BO DIDDLEY The Black Gladiator (1970)

The Black Gladiator (1970)
Bo Gone Wild

The late 60s brought an explosion of new musical talent and fresh ideas to the marketplace. The era also offered a jarring reminder to the old guard that there was an expiration date to the public’s interest in what they had to offer. Don’t forget… nostalgia had yet to take hold by 1970, and was best exemplified by the camp parody of Sha Na Na. So guys like Bo Diddley, finding themselves confronted with extinction, either had to board the fast moving train or risk getting left at the station. Hence, The Black Gladiator. Chess records had been sold to GRT and the label was looking closely at the commercial viability of their roster, resulting in a make-over for Bo Diddley’s first album in four years – a raw, jammin’ dose of Bo’s root-blues racket with a big, organ driven soul band more akin to Sly Stone’s Family (or, as with the opening track “Elephant Man”, Bo at The Fillmore with The Mothers). When released in 1970, this LP was largely ignored. Too bad, because it’s one of Bo’s more raucous and daring albums, despite his stubbornly trying to shoehorn his patented “Bo Diddley” backbeat into “You, Bo Diddley.” The mean and dirty blues of “Shut Up Woman” is a standout (think, a misogynistic “I’m A Man”). Wailing organs, layers of percussion, backing soul singers… this isn’t your father’s Bo Diddley. It’s @ Amazon HERE.

Elephant Man (4:33)
You, Bo Diddley (3:19)
Black Soul (2:52)
Power House (2:54)
If The Bible’s Right (3:12)
I’ve Got A Feeling (2:50)
Shut Up Woman (3:48)
Hot Buttered Blues (3:59)
Funky Fly (3:13)
I Don’t Like You (3:09)



  • Anonymous
    November 25, 2010 - 17:36 | Permalink

    Thank you so much! I've had this on vinyl for years, and it's a weird, wonderful record. For one reason or another I've never gotten around to converting it to digital, and now you've saved me the trouble. I appreciate it. Fantastic blog, as always!

  • Don
    November 25, 2010 - 19:15 | Permalink

    Isn't it amazing that in the Fifties and Sixties, your music career was over after ten years but today we still consider forty year old bands relevant. They certainly weren't getting hundreds of dollars per ticket for Bing Crosby concerts in 19701

  • Capt. Willard
    November 25, 2010 - 19:26 | Permalink

    Actually your example, Bing, is one of the few who did have a long, sustained career. Bowie was on his TV show, remember. But you're right. We all remember the footage of the Beatles talking about how they thought it would all be over in 6 months to a year. They're probably the ones that changed the concept of what a musical career could be in rock and roll.

  • Capt. Willard
    November 25, 2010 - 14:39 | Permalink

    Find it HERE.

  • rap
    November 26, 2010 - 02:57 | Permalink

    GRT not GTR, W.

  • Capt. Willard
    November 26, 2010 - 03:07 | Permalink

    I was talking about when Bo joined Steve Hackett and Steve Howe in GTR before the first album…

    Nevermind, thanks for the catch.

  • Mr.W
    November 26, 2010 - 20:25 | Permalink

    Bo Diddley – Rediscovered!
    Thankyou …

  • Anonymous
    November 27, 2010 - 09:07 | Permalink

    wonderful album, thanxalot!! best wishes – ubique

  • Anonymous
    November 27, 2010 - 09:21 | Permalink

    in fact, this is so excellent that i wonder if you might possibly direct me to a lossless link? (given that it's virtually impossible to find or afford). best wishes – ubique

  • Capt. Willard
    November 27, 2010 - 13:28 | Permalink

    Sorry… I don't post lossless. Files are too big to deal with and I personally can't tell the difference. Google is your friend, though. Some torrent somewhere probably has it.

  • Anonymous
    November 27, 2010 - 14:10 | Permalink

    hi cpt.; thanx for the quick reply. i wouldn't have bothered to ask for it, but i couldn't find it myself anywhere. however, i posted a request at phrock & some of the guys there are pretty good at finding stuff that eludes me. incidentally, may i recommend you check out my post of muddy waters' stunning & very rare "after the rain"-album there? it's really great. best wishes – ubique

  • Willard
    November 27, 2010 - 14:46 | Permalink

    Thanks for the tip.

  • Anonymous
    November 28, 2010 - 08:58 | Permalink

    my pleasure; i like this album so much that i kindly request you to post a lossless link if you ever happen to come across one (so far the phrock gang hasn't found one). best wishes, ubique

  • Rob
    December 4, 2010 - 00:30 | Permalink

    Wow, this is great! Tis a freezing cold night where I am (Hills of Portugal), but this is warming me up as I sit typing. Thank you Captain Willard, for my nightly drop of something I haven't heard before. Rob.

  • September 19, 2012 - 16:37 | Permalink

    Thanks a million!

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