Saturday, November 19, 2011
It was with great pleasure, and a certain swell of pride, that I recieved the first copies of a new self-published anthology drawn from the online journal Shaking Like a Mountain (now called Shaking Online, with an expanded editorial focus), edited by co-conspirators Vito Grippi and my pal Wayne Cresser, containing 17 fiction and non-fiction pieces, all built around a connection to popular music serving as a central conceit. Of course it's filled with some evocative writing, and (yeah, baby) it includes one of my own, originally entitled "Bo Diddley: He Used a Cobra Snake for a Necktie, 1928-2008", from June,2008, reprinted below. As the editors themselve suggest, a near perfect stocking stuffer, available here.
A Tribute to Bo Diddley
by Scott Duhamel
Somewhere in the ever-holy Tower of Song the residents shuffle up the winding staircase (handrails gleaming, carved from ancient ivory) to the bone-shaking, perpetually hypnotic, and pure rhythm Bo Diddley Beat. Bo, like Little Richard, like Chuck Berry, helped erect the sturdy bridge between the swamp of jazz, blues, country and gospel that lead to rollicking sea of rock and roll, Bo, as himself, is the undeniable architect of one of rock’s bulwarks--the otherworldly hip-shaking, chunka-chunka in-yer-head cadence of rock and roll. Bo, without the glammy, sweaty immediacy of Little Richard, who probably performed his way out of the womb, or the sharp, calculated story tunes and radio showy guitar hooks of Chuck Berry, offered up a different sort of regal showmanship.
Bo stood stage center like a conductor, hips akimbo, tasty hat, square eyeglasses, boxy guitar, oozing a quiet confidence while unleashing his snaky tremolo and laying down his first person eurhythmics. While Sun Ra readily informed his audiences and collaborators that he been transported to space and thus transformed, Bo might well have been a true time-traveler, clad in his own version of a space suit, his vast array of tailsmanic guitars his means of teleportation, mixing and matching the rumbling backbeat he lifted from the train yards of Chicago with ancient African tribal chants and the rat-a-tat-tat of a western gunslinger’s discharge, seemingly deprived of his earthly just desserts (money and fame), but actually here with other interstellar purposes: help create rock and roll, jumpstart the Rolling Stones, and lay down a mystical, eternal syncopation that will forever hold its sway.