Darondo – Listen to My Song: Music City Sessions

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Back in 70s Oakland, California, streetwise hipster William Darondo Pulliam was a funky singer-songwriter who could also swing the sweetest soul west of Al Green. His handful of idiosyncratic 45 releases are crowned by the heartbreaking sound of his 1973 local hit `Didn’t I‘, on the collectable Music City label.

The hot news in funk and 70s soul circles has been the recent discovery of Darondo’s Music City master tapes, throwing up two albums worth of raunchy Bay Area funk and idiosyncratic soul balladry. “Listen To My Song – The Music City Sessions” collects this unprecedented goldmine of grooves, and shows off Darondo in his streetwise prime.

Together with his musical collaborator Al Tanner, Darondo was an excellent songwriter with a unique style and the contents of this outstanding anthology, recorded between 1972 and 1974, are bound to please collectors and general funk and soul fans alike.

Tracks
A1 I Don’t Understand 3:00
A2 I’m Gonna Love You 3:32
A3 Didn’t I 3:27
A4 Luscious Lady 3:13
A5 Saving My Love 3:11
A6 Gimme Some 3:01
B1 Get Up Off Your Butt 6:14
B2 I’m Lonely 4:24
B3 Do You Really Love Me 2:56
B4 Listen To My Song 4:15

What an outstanding find by BGP of an early 70’s lost album by recently rediscovered funk maven and polymath William Pulliam (AKA Darondo) emanating from the vault of the Bay Area, CA, Music City record label.

The music is a mix of ethereal soul ballads, upbeat R&B stompers and funk burners, almost all excellent and with only two tracks overlapping with the earlier “Let My People Go” compilation on the US Ubiquity records and in much better sound quality (these tracks sound like they were mastered from tape unlike the earlier compilation where vinyl sources were used with no noise reduction processing so ‘pop and crackle’ was the order of the day). There are one or two tracks where there are audible flaws on the source tape but nothing too off putting and certainly better than being mastered from vinyl! Darondo himself is on superb form throughout sounding a bit like Al Green with a heavy head cold but with a much grittier outlook and ‘in your face’ sound which can be preferable on the upbeat tracks.

A lot of these tracks are basically demos (which the liner notes commendably admit to upfront) and as a result it somewhat reminds me of Al Green’s outtakes collection, “Listen: The Rarities” which is one of my favorites of Al’s many albums just because in its stripped down sound it is atypical of most of his output.

Specific highlights are hard to identify since it is so consistent throughout but the superb “Didn’t I” single has never sounded better and “I’m Lonely” is cut from the same ethereal cloth sounds very fine and of the funk tracks “Luscious Lady” hits the spot being as lascivious as it title implies.

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21 Comments
  • Tee
    Posted at 02:33h, 25 March 2019 Reply

    Thanks for this gem!!

  • Bobby
    Posted at 17:36h, 25 March 2019 Reply

    thank you Nikos!!

  • Mane
    Posted at 23:42h, 25 March 2019 Reply

    I wasn’t aware of this…looks great!

  • Rick London
    Posted at 10:21h, 26 March 2019 Reply

    oh oh HOT HOT HOT thank you guys

  • Mike Young
    Posted at 09:55h, 27 March 2019 Reply

    Beautiful melodies, funky arrangements and passionate Darondo’s voice – what a killer combination !!!

  • Fred Neville
    Posted at 00:41h, 28 March 2019 Reply

    This shit goes into my ears and directly to heart and reverberates through my soul

  • Jaclyn
    Posted at 00:57h, 28 March 2019 Reply

    just listening. .and wishing I had one millionth of this mans talent.

  • william R.
    Posted at 15:09h, 28 March 2019 Reply

    pure soul for real, love love love it

  • Rick Grady
    Posted at 10:28h, 29 March 2019 Reply

    Wonderfully rich of funk and soul.

  • Devon
    Posted at 10:29h, 29 March 2019 Reply

    Some outstanding tracks I’ve never heard of. Thanks

  • peter
    Posted at 10:54h, 29 March 2019 Reply

    No words. Just unbelievably breathtaking

  • Nikos
    Posted at 12:05h, 30 March 2019 Reply

    In 2007, Darondo’s song “Didn’t I” was covered by Jack Peñate on his Spit At Stars EP and in 2008, featured on an episode (season 1, episode 4) of Breaking Bad. “Didn’t I” was also featured in the 2010 film Saint John of Las Vegas in a scene featuring Steve Buscemi and In 2009, the song “Legs” was featured in an episode (season 1, episode 8) of the American version of Life on Mars. In 2010, “Didn’t I” was featured in the films Night Catches Us and Jack Goes Boating. It also appeared in the New Element video, Future Nature. In 2013, “Didn’t I” was featured on a LateNightTales compilation mixed by Bonobo (musician) (Late Night Tales: Bonobo). In the same year, “Didn’t I” was featured in the third instalment of the Spanish Apartment trilogy, Chinese Puzzle starring Romain Duris. It was used as an ending theme in an episode (season 2, episode 1) of Lovesick . “Didn’t I” was covered by the English electronic music duo HONNE on their 2015 EP “Coastal Love”. “Didn’t I” was also featured on Episode 1, Season 1 of “The Black List”.

  • Dex
    Posted at 15:56h, 30 March 2019 Reply

    A cult favorite who escaped mainstream notice for decades.

  • julio cesar
    Posted at 16:11h, 30 March 2019 Reply

    Estupendo , bellisimo , sublime !!!

  • Mayra Mendez
    Posted at 16:13h, 30 March 2019 Reply

    que bellezaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • Eric
    Posted at 15:26h, 31 March 2019 Reply

    Dope as hell

  • Craig
    Posted at 00:09h, 02 April 2019 Reply

    When music was great.

  • R. Sanders
    Posted at 23:11h, 03 April 2019 Reply

    ❤️ Awesome album ❤️

  • Paddy
    Posted at 23:36h, 03 April 2019 Reply

    He is criminally under-recognised

  • Anouk
    Posted at 23:48h, 03 April 2019 Reply

    Vraiment puissant ce qui dégage ce mec

  • Daryll
    Posted at 19:22h, 05 April 2019 Reply

    OMG A BLAST FROM THE PAST TIMELESS REAL MUSIC SPEAK FOR ITSELF!

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