Update 02/23/2009: It has come to my attention that Hip-O Select is in the process of releasing every master that Bo Diddley recorded. In 2007, they released the first volume: I'm A Man: The Chess Masters (1955-1958). In 2008, they released the second volume: Road Runner: The Chess Masters (1959-1960). Needless to say, these remastered limited edition releases are comprehensive and contain more tracks with much better sound quality. Consequently, I'm removing the share. Somebody is finally doing the legend Bo Diddley justice! Go buy them and support their good work!
Bo Diddley is a musical icon. While he didn't have many hits, the music that he produced throughout the 50s and 60s was crucial in the evolution of rock 'n' roll. Best known for popularizing what became known as "the Bo Diddley beat," Bo created a varied catalog of music that blends Blues, R&B and Rock into something unique. I feel his best and most primal material appears on his first two LPs. These tracks are not just golden classics, they are absolutely essential.
I remember back in 1987, I'd just bought my first CD player and had it hooked up to my boom box. I overheard a kid in my High School Earth Science class raving about this Little Richard CD he'd just bought. He couldn't stop talking about how cool the music was and how good it sounded. I remember thinking that there was so much cool music from the 50s and 60s that I really knew very little about. I was a fan of Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles (still am) but that was about all I knew. I decided then and there that I was going to go out and buy something cool. Back then, the CD section at the "record store" was pretty meager. I can remember holding that Bo Diddley twofer in my hands and thinking how cool it looked and how it was such a good deal because it contained two full LPs. I bought it and a 1000+ CDs later it's still one of my favorites.
Things were different back then. Singles basically drove the music industry and "albums" were usually a compilation of singles tracks with possibly a few unreleased studio tracks tacked on as filler. Hmmn, now that I think of it, maybe things haven't changed in popular music that much after all...
This budget "two on one" CD is a collectible now. In presenting this here, I thought it would be sensible to try to re-arrange the tracks from the haphazard method used (the same take of "Dearest Darling" appears on both albums) to a chronological one. BO DIDDLEY - The Originator is Bo's official site and has a comprehensive singles discography. I ended up using tracks from this CD and a few compilation discs (Rare & Well Done and The Chess Box, plus "Cops and Robbers" from I'm a Man, a 160kbps track I grabbed using eMule). This is a comprehensive two album collection that is a nearly complete collection of all the music Bo released in that time period. I say "nearly" because I was unable to find the original single version of "Say Man, Back Again," as it doesn't appear to have ever been issued on CD. We'll have to make due with the Alternate Take version. As this track is the weakest of the bunch, we're probably not missing much.
Because this is a compilation of tracks from different CDs mastered at different times, I wanted the overall audio levels to be consistent. The Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley CD is the oldest and the levels were low and inconsistent, so I maximized the volume of each track to 98% during the conversion from .wav to .mp3. After ripping and compiling, I dropped both folders into MP3Gain 1.3.4 and changed the audio volume of each song to "track volume" and then boosted the group of tracks by 3dB, the maximized level before clipping.
Check out this raucous live clip of Bo Diddley (and the Bo-ettes!) performing "Hey! Bo Diddley" and "Bo Diddley" on The Big TNT Show in 1966:
Think of this as the collection Geffen Records should release; it has the 23 tracks on the two LPs, with 18 bonus tracks, all arranged so that it can be heard in the order it was all originally recorded and released. If you'd prefer to listen to the straight LP versions, check out the original track order at freedb.org.
Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley (1958)
From Bo Diddley 7" (Checker 814) (1955):
1. Bo Diddley (2:26)
2. I'm a Man (2:43)
3. I'm a Man (Alternate Take) (3:02)
From Diddley Daddy 7" (Checker 819) (1955):
4. Diddley Daddy (2:25)
5. She's Fine, She's Mine (2:39)
From Pretty Thing 7" (Checker 827) (1955):
6. Pretty Thing (2:42)
7. Bring It to Jerome (2:24)
8. Bring It to Jerome (Alternate Take) (2:38)
9. Heart-O-Matic Love (2:44)
From Diddy Wah Diddy 7" (Checker 832) (1956):
10. Diddy Wah Diddy (2:27)
11. I'm Looking for a Woman (2:31)
From Who Do You Love? 7" (Checker 842) (1956):
12. Who Do You Love? (2:26)
13. I'm Bad (3:13)
From Cops and Robbers 7" (Checker 850) (1956):
14. Cops and Robbers (3:25)
15. Down Home Special (3:10)
From Hey! Bo Diddley 7" (Checker 860) (1957):
16. Hey! Bo Diddley (2:09)
17. Mona (I Need You Baby) (2:19)
From Say Boss Man 7" (Checker 878) (1957):
18. Say Boss Man (2:29)
19. Before You Accuse Me (3:03)
From Hush Your Mouth 7" (Checker 896) (1958):
20. Hush Your Mouth (2:48)
21. Dearest Darling (2:47)
22. Hush Your Mouth (Alternate Take) (3:03)
23. Dearest Darling (Alternate Take) (3:14)
Bo Diddley - Go Bo Diddley (1959)
From Willie and Lillie 7" (Checker 907) (1958):
1. Willie and Lillie (2:13)
2. Bo Meets the Monster (3:03)
From I'm Sorry 7" (Checker 914) (1958):
3. I'm Sorry (2:22)
4. Oh Yeah (3:04)
From Crackin' Up 7" (Checker 924) (1959):
5. Crackin' Up (2:02)
6. The Great Grandfather (2:25)
From Say Man 7" (Checker 931) (1959):
7. Say Man (3:08)
8. Clock Strikes Twelve (2:53)
From Say Man, Back Again 7" (Checker 936) (1959):
9. She's Alright (4:00)
10. Say Man, Back Again (Alternate Take) (3:01)
11. She's Alright (Undubbed) (4:19)
From Go Bo Diddley LP (1959):
12. Bo's Guitar (2:30)
13. You Don't Love Me (You Don't Care) (2:44)
14. Don't Let It Go (Hold On to What You Got) (2:38)
15. Little Girl (2:30)
16. Little Girl (Alternate Take) (2:34)
17. Spend My Life with You (2:34)
18. Blues Blues (2:53)
Please Read This First!
The out-of-print albums that I post here are available for free! For many years, I used Megaupload to store my shares, but with their recent demise, I have switched to using MediaFire instead. If one of the shares is unavailable, please leave a comment requesting it and I'll re-upload it as soon as I can. If you have any problems, feel free to email me and I'll do my best to help!