Songs of Obsession: Bobby Womack, Tammi Terrell, William Smith: Oh Baby!



Bobby Womack: Baby, You Oughta Think It Over
From 7″, also on Fly Me to the Moon (Minit, 1969)

Tammi Terrell: Baby Don’tcha Worry
From 7″, b-side of “Come On and See Me” (Motown, 1966). Also on The Essential Collection.

William D. Smith: I Feel So Good With You (Baby)
From A Good Feelin’ (Warner Bros, 1976)

I admit – the “baby” theme was just an excuse to post up some recent songs (and one that’s been waiting in the queue) and I was too lazy to think of something more original. Of course, I realized I have a few dozen other eligible “baby” songs so who knows? Maybe we’ll have a part deux somewhere down the line.

I am serious about the “songs of obsession” thing though – all three of these songs have clocked repeat-repeat-repeat listenings from me at some point and I’ve been waiting to find an excuse to post them up so, voila.

It began with the Bobby Womack song – I had never heard Fly Me to the Moon until recently and while the entire LP didn’t blow me away, I loved “Baby, You Oughta Think It Over” enough to hunt it down on 7″. I’ve never been the biggest Womack fan – it’s not that I don’t think he’s talented but for whatever reason, he just wasn’t at the top of my list of favorites. This one song though? Love it. It’s all in how Womack stretches out “ooooooovvvver.” (It’s not just that – I really dig the arrangement and Womack’s voice in general but that one note was enough to win me over. Everything else is a grand bonus).

The Terrell is such a damn great example of the mid-60s Motown groove that it makes me downright embarrassed that I’ve never owned a Terrell single (let alone album). I’ve probably given Motown the cold shoulder for too long (not like I’ve avoided the entire label writ larger, but I was always more of a Stax man and sometimes, that meant putting the blinders on in regards to how astounding Motown could be) and a song like Terrell’s makes me re-evaluate a lot of things. This song brings such a smile to my entire being and I especially like the unexpected key change (at least, I think it’s a key change) at the chorus mark. This isn’t the most sophisticated R&B song ever recorded but it plain works as a mid-tempo dance track. Never appeared on an album…except a Terrell/Marvin Gaye duets album where Gaye’s vocals were added after the fact. I prefer this 7″ original with just Terrell on it (sorry Marvin!)

Lastly, I’m genuinely surprised I never put up this William Smith song before – clearly an oversight on my part since it’s long been a personal favorite. I don’t know a ton about Smith but I can only assume he’s from the Gulf Coast since Allen Toussaint produced his album. I’ll be the first to admit: as far as ballads go, the Smith borders on being a bit bland yet there’s something about that bass guitar riff and the plain earnestness in Smith’s vocals that wins me over. From a formalist point of view, I have a hard time making the case for why I like this so much but I just do. Hope others feel the same way.

Songs of Obsession: The Brothers of Soul


Brothers of Soul: A Lifetime
From 7″ (Boo, 1968). Also on I Guess That Don’t Make Me a Loser.

I don’t use the word “perfect” very often (well, actually, ok, I probably do) but if ever there were a song that should inspire such an honorific – here it is.

I discovered this 45 a few weeks ago, along with my friend Hua – it was some crappy lo-digi-fi copy of the tune but it was still promising enough that we both went out and hunted out the original that evening. Hua got his earlier, digitized that sucker and sent it over. Suffice to say, within minutes, the song quickly became an instant classic in my personal catalog.[1]

Every single part of this song just works: that anchoring piano melody, the background vocals, the rich voice of Fred Bridges singing, “…but I have no regrets” to begin his verses and the changes in the arrangement. The first minute of the song alone makes me want to crawl inside it and live there forever but make sure you get to the end where the sweet soul harmonies of Ben Knight and Robert Eaton come flying in unexpectedly. I tend to throw around terms like “sublime” a bit loosely at times but this song resets the bar and then some. I can’t say enough about it.

Soul Sides’ readers have heard the group before – in a manner of speaking – on my Ruby Andrews post from October. The BKE collaboration of Bridges, Knight and Eaton were discovered by Zodiac Records’ Ric Williams and they ended up one of Andrews’ main producers/composers/arrangers for her first album (Everybody Saw You) while Eaton and Williams produced most of her Black Ruby LP. Unfortunately, though the BoS had a few decent hits on 45, they never became major stars on their own and instead, were more successful working with other artists (a pity). That I Guess That Don’t Make Me a Loser is the definitive (by virtue of being the only) anthology of their 7″s and is well worth checking out just to hear their slim but grand catalog of music. (It includes their $200+ Northern Soul track, “I’d Be Grateful” which is also amazing). Also, please see Soulful Detroit’s long profile of Fred Bridges and the Brothers of Soul, a fantastic resource of information on BKE and their work.


[1] I must give ample credit to Hua here since the version of “A Lifetime” I’m using here was the one he digitized. I had a copy of the song from CD which played “cleaner” in terms of crackle and dust but the fidelity felt muddled and muted whereas the analog brightness of Hua’s version captured the song’s essence much better I thought. Alas, I’m still waiting for my copy of the 45 to arrive in the mail and I just hope it plays this clean.

By the way, Hua’s blog has turned into an informal audioblog, with a ton of goodies (two words: Donovan Carless. Two more: Blvd Mosse). Be sure to check out his cell-phone-vids of Egyptian Lover rocking Brooklyn, platinum pyramid style.

JENNIFER HOLLIDAY/HUDSON: YOU’RE GONNA LOVE THIS

Jennifer Holliday: And I’m Telling You, I’m Not Going Away
From Dreamgirls (Original Broadway Cast) (Decca, 1982)

Jennifer Hudson: And I’m Telling You, I’m Not Going Away
From Dreamgirls (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Sony, 2006)

I’m breaking away from James Brown contemplations to share a small, personal confession: I haven’t cried in years. At most, once or twice in the last 10 years and even then, not since the late ’90s. I’m sure this is something a therapist could get to the bottom to but regardless, it takes a lot to move me to tears.

I share this because the closest I’ve come recently was listening to Jennifer Hudson sing “And I Am Telling You, I’m Not Going Away.” The song has been mentioned in practically every review you can read about Dreamgirls but I was listening to the song prior to seeing the movie (which I finally did today). That’s extraordinary, to me at least, that a recording would push me to the edge of some kind of emotional catharsis. When I saw the film – even though I knew the scene was coming, even though I knew what to expect from the song, it once again hit me somewhere deep. Not surprisingly, the theatre erupted in applause and catcalls and I’ve read that at some screenings, people arose in standing ovations. For a movie, ok?

I’ve been trying to figure out what it is about the song that’s so powerful – and I’m not the only one. (By the way, can I just say that I love the fact that there still exists an opportunity for people to write criticism about a single song whether it’s Slate.com, the NY Times or even, yes, Pitchfork.com). I thought Jody had some great things to say in his Slate piece, especially this graf:“The result is a cinematic diva moment for the ages: Even Judy Garland’s most iconic on-screen ballad performances seem small compared with the last lingering shot of Hudson, the camera whirling overhead as she blasts out a final “You’re gonna love me!” In fact, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” is a kind of summary of the great American diva tradition, our native answer to the grand opera aria-belters of the old world. The term diva has gotten rather watered down in current pop culture usage, to the point where the title is given to any moderately famous actress or singer with an air of hauteur about her and a personal trainer in her employ. But, in the classical musical formulation, Paris Hilton is certainly no diva—and for that matter, neither is Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston. Old-fashioned divadom entails not just an imperious attitude and a big voice, but a theme—pain, particularly as supplied by callous men and cruel fate—and a task: to transcend that anguish through cathartic declamation. You know the divas of whom I speak: Maria Callas, Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday, Garland, Aretha Franklin, and today’s Queen of Pain, Mary J. Blige. And now, perhaps, Jennifer Hudson.”As Jody suggests, it’s high-time the term “diva” gets reclaimed. I also thought it was important to also note: “In a society that still hasn’t solved the problems or purged the guilt of its racial legacy, the spectacle of a black woman stormily standing up for herself can feel less like pop song convention, and more like a call to conscience,” and though the film moves through issues of race and class with a conventionally light Hollywood touch, Hudson’s character far transcends that of “just a singer.” She’s belting out an intense cry of longing, pain, frustration and power that if you can’t feel it…well, you just can’t feel.

But for all this, I’ve been able to figure out what the moment is in the song where it just tears into me. It comes about 2/3rds the way through, after the more uptempo bridge has pulled back to allow Hudson to return to the main chorus, where she’s now stretched out every melismatic note as if her last (note: this is one case where the deservedly tired technique of melisma is actually executed exactly as it should be. American Idol twits please take notes and realize that if you can’t do pull this off, then don’t bother trying).

At around 3:40pm, Hudson screams, “I’m staying, I’m staying, and you, and you, and you, you’re gonna love me!” and the band bursts into full power right here with the song’s main musical motif – a simple but incredibly effective melodic passage that manages to accentuate Hudson’s singing beyond where her voice alone could take it…yet never detracts or attempts to compete with her performance. She holds that note – “meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” before taking it back again into, “you’re gonna love me” and the band makes sure that the longer you listen, the deeper you get pulled in with the gravity of it all.

Let’s be honest – the music for the song itself is really not much to write home about. Actually, the music in the entire film is nothing to write home about – but it’s at this moment where the accompaniment is essential to pushing the song to that proverbial next level where every beat of both Hudson’s vocals and the band ratchets up the energy level exponentially.

In the last year, I’ve had similar, transcendent experiences with particular songs – the two most powerful being on Roberta Flack’s “Gone Away” around 4 minutes in (listen to it and you’ll fundamentally understand why anyone would have thought to turn that passage into T.I.’s “What You Know”) and The Dells’ “Love Is Blue” at :40, when the singer and group put together that awesome contrapuntal exchange. As great as those moments are, what Hudson pulls off is something even more extraordinary, not the least of which is because she’s belting out with a gale force that Flack doesn’t attempt and the Dells can’t muster.

It’s best to take a pause here and note: Jennifer Holliday did this same song on Broadway originally and made it into the classic it is today and I would be incredibly irresponsible for not saying that what she did with that song 25 years ago is still the standard against which anything else that follows will be compared to and rightfully so. I loathe to have to compare the two even though it’s impossible not to and it’s impossible to take anything away from Holliday’s original. She has the more polished, nuanced voice, she has more performative experience to bring to the plate. What Hudson has in contrast is a rawness (not to mention incredible voice) and also the benefit of an expertly shot and choreographed cinematic apparatus that Holliday didn’t have. This is a long-winded way of saying that while Hudson doesn’t upstage Holliday’s original, she does enough with it to at least figuratively co-own the rights. Both are incredible. (By the way, the L.A. Times recently ran a story of how Holliday’s been shut out of the film project on every level despite the fact that her recording of the song is still being used to help push the movie. The irony is amazing. The story of Effie isn’t so fictional, after all (also, please see how Beyonce got the best actress nod while Hudson had to settle for supporting actress even though any halfwit could tell you that Dreamgirls is about Effie, not Deana).

I have more to say about the movie, its depiction of Motown and its music and the story of Florence Ballard (the tragic inspiration for Effie) but I’ll save that for another time. If you want a primer, read A.O. Scott’s review in the NY Times which I thought was very fair in its criticisms.

TOWA TEI: SUPERNOVA


Towa Tei: Technova
From Future Listening (Elektra, 1995)

A Tribe Called Quest: Find a Way
From The Love Movement (Jive, 1998)

Bonus Remix – Technova (O-Dubnova Edit)

For the longest time, all I really knew about “Technova” was that it was “that song by the Japanese guy in Deee-lite that ATCQ interpolated for “Find a Way” but I had never actually HEARD the song. (What’s also incredibly embarrassing is that I always thought the female vocals on the original (interpolated into the chorus for Tribe) was Japanese but when I learned it was Bebel Gilberto, I realized: oh, that was probably Portuguese. Doh).

Once I actually heard it, I realized: wow, this is a really great tune. However, the version I had heard on a few mixes began with Gilberto’s vocals done acapella and as you can hear on “Technova,” there is no such acapella moment. Paul Nice finally hepped me to the source: “Dubnova” (also on the Future Listening album) has an acapella intro though, overall, I like the arrangement of “Technova” more…

…which lead me to create the “O-Dubnova Edit” – combining the best parts of both songs. A Soul Sides exclusive!

(By the way, random SS moment: I was in a Trader Joe’s parking lot yesterday with my daughter when a stranger approached me and asked, “Excuse me, but are you Oliver Wang?” Turned out to be a Soul Sides fan. I’m just astounded people actually know what bloggers look like. I could get rolled on by the entire crews of both Music For Robots and Ear Fuzz and not realize it).

NICOLE WILLIS & THE SOUL INVESTIGATORS: A PERFECT KIND OF…


Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators: No One’s Gonna Love You + Soul Investigators Theme
From Keep Reachin’ Up (Timmion, 2005)

You need this album. You just do.

I’d say – “I slept on this” – but in all fairness, even if the album came out in 2005, it’s on a Swedish Finnish label that had limited U.S. distribution and it didn’t hit my radar until Seattle’s Light In the Attic picked it up (note: my radar = not that wide though). If you were already up on this from jump, then you’re lucky enough to have been enjoying this for a minute. If you hadn’t heard this album until now, then consider your day greatly improved by discovering an album that, as noted, you need.

I’m willing to go on record as saying that this among the best “nuevo-soul/funk” albums I’ve ever heard (a field that may seem small but actually covers a lot of ground including Sharon Jones, the Dap-Kings, The Whitehead Brothers, El Michels Affair, etc. What distinguishes it is how versatile both Willis and the S.I. are: there’s a real attempt at covering a range of R&B eras/styles here – not just the JB/Marva Whitney/Lyn Collins era of the late ’60s but there’s nods to the pop sound of early ’60s girl groups (“My Four Leaf Clover”), Brook Benton-esque crossover soul of the mid-60s (“A Perfect Kind of Love”), the lush, heavily produced style of ’70s soul (“Feeling Free”), and a few tracks that I don’t even know how to classify (“If This Ain’t Love”). I don’t think Willis has as strong a voice as someone like Jones but in terms of her ability to adapt to different styles, she does a fantastic job here and her songwriting also seems a step stronger.

The two songs I picked out are my favorites – both highlight the strength of the Soul Investigators chops as a band, especially their “Theme” which has this beautifully dreamy vibe to it but as good as that is, I’m even a bigger fan of “No One’s Gonna Love You” which takes a great song and then pushes it up a notch with a chorus that’s unexpected and for that reason, completely delightful.

Did I mention, you need this album? Yeah, ok.


Speaking of mind-blowing, I just posted this to Soul Sights, but fortheloveofgod, you have to check out this video of New Edition playing “Candy Girl”. I n c r e d i b l e.

SONGS OF OBSESSION: "LA MURGA" + "WATER GET NO ENEMY"


Willie Colon: La Murga
From Asalto Navideño (Fania, 1971)

Fela Ransome Kuti and Afrika 70: Water No Get Enemy
From Expensive Shit (Editions Makossa, 1975)

At my going-away party in S.F., DJ Matthew Africa dropped a short set that put two songs back to back that I should have been up on…but wasn’t…and both have still been blowing my mind almost two weeks later.

“La Murga (De Panama)” is one of the big hits to come from the partnership of Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon though I find it rather funny that such a rousing Latin dance anthem would have originally appeared on a Christmas album, of all places (then again, James Brown’s “I’m Black and I’m Proud” was from a Xmas album as well) (actually, totally makes sense).

Here’s what makes this song so great: it’s not just that wall of horns Colon throws at you at the very onset (though obviously, it helps)…it’s the melodic counterpoint that the guitar makes right after each brass proclamation, a small but utterly significant dynamic that gives the song more nuance and something for your ear to anticipate. Throughout the rest of the song, the interplay between brass and guitar is key and despite the other excellent percussive and melodic elements (not to mention Lavoe’s singing), they continue to power the song at its very core. This has automatically catapulted onto my top 10 Latin dance song playlist alongside others like Joe Cuba’s platinum-selling “Bang Bang” and my personal favorite, “Que Se Sepa” by Roberta Roena y su Apollo Sound.

I’ve listened to a decent amount of Fela’s stuff over the years but I either just let this slide past my radar or missed it completely but now I’m completely obsessed with it. I was instantly infatuated with it and here’s why: like most of Fela’s biggest Afro-funk songs, this track unfolds with a steady and sublime patience that reveals depths to the rhythm that might go otherwise missed unless you have the advantage of a longer view. But like “La Murga” what also makes the song such a pleasurable listen is how Fela brings in an electric keyboard…a softer, gentler sound for a song writhing in such thick rhythms and (once again) a monster brass section. The main riff are the horns (just like in “La Murga”) but it’s the piano that deepens the song’s personality and elevates it towards the sublime. Even though the song is nearly 11 minutes, I’ve put it on repeat over and over and simply lounge into its folds. Heavenly.

SONGS OF OBSESSION: DONNY HATHAWAY’S "WHAT A WOMAN REALLY KNOWS"


Donny Hathaway: What a Woman Really Means
From Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Brothers (Atlantic, 2006)

Laura Lee: What a Man
From Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Sisters (Atlantic, 2006)

These two volumes collect rare and unreleased songs from the Atlantic vaults – a plum job if there was one. There’s such a wealth of material in searching through the catalog of arguably the biggest soul label in history . However, I’ll be candid: I wasn’t a huge fan of either volume…I think there’s definitely stuff on here that hardcore soul collectors will appreciate and it will open the eyes of newer fans to songs off the beaten path but in terms of the kind of soul I especially like (aesthetically speaking), a lot of this just didn’t move me.

That said, I’m wholly enamored with the Donny Hathaway song. I’m always discovering and appreciating new songs by him and marveling at how me manages to announce his presence with just a two-note hum. You just KNOW a Donny Hathaway song by its sound and feel – it really speaks to the amazing personality he infused into his songs. This track is no exception and that chorus is killing me something wonderful with its chord changes and background vocals. So good. This is one of few songs on the comp that’s never been heard before and god bless ’em for that. (It was originally recorded during the Extension of a Man sessions but wasn’t released for whatever reason.

As for the Laura Lee…well, ya’ll know Linda Lyndell’s “What A Man” is one of my fave songs, especially since I put it up on the Soul Sides Vol. 1 comp so I couldn’t pass up a cover of it. I’m disappointed that the liner notes for the Soul Sisters CD fail to note that Lee’s song is a cover of Lyndell’s original. That aside, I’m tickled at how you have a Black woman covering a White woman, singing in an ostensibly “Black” style. It’s like Usher covering Justin Timberlake or something. (For the record: this is a cool cover but no way is it touching Lyndell’s original).

SONGS OF OBSESSION: THE DELLS’ "LOVE IS BLUE"


The Dells: I Can Sing a Rainbow/Love Is Blue
From Love Is Blue (Cadet, 1969). Also available on the Ultimate Collection.

V/A: I Can Rhyme In Colors Medley. Features snippets from:

  • Prince Paul: Open Your Mouth
    From Psychoanalysis (Tommy Boy, 1997)
  • Edan: I See Colours
    From Beauty & The Beat (Lewis, 2005)
  • Smut Peddlers: Red Light
    From “Talk Like Sex Pt. 2″ 12” (Eastern Conference, 1999). Also available on Porn Again (Revisted)
  • Ghostface: Shakey Dog
    From Fishscale (Def Jam, 2006)
  • Blu: My World Is…
    From Below the Heavens (Sound In Color, 2006 forthcoming)

There’s no rush quite like a song obsession, where you just need to keep hearing the same song over and over again, with no diminishing returns. Despite the volume of music I sift through, it’s not often that I become that infatuated with a track. The last one was Smith’s “Baby, It’s You” and today, it’s been all about the Dells’ “I Can Sing A Rainbow/Love Is Blue.”

Let me rewind a moment. In my interview with the LA Weekly, I make a point to note: “I appreciate how [hip-hop era] sampling opens a door into the past, but often what you find is that the original material is far and away better than however the song gets sampled.” This Dells song is as perfect an example as I can think of. I was listening to the Blu song and the first thought was, “oh, this is the same loop at Ghostface’s “Shakey Dog.” I went and tracked down the original source (i.e. the Dells) and played it for a friend who then remarked: “yeah, Edan used this too.” I was surprised since I know Edan’s catalog pretty well and I definitely didn’t remember him having a song that sounded like the Ghostface or Blu…but then I realized: he sampled a totally different part of the song. Ok, that’s three. But Edan, at the beginning of the song says, “Prince Paul already looped this” – it’s in the actual song that he acknowledges this – so I went back and indeed, Paul did use the same loop that Edan uses for the short “Open Your Mouth.” Finally, just to make sure my bases were covered, I checked the-breaks.com to see if I had everything covered and realized I had forgotten about the Smut Peddlers who used the Ghost/Blu portion back in 1999.

So here’s the thing: five songs, a few by artists I really genuinely like and respect, using the same sample source…and none of them come close, in their own songs, to touching how goddamn amazing this Dells is. I’m not disrespecting the rappers; I’m merely noting that the original song is just on some insanely sublime level and that there’s no fuggin’ way you can sample it and hope to do justice to the source.

What’s so great about this song? Three things. 1) The shift from the mellow, almost folksy “I Can Sing a Rainbow” and then the out-of-nowhere dip into the funky soul blast of “Love Is Blue”. 2) The call and response between the lead vocalist and the rhythm/brass sections, i.e. “Blue!” BLARE! Blue! BLARE! BLARE!” There’s that moment where you know the hammer is about to drop between voice and instruments and you just know it’s going to be incredible. 3) Check out the string arrangement that’s subtly slipped underneath following that call-and-response. It adds this extra musical layer which turns a really good song into a wholly awesome one.

Of the various hip-hop songs that have flipped the track, “Shakey Dog” makes the best use of it, especially in bringing in Marvin Jr.’s loooooooong note from the end of the song and pitching it up to a scream. On the other hand, the Smut Peddlers were wise to use “my world is blue!” line (as does Blu, albeit seven years later).

SONGS OF OBSESSION: SMITH’S "BABY, IT’S YOU"


Smith: Baby, It’s You
From A Group Called Smith (Dunhill, 1969)

Still on the road. Just got back from Seattle and Portland – I attended a day and a half of the 5th annual EMP Conference of which I’ve gone every year even though, this year, didn’t present. Some really great papers though and it was very, very good to run into many old friends and colleagues, many of whom I only see once a year. Based on some convos I had there, we might be hearing something more from UW-Madison’s Charles Hughes who brought us that great Muscle Shoals series of posts earlier this year – he’s got something about the intersection b/t soul and country music that I think is going to blow people’s minds. Likewise, good friend Joe Schloss gave an amazing paper on Sly Stone that he promises to convert into a post for us. There’s a few other papers I might try to solicit but we’ll see what works out.

The song below isn’t actually related to any of that but I learned about the Smith’s cover of the Shirelle’s “Baby, It’s You” when I was doing research on the Gayle McCormick album I wrote about earlier. She started in Smith before going solo and “Baby, It’s You” was their big hit. I. LOVE. THIS. SONG. Seriously, I cannot get enough of it. This is the exact kind of cover that gets me loopy with excitement. It’s familiar yet takes off in a completely different direction at the same time and McCormick just KILLS it on the vocal. Too bad the rest of the album was more or less unlistenable to me. I don’t care though, “Baby, It’s You” is good enough to hold down a double album of tepid tracks. I drove from Portland to Seattle and back and that song held me down for the 6 hour round trip.

Update, 3/5/16: RIP to Gayle McCormick

SONGS OF OBSESSION: DARONDO’S "DIDN’T I"


Darondo: Didn’t I + Let My People Go (snippet)
From Let My People Go (Luv N Haight, 2006)

Darondo: Didn’t I + Make It Right(?)
From Taped Interview with Justin Torres and Dave Gabriner (2005)

The last time I wrote about Darondo (and misspelled his name), people responded strongly to his song, “Didn’t I,” and hey, I can’t blame you: it’s one of the most sublime songs I’ve ever heard.

I recently had the opportunity to write about “Double D” Darondo (when the piece actually runs, I’ll let ya’ll know where it appears) and he’s such a fascinating figure. Raised in the Bay, he was leading a house band in Albany as a high school student. Became a pimp in the 1960s and stayed pimping until the early ’80s and in the middle of that, he dropped three singles (six songs total), all of which are ridiculously rare. Then he left the music business and hasn’t been back since.

Thankfully, the folks at Luv N Haight, with help from my friend Justin Torres, just released Let My People Go which not only includes those six songs, but also includes three songs from a previously unreleased reel recovered from some dusty box in Darondo’s attic (or so we assume).

Just because I like Darondo’s story and voice so much, I’m dropping a few cuts on you, including some special tracks. I had to put “Didn’t I” back into play just because it’s that damn good. I also put up a snippet of the album’s title track, a really amazing Black Power anthem that appeared on his last single, done for Af-Fa Records.

Now, here’s the bonus: Justin Torres and Dave Gabriner interviewed Darondo last fall, happened to borrow my mini-disc recorder for it. During the interview, he asked Darondo to blow the dust off his guitar and play some tunes; he hadn’t played or sung in a long time and there are points on the tape where he’s fumbling to remember what the lines are or what key the song was supposed to be played in. That said, even when fumbling, he’s mesmerizing.

With Justin’s permission, I included a short version of “Didn’t I” (he tried the song three times but never got past the first verse). I also included a song that Darondo never released (I don’t know if he ever recorded it) and lacking a title, I just dubbed it “Make It Right,” taken from one of the lines. You can hear Justin and Dave at the end, expressing how blown away they are by it. I second that emotion.

(I forgot to mention, in the early ’80s, Darondo started to host a variety of programs for Soul Beat, a local cable channel. The Luv N’ Haight website has clips from the show: truly bugged stuff. My favorite is “Wish you were here.”


2/25 Update: Weekend America ran a segment on Darondo today. In fact, they interview Justin and he mentions the songs taped above.


3/13 Update: “Didn’t I” is today’s NPR Song of the Day