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Showing posts with label Omnivore Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Omnivore Records. Show all posts

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Soul icon Darondo dies at 67

1946 – 2013
Omnivore Recordings is saddened to report the passing of funk and soul icon Darondo from heart failure this past Sunday (June 9).
Born and bred in Berkeley, California, Darondo – given name William Daron Pulliam – first played professionally at the age of 18 in The Witnesses, a blue-eyed soul troupe resident at East Bay teen club the Lucky 13 in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until the early 1970s that the singer-guitarist hit his stride. He fashioned a unique blend of street soul, informed by Al Green, the Dells and others, but always identifiable by his own special delivery, sliding from gravelly baritone to wailing falsetto in the space of a measure.
By the late 1970s Darondo had left the music business and his subsequent adventures – cable video personality, globe-trotting entertainer, unorthodox therapist, and rebirth as a cult performer in the late 2000s – make for a colorful story that demonstrated the compassion and humanity of this unique individual.
Darondo’s recording career was sporadic originally stretching to just three self-penned singles, “How I Got Over,” “Legs,” and “Didn’t I,” the last named released on the Berkeley-based Music City label in late 1973. “Didn’t I” has subsequently become the artists signature tune, having been sampled and featured on soundtracks, and for many this heartbreaking downtempo ballad is their introduction to the intoxicating world of Darondo.
In 2008, reissue producer Alec Palao uncovered the tapes for two albums worth of material recorded by Darondo during his tenure at Music City in 1973 and 1974, which were subsequently assembled as Listen To My Song: The Music City Sessions, released on Omnivore Recordings/BGP in 2011. The appearance of a full set of Darondo in his prime, preening and pleading in equal measure on a brace of fantastic originals, was greeted with unanimous acclaim, not least by the artist himself, who had despaired of ever hearing the recordings again. His first reaction to hearing the dacades old masters was to excitedly proclaim, “This is the root, you got the root!”
For those who are not familiar with the idiosyncratic genius of Darondo, Listen To My Song: The Music City Sessions is indeed the root, and a fine tribute to the unique artistry of this one-of-a-kind individual.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Classic Southern soul from Minaret Records reissued on Omnivore Recordings August 13

The South Side of Soul Street: The Minaret Soul Singles 1967-1976 features
Willie Cobbs, Big John Hamilton, Leroy Lloyd & the Dukes, Doris Allen
and other under-the-radar soul greats.
VALPARAISO, Fla. — For decades, Memphis and Muscle Shoals have been praised as the premier Southern soul recording capitals, and rightly so. But any comprehensive list of important R&B studio destinations should also include Valparaiso, located on Florida’s Panhandle, not far from the Alabama state line. That’s where Finley Duncan established the Playground Recording Studio in 1969, producing a series of stunning singles for his Minaret Records label (distributed by Shelby Singleton’s SSS International Records) that inexplicably avoided the charts but stand tall with legions of R&B aficionados.
Having explored the California East Bay’s vibrant soul/funk scene with its three-volume Music City Sessions, and solo outings by Darondo (Listen to My Song: The Music City Sessions) and The Two Things in One (Together Forever: The Music City Sessions), Omnivore Recordings now celebrates Southern R&B with The South Side of Soul Street: The Minaret Soul Singles 1967-1976. Street date is August 13, 2013.
This two-CD, 40-track collection gathers all of the A’s and B’s of Minaret’s soulful sides for the very first time. Many of these tracks have been out of print for decades, commanding top dollar on the collector’s market. While the music is enticing enough, the package features a full-color booklet with extensive liner notes by music historian Bill Dahl detailing the history of the label and studio, as well as the stories of the artists whose work is showcased on these 20 singles.
Minaret boasted a stable of soul and blues artists who were rich in talent, even if not in hits. Big John Hamilton was one of Minaret’s anchoring artists, represented here with 18 tracks (including four duets with Doris Allen). Among his backing musicians were Muscle Shoals stalwart Spooner Oldham and the Memphis Horns. Hamilton was managed by fellow Minaret artist and guitarist Leroy Lloyd, whose instrumental “Sewanee Strut” is featured here. No Minaret artist boasted the track record of harpist Willie Cobbs, best known for the widely covered blues classic “You Don’t Love Me.” His 1968 session (“I’ll Love Only You” “Don’t Worry About Me”) is included in this collection.
Featuring photographs and commentary from Playground staff past and present, The South Side of Soul Street: The Minaret Soul Singles 1967-1976 adds to Omnivore’s reputation as “the Smithsonian of record labels, finding, preserving and championing some of the greatest (and most endangered) music of the past 50 years,” according to Popshifter’s Cait Brennan.
If you’re wondering which side of the street has the best music, it’s South Side of Soul Street: The Minaret Soul Singles 1967-1976.
Big John Hamilton: “The Train,” “Big Bad John,” “I Have No One,” “I Just Want To Thank You” (1967)
Genie Brooks: “Fine Time,” “Juanita” (1967) 
The Double Soul: “Blue Diamonds,” “I Can’t Use You” (1968)
Big John Hamilton: “Big Fanny,” “How Much Can a Man Take” (1969)
Big John Hamilton: “Pretty Girls,” “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” (1969)
Johnny Dynamite: “The Night the Angels Cried,” “Everybody’s Clown” (1969)
Genie Brooks: “Helping Hand,” “South Side of Soul Street” (1969)
Big John Hamilton: “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” “Love Comes and It Goes.” (1969)
Leroy Lloyd and The Dukes: “Sewanee Strut,” “A Taste of the Blues (1969)
Willie Cobbs: “I’ll Love Only You,” “Don’t Worry About Me” (1969)
Big John Hamilton: “If You’re Looking for a Fool,” “Take This Hurt Off Me Fool” (1969)  
Doris Allen: “A Shell of a Woman,” “Kiss Yourself for Me” (1969)
Gable Reed: “I’m Your Man,” “Who’s Been Warming My Oven” (1969)  
Big John Hamilton & Doris Allen: “A Place in My Heart,” “Let a Little Love In” (1969)
Willie Gable: “Row Row Row,” “Eternally”  (1969)
John Hamilton & Doris Allen: “Them Changes,” “Bright Star” (1970)
Big John Hamilton: “Lift Me Up,” “Just Seeing You Again” (1970)
Count Willie with LRL and The Dukes: “I’ve Got To Tell You” (1975)
LRL and The Dukes: “Double Funk” (1975)
Big John Hamilton: “I Got To Get Myself Somebody,” “Free Me” (1976)
Hear a preview of Omnivore Recordings'  The South Side of Soul Street: The Minaret Soul Singles 1967-1976 here

Founded in 2010 by highly respected, longtime industry veterans Cheryl Pawelski, Greg Allen, Dutch Cramblitt, and Brad Rosenberger, Omnivore Recordings preserves the legacies and music created by historical, heritage, and catalog artists while also releasing previously unissued, newly found “lost” recordings and making them available for music-loving audiences to discover. Omnivore Recordings is distributed by Caroline.