Bo Diddley – Another Dimension

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By the end of 1970, most of Bo Diddley’s income was derived from his concert work, primarily as an “oldies” act in rock ‘n roll revival shows such as the Toronto concert where he shared a stage with the Plastic Ono Band. But he and Chess believed there was still a way for him to try and reach a wider, more contemporary audience. This album was the result, a valiant effort to update Bo Diddley’s sound and image, somewhat in the vein of Muddy Waters’ Electric Mud, only a few years later, and only slightly more successful in that quest, in the sense of yielding one lasting addition to Bo’s repertory. Relevance was the key word, not only in the song selection, which includes three John Fogerty  tunes (“Lodi,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Down on the Corner”) and covers of numbers by the Band and Elton John, but a new song entitled “Pollution” that tries hard to integrate the Bo Diddley beat into a message piece — it’s a good try, but nothing on this record (including “Pollution”) was going to challenge Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On for primacy or effectiveness. The record starts off well enough, with a superb, deeply soulful cover of Al Kooper’s “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know,” and a decent rendition of “The Shape I’m In.” But two of the Fogerty covers (“Lodi” is the only one that sort of works) are embarrassing, with the girlie chorus killing “Bad Moon Rising.” And “Bad Side of the Moon” was a waste of studio time. One song from this album has remained part of Bo’s concert set for decades, however — “I Said Shutup Woman,” which has the most traditional sound of anything on Another Dimension.

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