Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Body of work

After a riveting premiere, I've mostly had AMC's Breaking Bad on my back burner, due to an always busy Sunday night -- thanks in part to The Wire. I was recently finally able to catch up and was once again taken in by the story of Walt White and his turn to criminal activity in the face of impending death. More than that, though, was a song that ended this week's episode by a soul singer named Darondo.

But, to back up a bit, these past couple episodes demonstrate a series that is taking it's sweet time -- just like a good soul singer. Here I thought Walt would be cooking meth and moving along in the underground. But here we are three episodes in and he's only made one batch, and instead has been cleaning up the mess from the first entry into the field. And what a mess it was. The tie to chemistry this week was poignant with Walt in flashback, breaking down the ingredients of the human body, all in parallel to Walt and Jesse cleaning up the acid-dissolved remains of Emilio. The episode was dark and slow moving, which made Dorondo's "Didn't I" feel that much more sweet and moving.

The song itself sounds like a long lost Al Green classic, and afterwards, I rushed to my computer to find out more about this singer. Daron "Get that Dough" Pulliam, it turns out, was a big player in the San Francisco soul scene in the 1970's, opening for James Brown and famous for riding around in a white Rolls Royce with a personalized DARONDO license plate. He recorded just three singles -- which in addition to "Didn't I" included "Let My People Go" and the funky "Legs" -- and then, gave it up. These singles became a holy grail for collectors, and finally in 2006, the six songs from them were collected along with three previously unreleased to form the compilation Let My People Go, on Ubiquity Records.

Since the release of this, Darondo has gotten the bug to perform again, and will be performing at Ubiquity Records' showcase at SXSW. It makes for a nice story, especially one that started out with the acid-dissolved remains of a body.

Playlist: Breaking Bad - Episode 1.03
1. "Fly" - The Pack
2. "Baby Girl, I'm A Blur" - Say Anything
3. "String Quartet in D major, Op. 64, No. 5, "The Lark", Hob. III63 - Adagio cantable" - Franz Joseph Haydn
4. "Didn't I" - Darondo
AMC episode-by-episode track listing

Previously: Desperation and Transformation (Episode 1.01)

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