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But there're no mind-blowing travesties like Bo Diddley Is an Avatar or Have Guitar Will Time Travel in Bo's catalogue. Just great music.
"I won't be pressurized by anybody," says Bo of his single-minded career. "I'm in the driver's seat, and I don't mind driving."
Which doesn't mean Bo isn't interested in keeping up with the times; his latest recording is a country-rap song. Though he might fume about being bootlegged by record companies overseas, he's not so cynical that he won't play "Promises" over the telephone. It doesn't sport the Bo-beat, but it pits a metronomic rhythm against chugging and sliding guitars. Any young country star today could have penned the lyrics, but given Bo's wealth of experience, they carry added sting you won't get from Alan Jackson:
Promises, those promises, you never keep
Promises, those promises, you made a fool of me
"I call it 'black country,'" Bo explains after the song plays out. "It's different, ain't it? See, I put that little rap thing on the end of it; that's something ain't nobody ever did. I'm following dollar bills. I hear rap. I hear country. I hear this other shit that these dudes is doing onstage with their knees all out and their funky, fright pants. . . ."
"I don't know what that is, but people are buying it."
Bo is less than enthusiastic when the subject of digital audio comes up. "I don't like that crap. I'm not old-fashioned, but I feel it's all just bullshit for your pocketbook. My old tapes sound great. What the hell do I need with CDs?" Don't expect Bo to endorse gangsta rap, either. The man who wrote "Cops and Robbers" in the Fifties became the law in the early Seventies when he served as deputy sheriff in Los Lunas, New Mexico. And, no, he never came up against any gunslingers there.
"There's a lot of nice people out there. You have to talk to people," says Bo of his enforcement methods. "The police don't have to go around beating people up unless his life [the policeman's] is being threatened with a revolver or a weapon."
Although he has the recognition of his rock peers, the real "equalizing" that needs to be done is still slow in coming. But come it will.
"Money's out there that nobody's ever paid me because they think I'm a nice guy, I'm not going to do anything. But they don't know. I'm building. And when I come, I'm going to dump this stuff on a judge's desk and there ain't no way he can look at me and say, 'What's this?' He can see what it is and do what he has to do.
"I have a dream," growls Bo Diddley. "I have a dream that I'm gonna tear the courthouse down with somebody's booty!"
Bo Diddley will perform on Sunday, February 6, at the Rhythm Room, with Buddy Reed and the Rip-It-Ups. Showtimes are 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.
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