Bo Diddley Concert Review

12 Feb

Bo Diddley zoomBo Diddley & group

Ellas Bates McDaniel, also known as Bo Diddley was one of the most important artists to help create the new genre of music called rock & roll out. McDaniel’s first hit was co-written with blues legend, Muddy Waters to establish the connection between blues and the new genre. His career lasted for 60 years until his death in 2008 This is a concert review that I did for Blues Revue/Blueswax 2 years before his death. I also interviewed him and will post that interview in another couple of days.

Bo Diddley & Friends in Concert
Historic Elsinore Theatre
Salem, Oregon
Friday, September 29, 2006

Ruthie Foster #1

Ruthie Foster opened the show a few minutes past 7:30 P.M. Her performance was an acoustic set combining Blues, Folk and Gospel, that included six numbers, including original compositions and selections from Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Odetta. When Alvin Youngblood Hart took the stage, the music tempo went up a notch, as he belted out his brand of rock & blues. He was backed by Tony β€œT” Leindecker, playing incredible lead guitar, Sandy Gennaro pounding the drums, James β€œJimmy” Hinds thumping out electric bass and Scottie Miller playing keyboards.

Alvin Youngblood Hart #1

After a brief intermission, Bo Diddley, the β€œPrime Minister of Rock & Roll”, as Alvin Youngblood Hart called him, took the stage at 9:00 PM. He was backed by Gennaro, Hinds, Leindecker and Miller. The set began with Ellas Bates McDaniel’s first hit, from 1955, that became his moniker. It was released two weeks before β€œBill Haley & the Comets” released Rock Around the Clock, Bo told the crowd. β€œBo Diddley bought his babe a diamond ring” the master began to sing. β€œDearest Darling” followed, which displayed his tender side.

Bo Diddley #1

Between songs Bo talked to the audience. He told the light man to turn up the house lights so he could see who he was talking to. β€œI’ve been in the business 52 years, and I’m not 100 years old like some people say. I’m only 78. My first record was Bo Diddley with I’m A Man on the back.” Then he explained. β€œThe reason why I’m sitting down is because of breaking two bones in my back, and I’ve got diabetes. If your feet start to swell up, go see the doctor, because it ain’t gonna get better.”

Bo and the band dove into I’m A Man, which is credited to co-authorship with Muddy Waters, who released it as Mannish Boy. After completing the song, Bo explained, β€œI’ve changed the lyrics of the song for women, so now the title is Shut Up Woman.” Then he began β€œI’m yours, so you’re mine, so we’re each other’s, so shut up.” Some of the politically correct members of the audience weren’t sure how to react. Tony β€œT” Leindecker provided some great intricate guitar work, behind Bo’s thumping rhythm, as well as an occasional solo.

Bo Diddley #2

β€œBack in 1958,” Bo told the crowd, β€œif you were anybody, you had a 1957 Chevy, with mud flaps and dual exhausts.” Then he continued. β€œI had a 1949 Cadillac.” This was an introduction to I’ve Seen Them All, a litany of major musical artists that he shared the stage with, at some point in his career. Names like, β€œMuddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, Church Berry, the magnificent Elvis Presley, I’ve seen them all and been on the stage with them.” The list went on for another five minutes, including Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Janis Joplin, James Brown, the Rolling Stones, as the crowd was drawn into the frenzy by being encouraged to clap along.

When band began Don’t Be Caught Digging In My Yard, the audience was exposed to some classic double entendre. β€œI’ve got two German Shepherds and a Rottweiler, and I might be coming home early, so don’t be caught digging in my yard.” Roadrunner rounded it out with a few beep beeps, as the band got into a jam, and drove the audience’s adrenalin up.

Bo Diddley & drummer

β€œI’m gonna mess with your head a little bit,” Diddley announced. Then he asked everyone to stand to their feet, and do their own thing. This brought on the opportunity for all those disposed to do so, to shake their booty, or at least tap their foot, as Bo Diddley and company blasted out Wind Me Up. I’m gonna Eat Me a Pig Tonight was performed with a rap like delivery, as the master sang β€œI wanna do it with you”. By this time Ruthie Foster and Alvin Youngblood Hart were on the stage for the grande finale, and less than a minute later, after I got to the balcony and took a few shots of the entire cast, the show was over, the stage was empty and the lights came on.

Bo Diddley & Friends #1


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