Hey Bo Diddly! Sorry sir but Mr McDaniel has cashed his final check and we will be taking his number from our directory pending recycling after a set period. Well damn, they took another player from our team and a good one too. Bo Diddly dead at 79. Elias McDaniel was a man of driven to perform and if he had an audience, so much the better. Part comedian, part performance artist, part blues man and full on innovator it's easy to fool yourself into thinking the the Bo Diddly Beat defined the man. Then you listen to some of his hits like "Can't tell a Book..." and "I'm a man" and find it missing then you got to admit the guy was a lot more than "Shave and a Hair Cut." No two bit flash. Nope you got to put Bo in there with Chuck Berry as a sort of proto- music gangster who just did what the hell he wanted and let the DJs and record companies sort it out. I remember big sister going to see Bo Diddly at Virginia Beach way back in the early 60s when concerts were not really the thing yet. I waited up to hear about it. "Well," she said "a bunch of colored men put up a whole lot of speakers and it was really loud" (Sister seemed a little dazed) "Well was it good?" I demanded "We all danced"- "I'm going to bed" I had the information I required. Really, were it not for my older sister and her friends who turned me on to people like Jimmy Reed, and Mose Alison and Yank Rachel, I might still be sitting on a stool framming on a folk guitar stuck in the theory of relative minor. But I was very lucky indeed to be propelled toward the type of music where one was required to say a lot by doing very little and if I did not develop a whole lot of soul, I sure learned to spot it.
Now the people who let me see what was good and worthy in music are dropping out as quietly as springs passing blooms and I'm sad from the stand point that before long I'll go too. We get older and pretend that life's end is just another bump in the road. Don't believe it. We are but a collection of clockwork, fast and slow and will go to great length to draw out the cosmic tic and tock until our walls fall in. It is man's great desire to live, so to have lived well should indeed make us complete. Oddly that doesn't always seem to work because for all the honors Bo Diddly received, at the end he chose to bitch and moan about people stealing his style when they were only flattering his memory. All I can advise is try to work those grudges out before your walls of time fall in on you, and seee that your grave is kept clean.