I don’t know if anyone remembers this album but it was and still is one of my all time favourites. It didn’t shake the world but COLD FACT by RODRIGUEZ is an album full of great songs that came out of the early seventies and slowly grew.
It is one of those classic albums that a musician creates only once in his lifetime.
COLD FACT could be described as a protest album, putting the injustices and hypocrisy Rodriguez saw under the micro scope for the rest of us to see.
I find these songs interesting and unusual and beautiful.
Songs such as “Sugar Man” describe the local dealer with all sorts of dreams to offer but as we know dreams have no substance without the person living them.
“I Wonder” a song about wondering about the world and the people in it and I love the heavy riff that weaves its way through “Only Good For Conversation”.
I had the pleasure of going to see Rodriguez when he toured Australia in the early eighties, a concert of the man and his guitar that kept the audience mesmerized for the two hours he played.
This is an album of songs that will stand the test of time and still be played when my grandchildren are my age. It’s interesting that such a great album was disregarded when it was first released to the world and took a little while for the world to recognise what a great album it really is.
1. “Sugar Man”
2. “Only Good For Conversation”
3. “Crucify Your Mind”
4. “This Is Not a Song, It’s an Outburst: Or, The Establishment Blues”
5. “Hate Street Dialogue”
6. “Forget It”
7. “Inner City Blues”
8. “I Wonder”
9. “Like Janis”
10. “Gomorrah (A Nursery Rhyme)”
11. “Rich Folks Hoax”
12. “Jane S. Piddy”
Rodrigues was actually born Sixto Diaz Rodriguez (also known as Rodriguez or as Jesus Rodriguez) and is an American folk musician, born in Detroit, Michigan on July 10, 1942.
He was named ‘Sixto’ (pronounced sees-to) because he was the sixth child in his family. Rodriguez’s parents were middle-class immigrants from Mexico, who left in the 1920s.
In most of his songs he takes a political stance on the cruelties facing the inner city poor.
In 1967 (under the name Rod Riguez) he released the single “I’ll Slip Away” through the small label ‘Impact’. He didn’t produce anything for another three years until he was signed to Sussex Records; an offshoot of the Buddah label.
It was after the move to Sussex that he changed his professional name to just Rodriguez. Rodriguez recorded two albums with Sussex—Cold Fact in 1970, and Coming from Reality in 1971. But after mixed reviews and low album sales he was later dropped from the label, which later folded in 1975.
After the failing to make an impact in America, he gave up his career as a musician. However, although he was relatively unknown in his home country by the mid 70s, his albums were starting to gain airplay in countries like South Africa, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), New Zealand and Australia.
After imported copies of his Sussex albums ran dry, an Australian record label, Blue Goose Music, bought the Australian rights to his back catalogue in the mid 70s. The label released his two studio albums plus a compilation album At His Best (featuring unreleased recordings from 1976 “Can’t Get Away”, “I’ll Slip Away” (a re-recording of his first single), and “Street Boy”. Unbeknownst to Rodriguez, it went platinum in South Africa, where he achieved cult status.
With a new buzz around Rodriguez, in 1979 he toured Australia with the Mark Gillespie Band as support. Two shows from the tour were later released on the Australian only album Alive—the title being a play on the rumours caused by his public obscurity that Rodriguez had died years ago. After the ’79 tour he returned to Australia for a final tour in 1981 with Midnight Oil before quietly slipping back into normal life.
In 1991 both his albums were released on CD in South Africa for the first time. His fame in South Africa was completely unknown to him, until 1998 when his eldest daughter found a website dedicated to him on the internet.
In 1998 he played his first South African Tour. A documentary about the tour Dead Men Don’t Tour: Rodriguez in South Africa 1998 was later screened on SABC in 2001. Later he played in Sweden before returning to South Africa in 2001 and 2005.
In 2002 his signature song, “Sugar Man”, was added to DJ David Holmes’ mix album Come Get It I Got It, gaining Rodriguez airplay again on Australian radio station Triple J. In 2007 he returned to Australia in April, to play the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival,
as well as shows in Melbourne and Sydney. His song “Sugar Man” was in the 2006 film Candy, starring Heath Ledger. There has also been a film made about his life titled, Looking for Jesus. Rodriguez now continues to tour in various countries.
His album Coming from Reality is scheduled to be re-released by Light in the Attic Records in May 2009.
(my thanks to the wonderful resource Wikipedia for the information supplied)