Peggy Lee Jones: Lady Bo.
One of the first female lead guitarists in rock & roll, Peggy Jones is most notable for her work in Bo Diddley’s backing band, for which she earned the affectionate — and appropriate — nickname Lady Bo. However, her musical resume is much longer, boasting stints as a doo wop singer and an R&B/soul bandleader. Born in New York, Jones began her career as a professional dancer, attending the famed High School for the Performing Arts. She later joined a Harlem doo wop group called the Bop Chords, becoming their first female singer; though she didn’t perform on their regional 1956 hit “Castle in the Sky,” she was present for the follow-ups “Baby” and “So Why.” The Bop Chords disbanded in 1957, and Jones joined up with Bo Diddley as a guitarist and backing vocalist. She recorded with him on a number of singles from 1957-1963, at which point the prime of his recording career was effectively over; nonetheless, she remained in Diddley’s touring band for the next several decades. One of the sides she wrote and recorded, the 1961 instrumental “Aztec,” actually became a hit in Europe two years after the fact (though it was Jones’ track, the record company mistakenly credited Diddley as the performer). Jones was also the guitarist on Les Cooper’s 1962 instrumental hit “Wiggle Wobble.” Jones also engaged in several side projects while a member of Diddley’s band. In 1957, she recorded a single for Ro-Nan as one-half of Greg & Peg, and followed the same format for a 1959 as part of Peggy & Bob. She played guitar on Les Cooper’s 1962 instrumental hit “Wiggle Wobble” and percussion on Eric Burdon & the Animals’ 1967 hit “San Franciscan Nights.” Her main endeavor, though, dated back to the ’50s, when Jones formed her own R&B band, the Fabulous Jewels. Serving as lead vocalist, guitarist, arranger, and sometime songwriter whenever she had time off from Diddley’s band, Jones made her outfit one of the top R&B bands on the East Coast club circuit during the ’60s and ’70s, playing primarily around New York, New Jersey, and Boston. The group also recorded two single sides for MGM in 1961, “Forever Blowing Bubbles” and “Togetherness,” and opened for prominent rock, soul, and jazz acts. Jones has maintained her association with Bo Diddley over the years, and fully mastered his approach, making herself worthy of the billing Lady Bo. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi MORE