David M. Riley

Music

Bo Diddley Rides Again

Bo Diddley is one of the key players in the development of rock n’ roll.  His signature beat influenced almost everyone who has come along since the mid-50s.  Rolling Stone magainze says, “To use the word “influenced” is an under-statement to describe the effect of Diddley’s first half-dozen singles and careening performances on rock music.”

And that “Bo Diddley Beat,” the hard-driving five accented sound based on an Afro-Cuban rhythm can be heard on dozens of famous rock songs by Buddy Holly, the Stones, Springsteen, and even Bow Wow.

Shortly after Diddley died in 2008, American musicologist and author Ned Sublette said, “Cubans play it straight, boom, boom, boom.  Bo Diddley swung it, boom, boom, boom.  He played it like an African-American.  It was also hambone, but it was neither.  It was the Bo Diddley beat by the time – and he never played it the same way twice.”

Well, here’s some music I put together the other night… it didn’t start out like this but at one point I thought it was sounding a little Bo Diddleyish and I went all the way, as sort of a tribute to a great innovator.

Hope you like it.

Christmastime is Here Again

Yep, the most wonderful time of the year has fallen upon us once more.  To get into the spirit, here’s The King of Rock n Roll, Elvis singing “Blue Christmas.”  Now this was recorded at one of the warm-up sessions prior to the taping of The King’s 1968 “comeback” television special.  Elvis was reunited with his original band and they went through a number of songs together.  The idea was that since Elvis had not performed in pubic for many years, this would help get him back into the swing of things.  If you watch the entire session, you will notice how restrained Elvis feels.  He wants to get up and rock out but there’s no strap for the guitar, the microphone can’t be raised high enough… Elvis is stuck sitting down when all he really wants to do is get up and swivel those hips.  Stuck in Colonel Parker’s prison where he’d remain, a caricature of himself, for the rest of his life.  Kinda sad, but Merry Christmas anyway.