Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Get on Down With Big Bad Bo!

Bo Diddley - Stop the Pusher

The late Bo Diddley's '70s recordings for Chess did not escalate the rock-n-roll pioneer to the levels of fame he enjoyed back in the '50s; to be frank, they were not well-received at the time, as was the case for most of Chess Records' experiments in "modernizing" the sound of their older stars. Fortunately for us soul fans, Bo was better at "giving up the funk" than Muddy Waters or Howlin' Wolf were, and now albums like Black Gladiator, Another Dimension and Big Bad Bo, from which today's selection comes, are viewed as funky masterpieces.

The funky "Stop the Pusher" features a bumping groove accompanied by good horn work. Bo, for his part, does a great job with the anti-drug lyrics. "The only way to hurt the pusher is don't buy - and the pusher will die," Bo intones, with some nice background help (overdubs maybe?) on the last part of the line. In the coda, Bo encourages his 1974 audience to check out his new sound: he encourages anyone wanting to feel good to seek him out, declaring "I'm a different kind of pusher - I push soul!" Amen to that!

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