Personnel: Bo Diddley (background vocals); Jerome Green (vocals, maracas, background vocals); Peggy Jones (guitar, background vocals); The Duchess, Ricky Jolivet, Jody Williams (guitar); Eddie Drennon (electric violin); Little Willie Smith, Lester Davenport, Little Walter, Billy Boy Arnold (harmonica); Gene Barge (tenor saxophone); Lafayette Leake, Otis Spann (piano); Willie Dixon (double bass); Clifton James, Billy Downing, Frank Kirkland (drums); Connie Redmond (tambourine, background vocals); Bo Ettes, Delores Redmond, Bobby Baskerville, Gloria Morgan, Dorothy Holliday, The Carnations , Bobby Joe Lester, Harvey Fuqua, Lily "Bee Bee" Jamieson, Vivian, Alexander Graves, The Flamingos , The Moonglows (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Bill Dahl.
Recording information: Bo Diddley's Home Studio, Washington DC (03/02/1955-09/11/1966); Chicago, IL (03/02/1955-09/11/1966); New York, NY (03/02/1955-09/11/1966).
Photographers: David Redfern; Chuck Stewart.
Released four months after Bo's death -- and roughly a year and a half after Universal's single-disc The Definitive Collection -- the double-disc Gold is a thorough 41-track overview of Diddley's classic Chess recordings, containing all the usual suspects and filling out the margins with some of Bo's bluesier material. This emphasis on blues gives Gold a different spin than Chess UK's 2006 set The Story of Bo Diddley, which was a full 13 tracks longer than this 2008 comp and gave a lot of space to Bo's weirder work, like when he called out Khrushchev, or when he opened up to funkier grooves. Given a choice, The Story is a preferable pick to Gold as it gives a fuller portrait of Bo, but that doesn't mean that Gold is a bad compilation -- far from it, actually, as its 41 tracks are all first-rate, indicating the consistency of Diddley's catalog even if it doesn't quite hint at his range. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine