Alec Palao is a music historian and reissue producer and quite possibly, the world’s leading expert on the Music City catalog.

The label was one of the most storied in Bay Area music history though you’d be forgiven if you’ve never heard of it given that it was always more of a local, independent operation than anything approaching the size/scope of Fantasy or similar Bay Area imprints. Nonetheless, for three decades, Music City was one of the outlets for Black music in the Bay, through many different evolutions of style. Until recently, much of Music City was only known to record collectors given that the catalog was under the lock and key of reclusive founder/owner Ray Dobard. However, after his passing a few years ago, the catalog finally has been given the revisit it richly deserves, including a sprawling 3-CD boxset, two artist-oriented anthologies (for sweet soul favorite Darondo and young funkateers, Two Things In One) plus a separate, funk-oriented compilation. Alec and I talked about most of this and, in the process, dipped back into the deep well of the Bay Area’s music history, with an unexpected detour into a Soul Sides disco classic.

The Sidebar #16: Alec Palao

Music in this episode:

  • Music City Swingers: Passing Thru Music City
  • The Heavenly Tones: He’s All Right (both from The Music City Story)
  • Darondo: Didn’t I
  • Darondo: I Don’t Understand It
  • Darondo: I’m Lonely (all from Listen to My Song)
  • Two Things In One: Snag Nasty
  • Two Things In One: Thangs (both from Together Forever)
  • Skye: Ain’t No Need
  • Two Things In One: Together Forever
  • Two Things In One: Ohio (both from Together Forever)
  • Music City Swingers: Passing Thru Music City