13th June 2013
William Daron Pulliam – better known as funk and soul icon Darondo – passed away from heart failure on Sunday June 9th.
Born and bred in Berkeley, California, Darondo 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 down-and-dirty funk and sweet soul, informed by Al Green, James Brown, the Dells and others, but always identifiable by his own special delivery, as he slid from gravelly baritone to wailing falsetto in the space of a measure. Being a musician was however just one facet of this gregarious, flamboyant individual, who made the scene in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area with snazzy threads and a tricked-out Rolls Royce Silver Cloud as his wheels.
14th April 2013
I only ever met George Henry Jackson once, but it was an occasion I’ll never forget. In January 2010 my Ace colleague Dean Rudland and I left our Muscle Shoals hotel in the small hours of the morning, to drive several hundred miles in weather conditions that ‘appalling’ would be far too kind a word to describe, braving snowdrifts and sub-zero temperatures at an ungodly hour to keep a 10AM appointment to interview George and Harrison Calloway at Malaco’s famous Jackson, MS studios. We were nervous and excited at the prospect of meeting a couple of our musical heroes, and the fact that we were a little late in arriving made us even more so – particularly as both men were already sitting in the Malaco lobby waiting for us when we got there.
29th October 2012
On my first day at work in July 1990, the very first record that I worked on was the Acid Jazz reissue of Terry Callier's 'I Don't Want To See Myself'. This record had been championed on the modern soul scene by Dr Bob Jones, and Eddie Piller had tracked down Terry to his home in Chicago to license the record. Terry had retired from the music industry about eight years previously and retrained as a computer programmer so that he could be at home to look after his daughter Sundiata.
7th July 2012
It was with great regret that we learned of the sudden death of Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, bass player extraordinaire, at the tragically early age of 70. He was the very archetype of the solid, deep-in-the-groove bass players, always on the button with the rhythm and punching on the accents perfectly. In Booker T and The MGs he meshed with Al Jackson’s sparse drum patterns, forming the bridge to Steve Cropper’s chopping guitar phrasing and allowing Booker T Jones Hammond to float on top, together making up the most perfect instrumental group ever to have laid down a groove - and what a groove.
19th January 2012
Pioneering rhythm and blues singer, songwriter, drummer, bandleader, disc jockey and good friend to Ace, Johnny Otis sadly passed away last week at the age of 90. Alec Palao pays tribute to the music legend who also happened to officiate at his wedding.