Bo Diddley, one of the most influential rock-and-roll singers, is best known for his blues-strung guitar and R&B style. This particular album spans five years of his contribution to popular music, covering tracks sung from 1955 to 1960.
"I'm A Man", an old classic, is amusing. The harmonica and drums carry the song to its end. "Who Do You Love?" and "Mona (I Need You Baby)" are snappy; the guitar strings are energetically twanged and the pace is smooth. "Dearest Darling" is a spunky love song with notes from the piano tripping away in the background.
"She's Alright" has strong chorus support, and is strung in call-and-response style (where the lead singer calls out a line and has it thrown back at him by a substantial vocal backup). "Say Man" relies on the drums and piano to provide the music to two men talking to each other. "Don't Let It Go (Hold On To What You Got)" sports claps and choral support to Diddley's vocals.
"Road Runner", "Gunslinger" and "Cadillac" have a more polished, studio feel to them. The saxophone in "Cadillac" lends to its richness, and in "Gunslinger", the drums supersede the other accompaniments.
The guitar seems to be a natural extension of this musician who's style is lively and sparkling. While most of his songs seem to have the same beat and rhythm, his lyrics have a popular appeal.This article was first published on 14 Dec 2000.