When Pat James Longo speaks, you listen. The guy is a walking encyclopedia on all kinds of music. So when he brought his sale box to one of my past all 45 rpm excursions, this record was in it. Now I respect Bo Diddley and all, but at the time I’d rather have a pair of Bo Jackson Nike sneakers (Bo Knows!) than grab a Bo Diddley 45. Heck, I pass them up in the field because I don’t need Blues records on 45. Give me the full length Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Lightning Hopkins, and the like all day, but Bo Diddley, wasn’t really my cup of tea. Here’s another cas of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, because “I’m High Again” on Checker Records really smokes.
He was called The Originator for a reason, as he influenced a whole grip of bands including The Beatles, The Stones, Hendrix and a slew of others who wanted to be like Bo. The transition from Blues to Rock was made possible by this man (and others), but Diddley has been credited as a main influence on this transition. I can remember hearing his stuff as a kid on the AM radio, but my parents’ record collection didn’t contain any Bo Diddley, so as I got older, I didn’t dig too deep for his stuff even though he was a legend. Let’s just say I was aware, but not too interested. Fast forward to the meeting with Pat, and I was very interested in this side when I let the needle drop.
“I’m High Again”, I can only surmise, is Diddley’s attempt to throw some psychedelica into his Blues. Now, the premise of this track is that he doesn’t need any alcohol, LSD, or any other substance, just his baby’s kiss. Imagine that! The tune was written by Sidney Barnes, but Bo blows the door off of this single from 1968. Another example that you can find some interesting, funky stuff in from artists that you wouldn’t normally seem funky. Keep your mind open people, you never know what you might find!
Download the track here.