Darondo | “Didn’t I”
Darondo- A major favorite in funk collectors’ circles, sweet soul crooner Darondo was born William Pulliam in Berkeley, CA. After receiving his first guitar at the age of eight, he later teamed with a handful of school friends to form the house band at the Lucky 13, an area teen club. According to Oliver Wang’s profile in the April/May 2006 issue of Wax Poetics, Pulliam later trained as an electrician but retained his musical aspirations, and in 1970 cut his first Darondo single, “How I Got Over,” for the fledging independent label Ocampo. Suggesting an earthier, street-smart Al Green, the record was hampered by distribution problems but nevertheless became a fixture on local radio station KSOL, earning Darondo the attention of Ray Dobard’s Music City imprint. Despite recording an entire LP’s worth of material, the label issued just one lone single, the lush “Didn’t I.” Darondo also opened for James Brown and enjoyed an extended residency at the famed San Francisco club Bimbo’s, but following a third single, the obscure Af-Fa World release “Legs,” his music career ground to a halt. He spent the remainder of the decade as a pimp before abandoning the life in 1981 to host a series of local cable television showcases including Darondo’s Penthouse After Dark, Doze Comedy Videos, and the children’s program Tapper the Rabbit. After spending the late ’80s on the Fiji Islands, Darondo returned to Berkeley and studied physical therapy. When the acclaimed 2005 compilation Gilles Peterson Digs America vaulted “Didn’t I” to the attention of soul aficionados across the globe, the race to discover the singer’s current whereabouts was on, and in 2006 the Luv ‘N Haight label released Let My People Go, collecting Darondo’s three classic singles as well as several unreleased cuts from the same sessions.
*Ef introduced me to a couple of tracks by this slick old man and I had to admit that I would have very likely been one of those otherwise respectable young ladies throwing my draws at him. He’s just too cool for my panties.