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Darondo - 'Listen To My Song: The Music City Sessions' [CD]
Darondo - 'Listen To My Song: The Music City Sessions' [CD]
Darondo - 'Listen To My Song: The Music City Sessions' [CD]
Darondo - 'Listen To My Song: The Music City Sessions' [CD]

Darondo

Listen To My Song: The Music City Sessions

CD

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Product Details
  • Aug 23, 2011
  • Funk/ Jazz/ Soul
  • 816651010103
  • OMRE101010CD
  • 2.8 oz
  • new (we only sell new items)
  • Omnivore Recordings
Description
Listen To My Song: The Music City Sessions by Darondo is our first release in partnership with Ace Records UK. The 10-track LP version (limited to 1,200 copies), featuring two of the most well known Darondo songs "Didn't I" and "Listen To My Song," includes eight previously unissued recordings taken from sessions in 1973-1974. The expanded 16-track CD version features both "Didn't I" and "Listen To My Song," as well as 14 additional previously unissued recordings from those same sessions. An outstanding musical anthology, assembled in full cooperation with the artist, Listen To My Song: The Music City Sessions is a virtual treasure trove of indispensable street funk and soul from one of the most fascinating San Francisco Bay Area music legends.

It was the early '70s in Oakland, California, and streetwise hipster William "Darondo" Pulliam was a funky guitar slinger who could also deliver the sweetest soul west of Al Green. His approach was not imitative; he took to the melodic touch of Green with ease, imbued it with the street vibe of the East Bay and his own raw and unique style. The circle Darondo ran with at the time included notable Bay Area guitarist/singer Eddie Foster, bluesman Fillmore Slim (aka "The West Coast Godfather of the Game") and John "Al" Tanner, a pianist of renown whose combos had boasted some of the region's best jazz musicians. Alongside musical collaborator/pianist/arranger Tanner, Darondo proved to be an excellent songwriter, penning his own uncomplicated yet eminently soulful material, crooned with a distinctive street-savvy diction. Tanner became Darondo's musical conduit, translating his song ideas into full-blooded arrangements.

Darondo released his debut single early in 1973 and performed sporadic live shows in the Bay Area. On the strength of the local radio support his music was receiving, he was even tapped to open for James Brown. It would not be until a few months later in the summer of 1973 that Darondo and Tanner started work at Ray Dobard's Music City studio in Oakland, bringing with them a batch of original songs.

The material from these sessions is outstanding, and the performances sport a rough-hewn vivacity. "I'm Gonna Love You," "Luscious Lady," and "I Don't Understand It" are all completely infectious, propelled by a funky rhythm section with judicious horn stabs. "Qualified" and "Thank You God" are more basic, yet retain the idiosyncratic appeal of Darondo's style. "Do You Really Love Me" and "Saving My Love" in particular benefited from Tanner's piano, as well as flute, additional horns, percussion, and string parts. The two songs the label focused on the most were those that had been earmarked for a single release "Didn't I" and "Listen To My Song."

The single was released in late October 1973 and "Didn't I" quickly got airplay locally and sold briskly enough to warrant a second pressing. Recording sessions recommenced in early '74, yielding compelling performances, be it the standard machismo of "King's Man" or the unique storytelling within "The Wolf." "Gimme Some" reprised a theme that Darondo had originally applied to the backing track of "Saving My Love," while "Get Up Off Your Butt" delivers some powerful funk and "I'm Lonely" was a true gem in the mold of "Didn't I."

By spring, the relationship between label and singer had already started to fray, with the label sitting on the full-length album release and misappropriating funds. Accounting was demanded, lawyers became involved, and threats were made-abruptly marking the end of their association. After a few more written salvos from the lawyer, Darondo decided to move on with his life.

Over time, Darondo's three original 45s had caught the ear of funk and soul collectors, even if the artist himself had slipped into domestic anonymity. It took Bay Area funk expert Justin Torres to finally track the singer down in 2005. This rediscovery would eventually lead to Darondo's first live performances in over 30 years, delighting fans across America with a show that drew heavily on his trademarked style and repertoire. Hailed by NPR as one of "Three Artists To Watch" at the 2008 SXSW music fest (alongside Bon Iver), his songs, garnering airplay on BBC Radio 1, have recently been showcased in episodes of AMC's acclaimed television series Breaking Bad and ABC television's (now defunct) Life On Mars.

Darondo's resurgence in recent years has gained him a cult audience beyond passionate record collectors, and the hot news in funk and '70s soul circles has been the recent discovery of his Music City master tapes by noted reissue producer Alec Palao: an album-plus of raunchy Bay Area funk and uniquely-styled soul balladry. Listen To My Song: The Music City Sessions collects this unprecedented goldmine of grooves, and showcases Darondo in his charismatic prime.
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