The passing of Bo Diddley got me on a hardcore listening jag. Doesn’t take much to get me back on Bo, and there are several other blues and quasi-blues dudes — Elmore James, ZZ Top, Buddy Guy, Chuck Berry, Professor Longhair, James Booker — that I go back to whenever I need to reset my compass, or blow out the mucus that builds up in my musical system after I’ve been subjected to too much Top 40 or MTV crapola.

If you’re in need of such a cold shot yourself, grab an original recording of “Before You Accuse Me,” one of the blues standards Bo Diddley wrote. It underscores how he was a cross-genre superstar, equally facile at blues, rock, R&B, pop, and, later in life, soul.

The mark of a classic blues song is its ability to translate its power when other artists cover it. This is a topic best brought up in a separate post, but I’ll risk getting pounded in the comments by saying I’m not much of a Clapton fan; he can de-blues even the bluesiest, foolproof song when he sets his mind to it. But even he can’t screw up “Before You Accuse Me” (I’m denying his Unplugged version exists for the purposes of this discussion).

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