Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger

Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger is the fifth studio album by American rock and roll pioneer Bo Diddley released in December 1960 by Checker Records.[1] The album title comes from the album’s first track called “Gunslinger” and the cover art has Bo Diddley dressed in Western-style clothing. The songs for Bo Diddley is a Gunslinger were recorded from October 1959 to February 1960.[2] Several tracks of interest[citation needed] are “Sixteen Tons” which Bo was supposed to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show,[citation needed] the title track, and “Diddling” (an instrumental between guitar and saxophone).



This song was originally released as the a-side of Checker single 965 in November 1960.[3] The singles B-side “Signifying Blues” was never released on the album. The song features a Bo Diddley beat. Warren Zevon performed the song as “Bo Diddley’s a Gunslinger” on his 1981 live album Stand in the Fire.

“Ride on Josephine”

“Ride on Josephine” was a rock and roll song with backing vocals and piano work by either Otis Spann, Lafayette Leake, or Billy Stewart.[4] The song has been covered by George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Sleepy LaBeef, Eric Sardinas, and Van Morrison.

“Sixteen Tons”

Bo Diddley was asked to perform “Sixteen Tons” on The Ed Sullivan Show but performed “Bo Diddley” instead[citation needed].


The song “Cadillac” features Gene Barge on tenor saxophone,[4] and has been covered by The Kinks, The Downliners Sect, New Colony Six, and sung as a duet by Van Morrison and Linda Gail Lewis. Cadillac was also the name of the guitar that is featured on the album’s front cover.[5]

Other songs/styles

The song “Googlia Moo”, as well as “No More Lovin'” and others, gives the album a doo-wop feel.[6]

Track listing

All tracks are written by Ellas McDaniel, except where noted.

Side one
2.“Ride on Josephine”3:00
3.“Doing the Craw-Daddy”2:58
Total length:12:52[7]
Side two
6.“Cheyenne” 2:05
7.“Sixteen Tons”Merle Travis, arranged by McDaniel2:30
8.“Whoa Mule (Shine)” 2:28
9.“No More Lovin'” 2:25
10.“Diddling” 2:20
Total length:11:48[7]
1988 bonus tracks
11.“Working Man”3:00
12.“Do What I Say”2:46
2004 reissue bonus tracks
13.“Prisoner of Love”Russ Columbo, Leo Robin, Clarence Gaskill2:31
14.“Googlia Moo” 3:02
15.“Better Watch Yourself” 2:54


Per allmusic[4]

  • Bo Diddley – lead vocals, lead guitar
  • Jerome Green – maracas, backing vocals
  • Willie Dixon – bass
  • Bobby Baskerville – bass
  • Jesse James Johnson – electric bass
  • Billy Downing – drums
  • Clifton James – drums
  • Lafayette Leake – piano
  • Otis Spann – piano
  • Billy Stewart – piano
  • Peggy Jones – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
  • Gene Barge – tenor saxophone
  • Johnny Carter – backing vocals
  • Harvey Fuqua – backing vocals
  • Lily “Bee Bee” Jamieson – backing vocals
  • Gloria Morgan – backing vocals
  • Nate Nelson – backing vocals
  • Leonard Chess – producer
  • Andy McKaie – Reissue producer
  • Vartan – Art direction


The album spent one week on the UK Album Charts on November 9, 1963 at No. 20.[8]

Release history

United StatesDecember 1960Checker Recordsmono LPLP 2297
United KingdomNovember 1963Pye Jazz Recordsmono LPNJL 33
United StatesAugust 13, 1966Checker Records4-track cartridge21-369A
United States1988Chess RecordsCDCHD-9285
United StatesApril 13, 2004Geffen RecordsCD000176102
Worldwide reissue2008Universal InternationalLP1529771

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