I went to see Sixto Rodriquez in Bristol on the 1st December and bought his CDs afterwards. I saw him due to all the hype I'd read about the documentary Searching for Sugarman, had seen him on Later With Jools and also because I love the Bristol band that were supporting him during all his UK tour dates; Phantom Limb.
I wasn't expecting much, knowing that his CDs were recorded in the 1970 and 1971 and there isn't much music from that era, that stands up that well now - apart from the absolute greats e.g. Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks, Pink Floyd, Dylan, Fleetwood Mac. However, all the songs were instantly memorable and I'd only heard Sugarman before the gig. His voice was much better than it was on Later With Jools and indeed his voice is really distinctive - in a good way. He sounds like a cross between, Donovan, Rod Argent, Nick Drake and Dylan (but better tone than Dylan). The audience were very responsive, knew all his lyrics and welcomed him as the long-lost hero he surely is. They particularly went mad for Sugarman, Climb Upon My Music, I Think of You (just lovely - beautifully poignant lyrics and melody), Inner City Blues, I Wonder and To Whom It May Concern, but most of all the other numbers were given a standing ovation too. Elbow was the last gig when I came out on a similar high and where the audience reaction was so voluble. The support he got from Phantom Limb was amazing - you would think they had played back-up to him for years. They really deserve a big break too. Yolanda Quartey's voice is HUGE, she'd blow Aretha out.
Some of the lyrics are those of that time and I think his lyrics might sometimes be "America-specific", but the lyrics have a poetic kind of beauty. I've come across descriptions of his work as "psychedelic", which I find odd. To me his music is in the folk-rock singer-songwriter genre. The majority of his songs have really beautiful melodies too. My iPod is constantly playing his stuff and so far not bored. I have pre-ordered the Searching for Sugarman DVD but am gutted that it isn't out before Xmas - that must rank as the biggest marketing faux-pas in many a year - missing out on the Xmas market. No doubt now Rodriguez is becoming a legend, he will get the worldwide recognition that he so thoroughly deserves. A real fairy tale/Cinderella story to warm your heart and just shows you should never give up! I'd recommend that you buy both albums, as both are equally good.