Bo Diddley

Lyrics: MacDaniel
Music: MacDaniel

Bo Diddley played this song with the Grateful Dead on 25 March 1972.

There's a lot of confusion between this song and Hey Bo Diddley. The song Bo Diddley sang with the Dead is definitely this one, even though the title given on Dick's Picks 30 is "Hey Bo Diddley." The version by the Dead themselves on 23 May 1972 seems to be fragments from both songs, though it too is titled "Hey Bo Diddley" on "Steppin' Out."

According to the liner notes from the Bo Diddley recording I've got:

Together with harmonicat Billy Boy Arnold, Bo had started writing original songs, and they eventually cut a dub acetate of two of Bo's strongest, "I'm A Man" and "Dirty Motherf*cker", which they hawked around ... Leonard Chess liked both songs - with due reservations about the latter's lyrics - and they were called into Chess's studios on March 2 1955, where, with Otis Spann joining them on piano, they duly cut "I'm A Man" and "Bo Diddley" (as the "Motherf*cker" was now called).
Thanks to Mark De Anda for supplying me with the lyrics printed with the original Bo Diddley LP - they help decipher what it is Bo Diddley sang with the Dead:
Bo Diddley bought his babe a diamond ring
If that diamond ring don't shine
He gonna take it to a private eye
If that private eye can't see
He'd better not take that ring from me

Bo Diddley bought a nanny goat
To make his pretty baby a Sunday coat
Bo Diddley bought a bear cat
To make his pretty baby a Sunday hat

Mojo come to my house, ya black cat bone
Take my baby away from home
Ugly ole mojo, where's ya bin
Up your house and gone again

Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley have you heard?
My pretty baby said she was a bird (note 1)
My pretty baby said she was a bird
(1) Mark De Anda says the lyrics printed with the LP are "... said she wasn't for it" but it really does sound to me as though Bo Diddley sings "... she was a bird."

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     25 Mar 1972 Dick's Picks Vol 30 (note 2)
     23 May 1972 Steppin' Out with the Grateful Dead: England '72 (note 2)
(2) titled "Hey Bo Diddley" on the album

Bo Diddley's is available on most of his many compilations.

Further Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography


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