Eddie Bo 1930-2009

This year’s death toll just keeps a risin’. Eddie Bo (Edwin Joseph Bocage) died last Wednesday (March 18th) , felled by a massive heart attack. A pianist, singer and songwriter, Eddie Bo, was born in New Orleans 9th Ward and had a career that spanned over half a century. He came from a large, musical family (Sidney Bechet was his great uncle). You could trace the history of New Orleans R&B through Bo’s career, he must have made at least a hundred singles spread out over dozens of labels including Apollo, Chess, Ace, Ric, Swan, Cinderella, Scram and others. A discography can be found here. If you are unfamiliar with his work  you can learn more by checking out the Eddie Bo archives here. His career is too long and detailed to get into it in much depth here, but he’s probably best known for writing and recording the original version of Little Richard’s Slippin’ & Slidin’, which he called I’m Wise when he recorded it for the Apollo label in ’54.
Some of my favorite Eddie Bo sides are Hey Bo (Apollo), Walk That Walk, Oh Oh (both on Chess), We Like Mambo, I Love To Rock & Roll (both on Ace). I also thought I’d throw in these two funk classics since he’s extremely popular with soul and funk collectors and dj’s, mostly through these two numbers– Hook and Sling (Scram) and Check Your Bucket (Bo-Sound).
He played the Circle Bar once, at the first Mau Mau Ball, and he was great. I don’t remember a lot about his set since he was playing on the same bill as Howard Tate, R.L. Burnside, Tousaint McCall, Jody Williams, and a dozen other greats (in a bar the size of a postage stamp, a small postage stamp at that), but I do remember him doing Check Your Bucket. If you like what I’ve posted here, keep in mind that it’s the tip of a musical iceberg, Eddie Bo’s career is an archaeologist (and record collector’s) dream, there’s enough good Eddie Bo stuff out there to fill your entire Ipod.

12 thoughts on “Eddie Bo 1930-2009”

  1. Odd that you wouldn’t get much commentary on this post. Probably everyone’s too busy downloading, ‘coz these sides are great! Is that Earl Palmer playing drums on “I’m Wise”?

  2. Oh NO! I hadn’t heard this sad news. I’m heading to N.O. for the Jazz Fest 4 weeks from tomorrow, and was excited to see Eddie again. Thanks for posting these gems.

  3. “…Earl Palmer…”I heard that NRBQ's drummer was interviewed for a magazine about drumming, and was asked who his favorite drummers were. He listed Earl Palmer, but when the mag came out it said Carl Palmer (from Emerson, Lake & Palmer).Wot-WAH!

  4. Earl Palmeranother name conspicuously absent from the rock’n’roll hall of fame, the guy only invented the beatused on every rock’n’roll record, but jaan wenner/seymour stein and jon landau (who decide who gets in) deem him not as worthy as art garfunkel, steven stills, michael stipe, etc. for honors.

  5. Eddie Bo will always be in my hall of fame for hollering out “you over there with the big yams – HOOK IT!” during “Hook & Sling.”

  6. “We Like Mambo” is Huey Piano Smith & the Clowns not Eddie BoIf you look at the photos you will see and if you click on the songtitle in the text you can hear Eddie Bo's original version of We Like Mambo which was covered by Huey Smith & the Clowns as We Like Birdland…do you think I made the label shot up w/photoshop?

  7. In fact, Ace Records issued Huey Smith’s recording, “We Like Mambo,” under Eddie Bo’s name. Eddie had nothing to do with it. Regardless, Eddie was much loved and will be terribly missed.

  8. Really? It sounds so much like “Hey Bo” on Apollo. Of course, it also sounds just like Huey Smith. I gotta look it up somewhere, now I’m all confused (it doesn’t take much to confuse me these days…)

  9. ummmhhhh…Earl Palmer IS in the R&R Hall of Fame…they basically created the Sideman category just so they could induct him because their stupid categories somehow exclude reality..imagine that..Now, if they would just do the same for Cosimo……but then they might have to call BS on any number of production credits pre Phil Spector…imagine that, also..

Spit it out, partner...

%d bloggers like this: