Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Heart of Rock and Soul # 490 Bo Diddley

'If there'd been rock critics in 1959 and one of them had written of Bo Diddley as 'Rock and Roll Future' he'd have been a prophet worth following at least as far as the nearest race track, For thirty years later with the preeminence of rap and heavy metal, Bo is now the present.

How did it come to pass that the most primitive of all the creators of fifties rock remained influential for so long? well, first of all, we live in a beat-crazed age, and the Bo Diddley beat is an irreducible statement of rock and roll. Speed it up or slow it down and the sledgehammer accent menaces just the same. And then there's the lyrics, Say Man is not only a rap, but as a variation on the dangerous game of street insults called the dozens, it's the original dis. Not many rappers can get away with jokes this old, ('You that thing I throw peanuts at!') but few would have the audacity to so baldly characterize the ugliness of a pal's girlfriend to his very face, Much less the ability to insist on their roots in South America, and mean Texas.'

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