"Didn't I" by DARONDO

Soul legend Darondo's music stands the test of time
Good things come to those who wait. Like all clichés, this sentence seems painfully banal, but contains a certain unavoidable truth. In the case of legendary soul musician Darondo, this cliché rings especially true. The late San Francisco native released the emotional single “Didn’t I” in 1973, receiving mild attention in the West Coast funk and soul community, selling a relatively meager 35,000 copies. Darondo’s musical pursuits never gained significant traction after the release of the single and his music career fizzled out by the late 1970s. After “Didn’t I” was featured on BBC Radio 1 in 2005, Darondo, at the time a physical therapist, was rediscovered by the music world and signed with Ubiquity Records at 60 years young.
The impassioned ballad, now critically acclaimed and re-released by Ubiquity in 2006, meanders along at a relaxed pace while lamenting the confused despair of a simultaneously broken-hearted and love struck young man. Supported by a background of crescendoing organs, twittering flutes, and streaking violins, Darondo’s smoothly raspy voice brings to mind (if one can imagine) a male version of Macy Gray’s signature vocal style. Bouncing bass lines and cheerfully swaying guitar allow the song to appear light and pleasant, but if one chooses to dip below the surface and listen carefully, the pain and hopelessness in Darondo’s voice is hauntingly discernible. Although it may have taken over 30 years, Darondo garnered the attention he deserved in the later years of his life, seeing “Didn’t I” and other tracks featured in several major films in the last decade. In 2013, Darondo crossed the finish line of life in style, on top of the world, showing us all that it’s never too late.