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Let My People Go

Wednesday, Jan 18 2006
After years of languishing in relative obscurity on many a record fiend's Holy Grail list, this compilation of six songs previously released as small-run 45s (along with three recent demo reel discoveries) by former Bay Area pimp and lifelong soul man Darondo finally enjoys a proper release. "Didn't I" is the song that garnered Darondo relative fame; with his jangly guitar and softly swelling strings as accompaniment, he tells a tale of doing everything right and still being wronged in a heart-rending falsetto. He also finds time to honor his mother and father (through the uptempo funk of "My Momma and My Poppa"), to offer stinging social commentary (as on the righteous title track), and to pay homage to his favorite female body part (on the just-this-side-of-nasty "Legs"). At times, Darondo sounds like a young Al Green (especially on the horn-driven "How I Got Over"), but elsewhere his country twang takes center stage. The album features a few new overdubs from the man himself and from S.F.'s Bing Ji Ling, but they're nothing that gets in the way of the power and beauty of these recordings from some 30 years ago.

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Ross Viator


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