"Blues in All Flavors" Learning Activities
© Gaye Adegbalola
FLAVOR: BO DIDDLEY BEAT
- Maracas are musical instruments that sound like a rattle. Many Bo Diddley songs feature the sound of maracas. (Don't know Bo? See below.) You can make your own maracas from recycled materials. Take 2 plastic water bottles. Make sure they are dry. Fill about 1/4 full of dried beans. Seal the lids with tape. Get to shakin'!
- This song is full of opposites: open & close, down & up, on & off, right & wrong, borrow & return. Can you think of other opposites? Try to come up with at least 10. Now try to make them "action" words like dropping down & picking up or opening and closing.
- When we try to think of ideas, an easy way to do so is by brainstorming. It is a way to solve problems by coming up with as many ideas as possible. You are encouraged to come up with new, creative ideas without judging whether they are good or bad, realistic or not. For example, think of 10 uses for an empty plastic bottle. Of course, we know it can be used for holding liquids, but it can also be cut so that it can be used as a shovel, or for making maracas, or as a noise maker. The longer we think, usually the more interesting our ideas become. Here's a good brainstorming exercise: Come up with 50 uses for a paper clip.
In this song, we are singing about how to respond to a problem. Sometimes people behave in unacceptable ways. For example, sometimes it is hard to ask people to pick up something they've dropped on the ground. Many newspapers have an advice column. In this column, people write in to ask advice about how to handle certain situations. Some of these are about personal relations. Others are about household questions. With your parents or teachers, find some advice columns and see how they are written. Now act like you are the writer of the advice column. Give answers to the following letters sent in:
- Dear Advice Giver, I love my best friend dearly, but when she eats, she chews with her mouth open. It is very noisy and not very pretty to look at. How can I tell her that this is not polite without hurting her feelings?
- Dear Advice Giver, I went to visit a friend and his family has people who work for them. He is only 7 years old and they people who work for the family are around 40 and 50 years old. I have always been taught to call older people as "Mr. So and So" or "Mrs. So and So." I also say "yes, sir" and "yes, ma'am" to my elders. My friend calls them by their first names, "Jake" and "Carmen," and only answers "yes" and "no." This doesn't feel right to me. What should I do?
- Dear Advice Giver, My mother just bought a new car, but it is very small. She says she is doing her part to reduce use of the Earth's oil resources. She says that everyone needs to do what he can to keep from using up the Earth's supplies. It'll be a long time before I drive a car, but what else can I do to help save the Earth?
- Dear Advice Giver, The new girl at school doesn't have nice clothes and has an awful body odor. Many students make fun of her. I don't do that. I do feel bad for her and in some way I would like to help. Should I say something to the other students? Should I say something to her? What should I do?
BO DIDDLEY WITH JEROME GREEN
Bo is on guitar, Jerome plays maracas. The maracas are important to Bo's sound.
BO DIDDLEY - YOU CAN'T JUDGE A BOOK BY THE COVER
This video shows 3 important things:
1) Bo Diddley used women musicians back in the 1960s when it was rare for women to play.
2) This is from the TV show, "Shindig," in 1965. It was one of the first TV shows to feature dancers.
3) The song, "You Can't Judge A Book by Looking at the Cover" was written by one of the greatest of all blues song writers, Willie Dixon.