And if that diamond ring don’t shine: Incredibly Strange Bo Diddley cover…


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This came in a collection of 45s I recently picked up. If ever there was a “Golden Turkey”, it is this. An instant classic.

“Bo Diddley” is a rhythm and blues and rock and roll song first recorded and sung by Bo Diddley at the Universal Recording Studio in Chicago and released on the Chess Records subsidiary, Checker Records in 1955. It became an immediate hit single that stayed on the R&B charts for a total of 18 weeks, 2 of those weeks at #1, and seven more weeks than its flipside (the B-side, “I’m a Man”). It was the first recording to introduce African rhythms into rock and roll directly by using the patted juba beat. It was Bo Diddley’s first recording and his first hit single. The song is featured on many of Bo Diddley’s compilation albums including His Best.

In 2012 the A and B-side pair were added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry list of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” American sound recordings.

The song is rhythmically similar to hambone, a technique of dancing and slapping various parts of the body to create a rhythm and song. It is lyrically similar to the traditional lullaby “Hush Little Baby”. When Bo Diddley started playing with it, his electric guitar amplified the patted juba with his backup musicians on maracas and drums unifying the rhythm. This combination of rock and roll, African rhythms and sactified guitar chord shouts was a true innovation and is often called a Bo Diddley Beat.

He first titled his version “Uncle John” but before he recorded it, he changed the title to his own nickname Bo Diddly, with an “e” added to the song’s title and his professional name by one of the Chess brothers.

Other Cover Versions:

.Buddy Holly: Single by Buddy Holly from the album Reminiscing
B-side “It’s Not My Fault” Released 1963. Recorded 1956 and 1962 at Norman Petty Recording Studios in Clovis, New Mexico. Buddy Holly recorded the song in 1956, but it was not released until the LP Reminiscing in 1963 and later became a single release. Buddy Holly on vocals/guitar and Jerry Allison on drums recorded “Bo Diddley” at one of their earliest sessions with producer/engineer Norman Petty at his recording studio in Clovis, New Mexico sometime in 1956. In 1962 Norman Petty overdubbed the demo of “Bo Diddley”, as well as others, with the Fireballs.

.The Shadows did a (vocal) cover version on the album Out of the Shadows (1962).

.It was also covered by The Animals in 1964.

.Bob Seger performed the song in a medley with Who Do You Love?, another Bo Diddley song, under the title “Bo Diddley.” The original studio recording, backed by Teegarden & Van Winkle, opens Seger’s 1972 album Smokin’ O.P.’s, and a live version with the Silver Bullet Band appears on his 1976 live album, Live Bullet.

.An energetic version by Janis Joplin is available on the 1999 box set Box of Pearls.

.More recently, steel guitar great Robert Randolph has covered the song at some of his live shows.

.The song was performed by a supergroup consisting of Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Little Walter on Super Blues in 1967.

.The Grateful Dead performed it with Bo Diddley himself at the Academy of Music in New York City, March 25, 1972. They went on to perform it by themselves, May 23, 1972 at the Strand Lyceum in London, England, the third to last show in their 1972 European tour. See the officially released Steppin’ Out with the Grateful Dead.

And in case you have never heard the original, here it is, played out on youtube on an original 78 RPM from 1955 on the Chess Records subsidiary, Checker Records.

The Moonlight Lounge: Al Castellanos

The Moonlight Lounge was so much fun when it was a part of my old Moonlight Radio on-line jukebox, that I decided to resurrect it here in Jukebox Heart and keep its old name. This new category can best be described as “all things fabulous,” but if you need more detail than that, you can expect the kitsch end of the spectrum, with music from artists such as Arthur Lyman, Martin Denny, Hugo Winterhalter, Martin Bottcher, among others. Representative genres may be Cheesey EZ Listening, old soundtracks, ping-pong percussion, and general thrift-store stock. It’ll be fun, trust us…

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We start of The Moonlight Lounge with a record that has become something of a family heirloom, and it will make you want to break out your smoking jacket or cha-cha heels. Or both. *wink*. “The Speak-Up Mambo (Cuentame)” was Al Castellanos’ first big hit with New York’s premier Latin music imprint, Mardi Gras. It was a precursor to his great tongue-twister (or speed vocal), “Merengue Ta-Ka-Ta”. The Speak Up album came a few years later, see the image below, and is one the label’s best, collecting many the orchestra’s 45s. Castellanos does equally well with cha cha chas (check out ‘Together 1-2-3’ if you ever come across that record!), mambos, and merengues in equal parts. Covered by (at least) the Manhattan Transfer and Brave Combo, this is a classic, and the best version, in my opinion, is this original. The LP was remastered and released by Fania in 2000, after being out of print for over 40 years.

Sing along, if you please: (It’s infectious. Try it…)

IOA IOAE, IOA IOAE (Pronounced e-oh-ah, e-oh-ah-a)

Cuentame que te paso
Cuentame que te paso

Que estaba alla en la playa
Recorriendo las aguaritas
Y vino una abejita y me pico ay ay!

Cuentame que te paso
Cuentame que te paso

Yo me saque la loteria
Corriendo fui de romeria
Y fue alli donde to el dinero perderi

Pero las dos vienen las dos pao pao

Pao pao pao pao pao (chiquita)
Pao pao pao pao pao (senorita)
Pao pao pao pao pao

Pero las dos vienen la colococota
E La la la la la la la la la pao pao

Pao pao pao pao pao (chiquita)
Pao pao pao pao pao (senorita)
Pao pao pao pao pao