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Photo: Brad Edelman

Eddie Bo, legendary New Orleans pianoman and one of funkiest humans ever, passed away last week. He was 79 and led a full and productive life, so this isn’t one of those tragic deaths, but still.

I remember the first time I heard his music I was living in Japan (shout out to globalization) and found some 45s of New Orleans funk in a used record store. One of them was “Hook and sling”.

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It was a novelty dance type of song, but that description doesn’t really do it justice. At the time I wasn’t very familiar with Louisiana music and so the record’s simultaneously rough and joyful sound was a revelation. I played that thing over and over again. Here’s hiss-free mp3 version, although I think the crackly 7″ is still best…

Eddie Bo – Hook & Sling

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And here’s my favorite Eddie Bo song, and some of the best advice I’ve ever received.

Eddie Bo – Check your bucket

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I read in this obituary from Mr. Bo’s local newspaper that he owned a club at one time called the Check Your Bucket Cafe. I wish I could have checked that out.

EB also wrote a lot of songs for more famous artists, including Little Richard and Etta James. Here’s a song in a softer style that he himself wasn’t so famous for, but that he obviously had no trouble writing…

Eddie Bo – Come to me

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WFMU has an interview up on their website. Check it here.
Also, SoulGeneration has put together an amazing interactive Eddie Bo discography.

Eddie Bo was one of America’s great underappreciated talents. It’s easy to find his stuff on CD or MP3. I’ve seen a couple compilations around. If you like these songs, buy an album and (hopefully) support his estate. Rest In Peace.

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