Sunday, 17 May 2015

Bo Diddley's "Down Home Special" - why does nobody tell me about these things?

I was reading a book about great guitarists the other day which mentioned a 1956 Bo Diddley number called "Down Home Special". As I'd never heard of it, I called it up on YouTube. It is utterly magnificent. In fact, I knew it well enough to sing along - but I'm almost certain I'd never heard Bo's version, even though he composed it, and even though I'm pretty much au fait with the Great Man's oeuvre. But, then, which version of it do I know so well? The internet isn't much help. Answers on a postcard please. Take a listen:

Lord, that's good!

There's another Bo Diddley-penned song I'd never previously heard performed by the man himself - possibly because his original 1956 version wasn't released at the time. It's "Love is Strange", which, of course, was a hit for Mickey and Sylvia and, later, for the Everly Brothers. I may once have known that Elias Otha Bates (his real name) wrote this pop masterpiece - but, if I did, I'd forgotten the fact. To be honest, the two abovementioned covers are better, but it's still worth a listen:

I suspect his outlandish guitars and LPs with titles like Bo Diddley Sells Life Insurance might have tended to obscure just how extraordinarily talented he was.

1 comment:

  1. Gene Vincent - 1961 - that's the version of "Down Home Special" I'm familiar with (he called it "I'm Goin' Home"). Came to me as I was putting out the rubbish. Available here: