who want to draw the direct link from some of Bo's guitar duels w/ fellow gunslinger Peggy Jones (see "Mumblin' Guitar" from v.2 "Roadrunner..." comp. and you'll swear you were listening to the Velvet Underground live in 69). What's surprising here is the number of good pop songs (not to mention the straight blues songs: "Look at My Baby"), including doo wop--Bo could sing and was correct in voicing his opinion that he never received his due. I count 21 great tracks in this the first volume, "I'm a Man: The Chess Masters....However, I count 20 great cuts from the third volume, "Ride On: The Chess Masters..., and a mere 13 from the second volume, "Roadrunner: The Chess Masters....The percussive, rhythmic influence are astounding. Here is a list of tunes not to miss from the 3 volumes(and note, I did not include the more obvious hits): Spanish Guitar, Bring It to Jerome, Hush Your Mouth, I Love You So, Crackin' Up, Scuttle Bug, Gun Slinger, Hey, Hey (What Are You Going To Do?), All Together, Mess Around, Doodlin', Is A Lover, Congo, Mama Mia, Mumblin' Guitar, I Love You So, Gonna Tell It Like It Is, Cadillac, Limbo, Let Me In, Little Girl, You Don't Love Me (You Don't Care), She's Fine, She's Mine, I'm Looking for a Woman, I'm Bad, Say Boss Man, Bo's Guitar, Willie and Lillie, Live My Life, Walkin' And Talkin', Mule Train, Say You Will, Somewhere , Huckleberry Bush, Shank, Love Is A Secret, Come On Baby, Nursery Rhyme, The Story Of Bo Diddley, Spend My Life With You, Willie Fell In Love, Look At My Baby, I Love You So, Crackin' Up, Willie Fell In Love, Look At My Baby
*Most of these you can dance to.