Rodriguez - Cold Fact (Vinyl)

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Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, known professionally as Rodriguez (born July 10, 1942), is an American singer-songwriter from Detriot, Michigan. His music career initially proved disappointing in the United States, but unknown to Rodriguez his albums became extremely successful and influential in South Africa, where he is believed to have sold more records than Elvis! His work also found a following in some other countries in Africa, and also in Australia and New Zealand. Because information about him was scarce, it was incorrectly rumoured there that he had committed suicide shortly after releasing his second album.
In the 1990s, determined South African fans managed to find and contact Rodriguez, which led to an unexpected revival of his musical career. This was told in the 2012 award-winning documentary film Searching For Sugar Man and helped give Rodriguez a measure of fame (finally!) in his home country.

Cold Fact is his debut album. It was released in the United States on the Sussex label in March 1970. The album sold very poorly in the United States (Rodriguez was himself an unknown in the U.S.), but managed to sell well in both South Africa (leading to his rebirth there 25 years later) and Australia with Rodriguez touring Australia extensively in 1979 as he still remained relatively unknown in his native country of the US. This record has since sold over 350,000 units worldwide in recent time, thanks to its reissuing by Universal Music.

 



I guess that if you are reading this you will already know something about Rodriguez, but if you haven't already done so, go and see the movie "Searching for Sugar Man". Lots of tracks from this album and an unbelievable story make it one of the most enjoyable music documentaries ever.

A good friend of mine had this album way back and we used to listen to it quite a lot - no one else had heard of it. I had no idea of how popular it was at the time in neighbouring South Africa (we never heard it on South African radio - if you have seen the movie you will understand why). A few years later I managed to pick up a second-hand vinyl copy in England - the only time I have ever seen it on sale anywhere.

Quite a lot has been said by South Africans about how this album became the soundtrack of their lives in the apartheid era. Living close to that country at the time, I can understand now how it resonated with them, but for my own part I was fortunate enough to live in a less repressive environment and I can't really say that "Cold Fact" had that sort of overt impact on me. Instead it is the subtlety of this obscure album that unconsciously left a deep impression on me. The combination of Rodriguez's rich voice, his lyrics and his melodic hooks have continued to pop up unbidden into my mind ever since. A word or a phrase, seemingly unrelated, can still trigger a recall of one of the lines of his songs. I often have to ask myself what song they come from, and the answer is "Oh yes, of course - Rodriguez!" A sure sign of the power of this highly underrated artist whose songwriting is as relevant today as it was in 1970.

By: Trevor Aylaton.


A1 Sugar Man
A2 Only Good For Conversation
A3 Crucify Your Mind
A4 This Is Not A Song, It's An Outburst: Or, The Establishment Blues
A5 Hate Street Dialogue
A6 Forget It
B1 Inner City Blues
B2 I Wonder
B3 Like Janis
B4 Gommorah (A Nursery Rhyme)
B5 Rich Folks Hoax
B6 Jane S. Piddy



All songs written by Sixto Rodriguez, except (5, 10) by Gary Harvey, Mike Theodore and Dennis Coffey. Recorded in Detroit in August and September 1969.

1 x 180g Heavyweight Vinyl via Universal Music.