A mystery to most, Darondo records are high on the wants-lists of many collectors. He opened-up for James Brown and lived a colorful lifestyle hanging with folks like the notorious Fillmore Slim. Take a listen to these tracks, released for the first time together on an album, and you may agree that he could have been the next Al Green or Sly Stone. But about 25 years ago Darondo disappeared.
Releasing three singles in the early 70s he mixed low-rider soul with blues and R’n’B. He delivered in a variety of styles from the socially-charged “Let My People Go“ to the sexually-driven funk of “Legs“. All three singles were recorded in the Bay Area, and both sides of each of the singles are fantastic productions.
“You can hear a little bit of everything,“ says Darondo about his music style. “There’s a little jazz and a little soul. They say if you Black you supposed to have soul. I got Latin flavor in me so there’s some Latin in it. Definitely got the Blues in it. I sound kinda‘ country but I grew up in the Bay Area,“ he adds.
But after the release of his three 45s Darondo stopped recording. “It was mostly me, just having a good time with a real good hobby,“ he says. “It wasn’t about money but about having fun. Something I just liked to do. Maybe your dream is to be a James Brown or Frank Sinatra but those were just mostly dreams to me. I thought about it, but this was just a hobby for me. I liked competing musically with my friends. That was fun.“
Darondo now lives in Northern California with his wife and family and is delighted to hear his music is getting a second wind courtesy of DJs and collectors like the UK-based Gilles Peterson who recently picked “Didn’t I“ for his Digs America compilation.
The six tracks from the three original singles are featured here, along with three previously unreleased songs that were recently discovered on a demo reel.