Friday, June 6, 2008

On the Death of Bo Diddley/"Road Runner"

Having recently read Don Quixote, I've been thinking about the picaresque tradition, and its relationship to road-adventuring, how it gives birth to all sorts of novels and films (Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Augie March, On the Road, not to mention the countless buddy/road films...). But I neglected to think about songs, such as Bo Diddley's "Road Runner." Here it is:

"Road Runner"

(Ellas McDaniel) 1960
I'm a road runner honey,
Beep! Beep!
I'm a road runner honey,
And you can't keep up with me,
I'm a road runner honey,
And you can't keep up with me,
Come on, let's race,
Baby baby, you will see,
Here I come,
Beep! Beep!
Move over honey,
Let me by,
Move over baby,
Let this man by,
I'm gonna show you baby, look out your head,
Gonna put some dirt in your eye,
Here I go!
Oh yea, how am I doin?
Beep! Beep!
Take my hand baby,
I'm gonna prove to you that I'm a road running man,
I wanna show you something,
That I'm the fastest in the land,
Now let me by,
Beep! Beep!
Oh yea, you said you's fast,
But it don't look like you gonna last,
Goodbye! I've got to put you down,
I'll see you some day,
Baby, somewhere hangin' around.

One of the immediately obvious aspects of the picaresque tradition is not only the relationship between freedom and mobility, but also how the picaro, the adventurer, is almost always male--even if he claims (as Quixote does, fantastically) that all his adventures are on behalf of a beloved woman.

1 comment:

Chaerephon said...

My guy! Bo was fierce & I'm a hypocrite for not buying his records while he was alive. Look out your head!