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265
4.8 out of 5 stars
Cold Fact
Format: Audio CDChange
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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
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 1970 and 1971 and I don't think there is 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. 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. I think Elbow was the last gig when I came out on a similar high and where the audience reaction was so voluble.

Some of the lyrics are those of that time and I think they might sometimes be "American-specific", but they 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 am never 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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Sometimes in a lifetime of scouring through racks for musical thrills - you stumble on something just a little bit special that it seems no one has noticed (including myself). Back in the Nineties when I was upstairs in the grotty and cramped Cheapo Cheapo Records in London's Rupert Street on one of my twice-weekly forages - Vincent who worked that floor would stand behind his tiny counter space and smile because he knew I always spent money and would take chances.

So there I am - flicking through manky reused plastics - once again raiding the soundtrack section to add to my 40 or so John Barry vinyl albums. And if the mood took me (and it always did) - I'd then move over and mosey through the nearby Easy Listening Section where Phil Cording (the cantankerous old geezer who owned the place and worked downstairs) would lump all sorts - Labi Siffre, Nick Jameson (of Foghat) and Rodriguez. I'd see the sleeve of what Phil clearly thought was some Jose Feliciano lookalike and think naught of it. "Cold Fact" would in fact sit there for months on end at £2.50 - and no one but no one would pay any attention to it all (even the Soul Boys who would be scouring the basement area for Kent compilations on Ace Records). But then years later came the American reissue label Light in The Attic Records quickly followed by the sensational 2012 movie "Searching For Sugar Man" (see separate review for the BLU RAY) and Rodriguez LPs stopped being sold for £2.50 'real fast'...

Back in the 2000's "Light In The Attic" was a relatively unknown reissue label in the mainstream - but their quality was on par with Bear Family and Ace Records - names that speak volumes to collectors all over the world. LITA had put out both Rodriguez albums onto CD - "Cold Fact" (1970) and "Coming From Reality" (1971) - in 2008 and 2009 - way in advance of the movie. While they raised eyebrows with their musical quality and sumptuous presentations (for a relative unknown) - the film busted the music open like a floodgate.

Sixto Diaz Rodriguez (pronounced Sees-Toe) was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1942 to recently emigrated Mexican parents. From the early to late Sixties - Motown had put the Motor City on the musical map - so emerging singer-songwriters cut their teeth in bars and cafes, soaked up the campus and street politics and hoped to get noticed. After an early 7" single in 1967 on Impact that folded without trace - enter Producer Dennis Coffey and Sussex Records (home of Bill Withers). Sixto's debut American album "Cold Fact" was released March 1970 on Sussex SXBS 7000 - followed the next year by "Coming From Reality" in November 1971 on Sussex SXBS 7012. But despite their musical quality - few noticed locally. Legend in fact has it that "Coming From Reality" sold less than 20 copies. But let's get to the album in question - "Cold Fact" - reissued August 2008 in the USA on Light In The Attic Records LITA 036 (Barcode 826853003629) it's laid out as follows:

1. Sugar Man [Side 1]
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 [Side 2]
8. I Wonder
9. Like Janis
10. Gommorah (A Nursery Rhyme)
11. Rich Folks Hoax
12. Jane S. Piddy

Opening with acoustic chords and clever Mike Theodore keyboard jabs - "Sugar Man" talks of "silver magic ships" bringing "colours to my dreams..." and as his voice fades out in a deathly echo - the drug references are no longer cool. It then goes all Psych Rock in the fuzzed-up "Only Good For Conversation" (doesn't really suit him) but things so stratospheric for me in the gorgeous "Crucify Your Mind" - a track I'm always playing. It has a brill melody - clever vibes after each set of lines and a fabulous brass backing that makes it feel like Jose Feliciano doing Soul.

"The Establishment Blues" struck a chord with kids in South Africa because of its lyrics - words like "I opened the window to listen to the news...but all I heard was the Establishment Blues..." The same applied to the superb Side 2 opener "Inner City Blues" where Rodriguez echoed their young yet restricted existence - "papa don't allow no new ideas around here..." The bass and guitars are harshly separated on "I Wonder" but it doesn't stop it from a being a great song - and when the organ kicks in as he sings, "I wonder does hatred ever end..." - it sounds like "Blonde On Blonde" Dylan - Sixto making social comments that are astute and matter. "Like Janis" feels like Dylan circa "New Morning" where he sings, "I know you're lonely..." Both it and "Gommorah" are very hissy - but the tunes feature slick guitar playing and "Gomorrah" some ill-advised kiddies singing. The album's other great song "Rich Folks Hoax" slams greed in all kinds of high places - "the priest is preaching from a shallow grave..." and some music industry type "don't tell me your recipes for my happiness..." It ends on the attacking "Jane P. Diddy" where he accuses someone of being "pimp and paint" - nice.

The "Coming From Reality" album that followed "Cold fact" (on Light In The Attic LITA 038) has "I Think Of You" - as lovely a melody as you've ever heard. The album finisher "Cause" has stunning lyrics - "Cause I lost my job two weeks before Christmas..." The CD reissue even has three tracks from his aborted 3rd album - "Can't Get Away" showing how well his songwriting had progressed. After them make a beeline to the wonderful "Searching For Sugar Man" BLU RAY to get the full story.

A forgotten classic - now no longer forgotten - because people cared enough to see it resurrected. Nice to know minor miracles like that can still happen...

PS: this review is dedicated to Phil Cording and his Staff - Vincent and Jack. Phil sadly passed away a few years back...RIP and thanks for all the records...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2013
This bloke should have been better received by the music press and people in the 70's. I used to work for Decca
records export department in New Malden, Surrey, UK in 1971 or 1972 (Can't remember exactly which year...) and was amazed about all these album sales for Cold Fact his first record going out to South Africa. I had to get it and see what it was all about...
Brilliant but no one else had heard of him..
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on 6 October 2005
'Sugarman, won't you hurry/'cos I'm tired of this scene/For a blue coin/won't you bring back/All those colours to my dreams/Silver magic ships you carry..

The opening bars to one of the best drug songs of all time. Lost my heart, when I'd found it/it had turned to jet black coal''

Rodriquez somehow got overlooked by the music moguls in the early 70s, but he should be up there with Dylan, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen. (Cold Fact was Rodriguez' debut album, but nobody noticed and he has been living in Detroit as a construction worker).
His lyrics of love, loss, drugs in a city of ruin evoke the same rich imagery of, say, Powderfinger (Neil Young). I had this on vinyl, thank god it's been re-released.

'My troubles just drive my mind/My mother treats me slow/My statue's got a concrete heart/but you're the coldest bitch I know'
Buy this album and be comforted that there are still hidden treasures out there.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2010
I listened to this fantastic album a thousand times while growing up as a teenager in South Africa. It is beautiful, simple & prophetic and a must for every collection.
I have searched for this over the years and find I still know the words to every song even 25 years later!!
Highly recommended!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
After watching the Searching For on terrestrial tv for the first time I have to admit, to my great shame, that I had never even heard of Rodriguez. And I guess that there is the conundrum. WHY did this guy never make it bigtime.
A very humble guy, even in his resurgence, who just wrote some of the best songs you will ever hear.Far superior vocally than Dylan, and yet who wrote heart wrenching songs on life and the darker side of it . Rodriguez wrote about life as he knew it and experienced it, ergo making the songs all the more poignant.
It would seem that there was a lot going on during this time,70/71, external factors and corporate greed that ultimately dashed any prospects of worldwide recognition of his talent.He did sell a substantial ammount of albums in South Africa and Australia and yet he made nothing off the back of it.
In this day and age whereby a tv show can make squillions for an average at best singer or band it is a tragedy when a TRUE talent like Rodriguez can go unnoticed and relatively unrewarded for so long.
Newcomers take note, as I did, watch the documentary, get caught up in the myth which even the best script writer couldn't have wrote, be humbled by the man, but more so, get hooked on this fabulous music.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 14 August 2009
I shared a room with a south african friend when a student and he introduced me to this on an old tape recorder. I cant remember how many times i must have heared it over the 2 years but for me it will always be the soundtrack to my student youth and makes me smile everytime i listen to it now. It took me years to find it again, but the wait has been worth it. This album is as simple as it gets, the lyrics and sentiment are at times pretty naieve and painfully of its time, but despite all of this it remains a truly great piece of work which I hope gains the status it deserves as more people discover this overlooked gem. Buy this album and tell your friends!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2010
A great words-smith in the tradition of Robert Zimmerman and Neil Young. Pure genius! The music is amazing - especially the great classic "I Wonder". "I Wonder" is in my opinion, in the top twenty of great Rock songs, with the opening bars of the song making it truly memorable. The style cannot be defined in one genre, suffice to say that the blues do influence Rodriguez immensely.

This album was the voice of a frustrated generation in South Africa - young white kids in the midst of Apartheid. That is what makes it special to me and countless others my age.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2004
This legend, I had the privilege of seeing live in Durban, is unsung. Anyone who was forced to sit out their time in the South African Defence Force will know this album by heart. It is music in its own class. His way of putting the rot of society so beautifully across as music is what influenced me in my growing up years. to see through the trees, cut the cr*p and be a better person. i am really not worthy of giving a rating.
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on 27 March 2013
Okay, so unfortunately I'm on the bandwagon of having discovered Rodriguez after watching 'Searching for Sugar Man' which in itself is an amazing documentary with a truly compelling story that seems to only happen in story books. However, the music of the film enhanced the story so much further. When I was watching it I really really liked what I heard, so naturally I bought the CD...and oh my word.

This album is absolutely amazing, I got it today and I think I've listened to it 6 times already? It's incredible! The story of how it was the soundtrack to South African teenagers during the height of apartheid is evident in how the lyrics can convey that emotion, however, being a student in England myself, the songs haven't aged at all! At least not to my ears. They are amazing. What more can I say? I'm going to see him in concert in the summer and I can't wait. That's how infectious and incredible this album is, I received it today and already I've listened to it all day and have bought tickets to see him live. All in an afternoon. If that doesn't show how much I appreciate this album then I'm not sure what will.

If you want to listen to a few songs before buying, listen to 'Sugar Man', 'Crucify Your Mind', 'Establishment Blues', 'Hate Street Dialogue', 'Forget It' and of course 'I Wonder'. I know that's a lot but I would list the WHOLE album if I could. As to all of this competitive talk about comparing him to Bob Dylan...don't. I see how people think they're similar, but that's not the point is it? The point is to appreciate his music, HIS music, the lyrics he wrote the sound HE created, which is truly amazing. He's not 'the new Bob Dylan', he is Sixto Rodriguez musician and artist, and I don't want it any other way.
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