I’ve always been the guy who gets heavily into things, fully immerses himself in them, them drops them to move onto the next thing. It’s not that I can’t commit, it’s just that I love so many things.
At one point I was really into animals. I worked at a wildlife rehabilitation center and at home I had a gopher tortoise, a painted turtle, a cat, a dog, and a parakeet. I was like Doctor fucking Doolittle. Then, as I matured and realized how much I was missing out on by spending all my time with animals…I dropped it. Just like that.
(I did not leave my animals to die BTW, they all died of old age…except for my tortoise who simply crawled away one day to live a life of fulfillment in the city I expect, and my parakeet who escaped through the garage one day, hopefully to rejoin his flock somewhere.)
I also used to be way into art. It was once regarded as a plain fact amongst my classmates that my friend Pete and I were going to be animators for Disney. Looking back now, and realizing that we were basically aspiring to be the bottom of the pile, it seems pretty naive. We might as well have aspired to be janitors. But anyway, soon I was no longer carrying around scrap books full of sketches and drawings. The same fate befell my coin collection, stamp collection and collection of Garbage Pail Kids (I still have all that shit in the attic though!)
Point is, my hobbies jump around a lot…just like Darondo.
After listening to the collection “Let My People Go,”it’s hard to believe he only released three 45′s in his short career. Even after that, he considered his music a hobby and never looked back at a musical career that never was. And it certainly might have been…especially when you listen to the title track ‘Let My People Go.’
Born William Puliam, Darondo was a Bay Area native who started playing in the seventies, releasing his three singles and playing four shows. His final show, opening for the Godfather of Soul himself, ended with Darondo getting into his white Rolls Royce and (licence plate: Darondo) and drove home. After that, no more music.
But that wasn’t the end of Darondo.
HE was soon traveling the world collecting all kinds of interesting artifacts, he became king of the early Bay Area cable scene putting out three shows a day, then went to work as a physical therapist. He lived a high lifestyle that would eventually sap his resources, but in his words “I used to get my suits tailor made, one of a kind, like my rings. A player can’t have the same ring as someone else. Got my rings specially made with diamonds and stones. But in order to get yourself together you had to get away from all the fastness. I was driving around in a Rolls Royce, I was a fast young man.”
And who doesn’t need some custom pimp rings?
His recordings are highly sought after by collectors, especially after getting serious airplay from Gilles Peterson and props from John Mayer. Mostly over his sound ‘Didn’t I?’ His sound is as hard to categorize as it is to get out of your head. A heavy mix of R&B, soul, funk, latin and blues, Darondo could have been a superstar had he continued on that path, but soon he was chasing another dream…then another.
Luv ‘N Haight recently compiled the six songs from his singles and added three more unfinished tracks found in a box with some VHS copies of his cable show into a smart little reissue. He recently has been working with San Francisco soul man Bing Ji Ling and says the experience has got him excited about music again, so keep your fingers crossed!
Don’t be left out on this one folks…you deserve better, and Darondo certainly delivers.