Bo Diddley – The Black Gladiator (1970) Japanese press

It’s never too late to commemorate the passing of the great Bo Diddley earlier this year. And what better choice than this little-known piece of fuzzed-out gutter funk, “The Black Gladiator.” OK, now the first thing you’re thinking is, “What’s going on with this cover art?” Don’t ask me. Maybe Bo (and not Hendrix, or Miles Davis) was actually the subject of Betty Davis’ infamous tune, “He Was A Big Freak.” But we’re not interested in fogging the memory of the renowned Mr. Diddley here, no sir. Maybe he’s just a gladiator, in addition to being a gunslinger and other occupations, and I’m reading too much into that. I am notoriously guilty of over-interpretation. This record speaks for itself. Is this a desperate attempt for an artist fifteen years into his career to “keep up with the times,” to ‘update’ his sound? Maybe. Do I care? Not really. Recasting his thang in a new musical landscape of black pride and consciousness, of psychedelic funk, does not bother me one wit. And the music is unmistakably Bo Diddley. One thing about the early 1970s, for me the apex of quality of all recorded music in every imaginable genre around the world (I’m not kidding folks.. I will take this claim to my grave and wager money on it) is that keeping up with the times wasn’t such a bad thing. The sounds of the decade age well — if they didn’t, why are the beats, textures, and tones from the 70s continually recycled, resampled, and reinvented, every decade hence? @#$% the 80’s revival. I’m staying in 1975 with my Curtis Mayfield records and this copy of The Black Gladiator. From a Japanese limited edition pressing with LP-sleeve artwork dupes. Enjoy! (My apologies for the misogyny of “Shut Up, Woman.” I tried selling Mr. Diddley on a song titled “Bo Diddley is a Radical Feminist Deconstructionist” but he refused to record it.)

P.S. Some people really hate this record. They loath it alongside Muddy Water’s “Electric Mud,” which I also like. Different strokes.

Bo Diddley – The Black Gladiator (1970) Aqui!!


An “obituary” of sorts that circulated on a email listserv I belong to, upon news of his passing.

“No, goddammit, no. That grouchy genius can’t be dead. He was a
fucking Gunslinger. He fought monsters. He was loose, he was a surfer, he was
a man, he was a lumberjack, he would not be accused, he was looking for a
woman, he could bounce, he could twist, he was cookie-headed, he was powered by
heart-o-matic love, he was bad, he did the crawdaddy, he let them
bring it to Jerome, he shot tombstone bullets, he wore a fucking cobra snake
around his neck, he had a rock and roll nurse who gave him pills, he stopped
mumbling and talked out loud, he was my dearest rock and roll darling.

He was a lot of things, goddammit, but he can’t be dead. There’s no
fucking “Bo Diddley’s Dead” in his catalog.”

Liked it? Take a second to support Dr. Vibes on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Filehost takes me this message:

    “This file is unavailable until Dec. 30, 2008 because the uploader’s account has reached its download limit. You can access it immediately with a DivShare Personal account! “

    Please, fix it as soon as it possible. I really want this album.

    And may be someone knows, where I can find Bo Diddley’s albums:

    1965 – Hey Good Looking
    1965 – 500% More Man
    1966 – The Originator

    I can’t find these things anywhere…

  2. Please, may you re-upload this amazing Bo Diddley??????????????
    Michel from Nîmes (France)

  3. Would it be possible to re-up this in flac?

  4. i agree with everything you say! nice share

  5. A fantastic album unjustly given 2 stars by allmusic (I wonder if their reviewers even listen to half of the albums they rate). There are just 2 clunkers: "Hot Buttered Blues" goes nowhere and "If the Bible Is Right" is a dreadful example of early-70's "Jesus rock". However the rest of this album rocks with an infectiously funky good-time energy and is best played at an extremely LOUD volume!

    Seriously, 4 stars for this album (and it would be 4 1/2 stars if not for the 2 filler songs).

  6. I heard this record play in the thin crowded Saturn Megastore this afternoon and asked the desk about it. They pointed me to the man in charge. He just received the album, 1 CD only, so I asked: can I buy it ? That's how good music can be: hear it and fall for it on the spot.
    I totally agree with your comment. Regards, Marc De Mey, Antwerp Belgium.

Leave a Reply