Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Talkin' 'bout freedom

Darondo - "Let My People Go" (mp3)
(purchase here)

In times of trouble, people often turn to art for comfort.

So, any artist should be damned if they didn't jump on that and respond!

While '60s flower pop is often held as the gold standard of this idealism, crafty artists from across time have proven to be no less responsive. In a classic case of Got To Give The People-itis, JB easily flipped between "Sex Machine" and "Say It Loud" (yes, I know, not in that order) at the turn of a heel. Even Ike "Choke a Bitch" Turner proved adept at running from "Getting Nasty" to "Black Beauty" on his A Black Man's Soul LP, hardly diminishing nor contradicting the intention of either cut. In this manner, artists seldom operate strictly within monolithic marketing terms (or, at least one would hope so). After all, would you consider these examples to be socially conscious moments of unconscious artists? The deliberateness of their actions would indicate that they were quite aware the entire time...

This spirit of do all/why not? wafts through Darondo's Let My People Go, Ubiquity's reissue of one of the Bay Area's best kept secrets. Known mostly to deep record collectors for his three rare 7"s of hushed-funk, the mystery man is presented here as a musical dandy, a pimp sauntering through styles with great style and self-conscious care. One moment, he channels Rev. Al to plead "Didn't I," the next he defiantly demands "Let My People Go." Sexy click rhythms like There's a Riot..., yet boldly intense like... There's a Riot..., Darondo conjures a being simmering between Sly and Syl... mixed with a lil' of Andre's salaciousness. Darondo is still the man about town (though not with a Rolls Royce with "DARONDO" plates that get props from the Chairman), but keeps quite on much of his affairs. Perhaps understandable -- keep 'em guessin'! Maybe it's time for a Crooked Lettaz post?

Peep Ubiquity's page for more speculation on the man, along with some hilarious clips from his public access TV show in the '80s.

Special thanks to Aaron!


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