Bo & the Duchess

September 17, 2017

Off-topic Sunday. On a Sunday!


There I was listening to one of Billy Childish's many bands' version of You Can't Judge A Book. I love the song, knew it was a Bo Diddley original and I'd heard Bo's version of it, but I had a really tight deadline to avoid, so I spent a while looking it up on YouTube (the recording above). I'd never seen it and was mesmerised by the woman playing rhythm guitar front and just off-centre. 


I had something much better to do, so I only spent an hour or so finding out who she is/was, and searching for every photo I could find of her. Norma-Jean Wofford, aka the Duchess was the second lady to have such a role with Bo, and after Lady Bo, Peggy Jones. 


Those trousers, that hair, that hip-shaking strut in those winklepicker stilettos. 

After the fifth or sixth viewing it was the The Duchess's guitar that I was focussing on. Look at it. It's like a hair metal nightmare, but when slung around a young black woman in the tightest leather trousers I've ever seen, it's a Jetson raygun pointing at my heart. 


It turns out it's a Gretsch Cadillac. I can't play a musical instrument, but I love asymmetrical guitars, like the Vox Phantom, but this Cadillac was some fin else. For a while I wanted a Vox Phantom as an ornament. I'm glad I never found one. It would be like me having a beautiful Aleutian Juice surfboard to hang on the wall or a fucking art bike to sit in the corner and never be ridden. These things are made to be used, not hoarded.


And guess who else has a Gretsch Cadillac? Billy Childish.

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