It’s a song about a certain day. This day. December 21, 2012.
William Pulliam, aka Darondo, is a soul and funk singer from the San Francisco Bay area who cut several sides in the early 70s, but only three singles were released. Eventually, he drifted off into other professions, like, a pimp (supposedly), a local cable TV host, and a student of electrical engineering and physical therapy. He even lived in the Fiji Islands for a spell. All that changed when British super-DJ and record collector Gilles Peterson included one of those obscure singles, “Didn’t I” (YouTube above) on a compilation of literally rare grooves called Gilles Peterson Digs America.
That made Darondo a cult favorite among soul connoisseurs and catapulted him back into the music biz. A long overdue compilation of his singles, both released and unreleased, were culled into an album titled Let My People Go. Now he’s back with new material, backed by another Bay Area act, The Park, who have served as the backing band to Alice Russell, Jesse Boykins, Big K.R.I.T. Keelay, and more. A single about the last day on the Mayan calendar, “2012,” is the first fruit of their collaboration, and it just went on sale at the iTunes Store earlier this week.
Listen to “2012” here:
The coming together of one old-school Bay Area act with a new-school one created some intriguing results. Darondo’s voice is in fine form, no doubt benefitting from the rest it’s gotten from all his time away from performing. His classic pleading, falsetto-laden Al Green-meets-James Brown prototypical 70s soul croon is perfectly intact, save it being just a half notch deeper. Only this time, instead of being backed by a gritty rhythm guitar and Philly-styled strings, there’s a chugging beat, high synth washes and low synth bleats vying with drums and vintage soul electric guitar. While the music speaks of the past and future, the lyrics talk of right now, and Darondo is urging us to “better get ready for the judgment day,” today. Mostly, it’s a one chord vamp but that frees up Darondo to freestyle it a bit. He can still do it like he’s never been away.
Darondo teamed up with The Park on not just this single, but also a whole new album. Going by what they laid down here, this could be interesting …
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