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Excellent! Bo Diddley with help from his friends
R. Serpico | St. Paul, MN United States | 08/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Good mix of blues,rock and even a bit of hip hop. Bo's best studio album from the 90's! Guests on this cd include Ron Wood, Keith Richards, and many others. Why is this now out of print? Buy it used from Amazon!"
Bo Diddley Let Loose
J P Ryan | Waltham, Massachusetts United States | 04/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The opening track of Bo Diddley's underrated 1996 CD "A Man Amongst Men" is called "Bo Diddley Is Crazy," and if the man who brought primal ooze to the Creation of rock 'n' roll still doesn't get the attention of (to name the most obvious), "the King", its at least in part because Mr. Diddley's as unreconstructed as they come. Check the footage of Bo playing "Who Do You Love" with the Stones in 1995, flanked by Ron Wood and Keith Richards. Bo first toured with these guys in 1963, yet as they pay close attention to cues from this genius, icon, and innovator whose work is part of the Stones' DNA, you can't help but notice that they still can't predict when he'll erupt with a sudden flurry of rusty barbed-wire guitar. The cliche is that Bo brought that shave-and-a-haircut rhythm to the teen riot structure, but that's reductive in the extreme - for his rhythms are never that simple (and reward close attention), and he is an innovator on too levels to be pigeonholed - as sonic visionary, his homemade electric guitars buzzed and sputtered with visceral force and menace or shrieked like Johnny Thunders' subway train, often while Jerome Green's maracas sizzled up top; furthermore he recorded at his home studio long before younger, more compensated rock'n'rollers dreamed of such a thing. With the emphasis on layred, intricate rhythm patterns he was a funk godfather, and from the start conciously strove for something primal and cathartic, a direct link to what he calls the "shout" mode, the very embodiment of "jungle music"....And, he was unique in working with a series of fine women musicians at a time when girls with guitars were virtually unheard of. Bo's claim to immortality rests with a series of superb singles and albums made between the time he was signed to Chess early in 1955 and the coming of the British Invasion bands who idolized him (besides the Stones, there are The Yardbirds, Pretty Things, Who, and countless others, and much later The Clash invited him to open their 1979 debut tour of the USA).
From the mid-60s on, of course, Chess was more interested in the emerging soul market, and was guilty of trying to "update" its roster of middle-aged geniuses for the youth market. Bo Diddley made some strong, and always singular records, but his fat years were past. "A Man Amongst Men" is an attempt to set Bo loose in the studio minus psychedelia, wah-wah pedals, or covers of The Band and Creedence classics. UK producer Mike Vernon understands the artist, and helps make a record that strives for a timeless aspect, albeit one rather padded with Big Names. Bo is reunited with greats like Billy Boy Arnold and Johnnie Johnson from Chess' golden era, and longtime friends Ron Wood (especially) and Keith Richards are neither fawning nor overpowering. Even (Yikes!) Bon Jovi's Richie Sombora doesn't get in the way of what is a slightly uneven but frequently strong blues/Bo album. "...Is Crazy" is terrific, in the tradition of such gems as "Cookie Headed Diddley," There are two or three solid blues grooves, cut with a competent rhythm section. The best tracks are with Wood, who toured with Bo during the late '80s. "I Can't Stand It" is such succulant funk a la "Hey Negrita" from "Black And Blue" that one wishes Vernon didn't cut the track (supposedly it ran on for over ten minutes) down to 5:17. And "Oops! Bo Diddley" and the title track feature Wood's super, sympathetic and slippery guitar stylings. The low point here is "Philosopher G.'s" (Bo's son) weak rap track ("Kids Don't Do It" - guess what 'it' is), but you can skip over it and enjoy what is the best Bo Diddley album in several decades, now sadly out of print but available at a price no fan can resist."
Rick D. Bayne | 12/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With solid production and his lusty voice still bellowing at its best, this is prime Bo Diddley -even if the man was aged about 70 when he recorded it.