For the final birthday bash tribute of the year, we honor The Originator: him that started this whole mess in the first place.
There can be arguments and debates about this one or that one and how they helped, but this guy was way in on it all, before there was such a thing as it.
He began as a street performer in 1940s Chicago, and by the time the 1950s began he was beginning to play clubs.
His first recordings followed in 1955, and before too long the hits -- and the style and beat they would come to represent -- had already irrevocably altered the musical DNA of the world.
The influence he came to have over the coming crest of the Rock-n-Roll wave is beyond quantification or estimation.
He schooled groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and a good deal of those folks' early tracks are straight up imitations of the man.
He also discovered Marvin Gaye, who'd been his driver in the late 1950s.
He opened megatours for the likes of The Grateful Dead and The Clash -- to name but two -- and he just about stole the film Trading Places too.
After an over 60 year career moving the ball of modern music, he passed away in 2008, months shy of his 80th birthday.
Which means he'd have been the major milestone 90 today.
He is firmly on the list of musos so significant that not a day goes by on Earth without people getting enjoyment from what he left us, and what the subsequent music folks who absorbed what he had to offer continue to produce under the spell of his uncountable influence.
Bo knew and he still knows. Here, allow me to demonstrate with this: a marathon show from 1996 that clocks in just under four full hours, and is perhaps the single most intimate and indispensable live document of the man in action.
01 unidentified Blues in E
02 unidentified shuffle in B/introduction of Bo Diddley
03 Bo talks back surgery
04 Bo Diddley
05 I'm a Man
06 "Hello There Mister" (unidentified Blues in G)
07 "Why You Dress Like That?" (jam in A)
08 Bo talks mistaken identity & Michigan roots
09 Road Runner
10 Put Your Suitcase Down
11 Bo talks his strict upbringing
12 Bo Diddley Is Crazy
13 Wind Me Up jam
01 unidentified Blues in D
02 unidentified shuffle in E
03 introduction of Bo Diddley
04 "Bud Light" (jam in E)
05 Bo talks back surgery again
06 Bo Diddley
07 I'm Sorry
08 Crackin' Up
09 I'm a Man
10 jam in G
11 Road Runner
12 Bo tells a joke while he changes a string
13 I'm Gonna Get Your Girlfriend
14 Bo Diddley Is Crazy/Wind Me Up jam
Total time: 3:53:15
disc breaks can go after Track 07 in the 1st set and Track 08 in the 2nd set
Bo Diddley - guitar and vocals
Todd Glass - drums
Michael "Mo" Hollis - bass
Tino Gross - guitar
'altheany1' mono soundboard master DAT of damn near the complete show
retracked, volume boosted +2dB throughout, and very slightly tightened up for dead air with dropouts repaired by EN, Dec. 2018
1019 MB FLAC here
This is two gargantuan sets that almost function like a Rock-n-Roll history lesson.
The stories and hilarious asides he provides -- and the fact that he has to be seated because of then-recent, career-threatening back issues, making him oh-so-very-effects-pedal happy -- make this as essential a thing as I've ever posted up here.
The music is beyond shamanic -- almost-trance-inducing, really -- with the Detroit band backing Bo locking into grooves lasting as long as 21 minutes. A good deal of the performance is entirely improvised.
I'll return tomorrow with one last briefcase full of Blues to get the New Year's shindigs properly soundtracked, but take a moment today and realize that none of the music you love would even exist if not for Bo Diddley, ham-bone this day in 1928 and still rockin' 10 years outta here.--J.
12.30.1928 - 6.2.2008