on 23 July 2012
This soundtrack collects all of Rodriguez's most sublime moments, timeless songs of powerful simplicity and romantic beauty and is destined to become one of the most classic soundtracks of all time.
The blending of articulate protest lyrics with eerie arrangements incorporating strings, synths, horns, and marimba gives tracks liek 'Sugar Man' a unique place in history, while the use of gentle strings to temper Dylanesque diatribes like 'Cause' is a stroke of genius.
on 29 July 2012
As far as I'm concerned this album is a must have for any lover of good music.
I discovered Rodriguez using I-tunes, so knew a bit about him. Having bought this album and seeing the film of the same name I have to say what an inspirational figure I think he is.
Please buy this album even if you're only slightly interested, I'm sure you won't regret it. Also do all you can to see the film, it is brilliant, moving and emotional.
This man deserves all the recognition he can get. at a time when there is so much disposable rubbish released by record companies it is a travesty that Rodriguez is not better known.
on 14 January 2013
At last Rodriguez is receiving some of the appreciation he deserves. Bob Dylan, eat your heart out. Lennon would be proud. Wonderful songwriter, musician and poet produced a couple of fine albums. A few equally good previously unrecorded songs are included as well. If you see the movie, you will rush out and buy the CD. Should be listened too with compassion as the music exudes heartfelt simplicity and honesty seldom seen today by many over commercialized artists. The man is a legend !
on 7 August 2012
The story of Sixto Rodriguez' accidental stardom in South Africa is every amateur songsmith's wildest dream come true. Having plugged away for years in front of unappreciative hometown crowds - in Rodriguez' case, having given it away altogether - to then discover you have been adored all along, by half a million fans, must be quite the trip. A trip, in this case, from inner-city Detroit in 1971 to Cape Town, South Africa, in 1998.
Sixto Rodriguez was (if this film isn't really an elaborate hoax, a caveat you may take as read for the remainder of this review) a singer songwriter from Detroit who came to brief notice in the late sixties. He was picked up by a label which was part of the Motown empire. Perhaps his mistake was to ply Greenwich Village folk to the people of Motor City, but in any case his two recorded records sold not at all, and he was promptly dropped and passed quickly into oblivion.
Or so he thought: But not, as it turned out, in South Africa, where his songs had spread by word of mouth and bootlegged cassettes. Under Apartheid this Mexican American folkie became an immense underground hit. South Africa was then a police state, so this is no mean feat, but perhaps explains why there was no greater communication in or out of the republic, for Rodriguez knew nothing of this success: he didn't know his record was even released in South Africa, because it wasn't: in a story as implausible as the one about American sailors donating 45s to Liverpudlian guttersnipes and thereby educating them about Chuck Berry, someone's girlfriend came over from LA with a copy, it got taped and passed around, and before long it had shifted half a million copies. Viral marketing, 1971 style.
I checked with a South African compadre and it all seems to be true: his music (mostly a passable, if unremarkable, pastiche of Leonard Cohen or mid-sixties Dylan) is available on line. Still, vital things are not, or only half-, explained, such as how a few ropey C90s were converted into an officially released long playing vinyl record without interaction with the artist or his label, and where the money went: the film darkly hints at skulduggery amongst American impresarios, but never gets as far as pointing a finger.
In any case, the film's first half centres on two South African fans and their quest to find out more about this artist. Common consensus in Capetown had it that Rodriguez was long since dead, a victim of on-stage suicide, variously by self immolation, gunshot or overdose. The fans (one of whom is nicknamed "Sugarman" after Rodriguez' song) set out to get to the bottom of how he died.
*** Warning - spoilers ***
It is difficult to talk about the second half of the film without giving away the spoiler that they do eventually find a trail back to Rodriguez, and he's not dead at all - but still working as a casual labourer in Detroit. Sixto's nearing sixty and has three daughters.
It doesn't take long before he and his daughters are flying to South Africa for a concert tour. This last part of the film is an uplifting record of that triumphant tour, where over six nights he played to 30,000 hysterical fans. Really hysterical - Beatlemania style, mouthing every word of his lyrics. I dare say Leonard Cohen never had that.
Throughout it all Rodriguez remains nonchalant: he takes it all in his stride, returning after each tour to his labouring job in Detroit, where his co-workers are most amused to find he is recording artist at all, let alone one with a huge following.
*** Spoiler over ***
This is a gentle, amusing, poignant tale of a labour of love and the redemption of a man who is big enough not to have been disappointed by his life's trajectory, set against a story so remarkable you'll have trouble believing it to be true. Well recommended.
on 15 March 2013
Rodriguez is unique and his life story is an amazing one. Disappearing into obscurity for a long time, he never received the accolades that his contemporaries did - e.g. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, et al. At least not until he was rediscovered, and even today many have not heard of him. He is one of the greatest, and learning from the film about the type of person he is and how he lives his life only adds to his reputation. As for 'Searching for Sugarman' the album, when was the last time you bought an album with lyrics worth listening to that are political, thought provoking, emotional and more?
Buy an original version, for all the Rodriguez records never sold, concert halls never filled, etc. back in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, when he was denied the global recognition he has always richly deserved.
on 21 January 2013
Watch the movie, enjoy the music, and wonder how this gem of a musician stayed hidden from us all for so many years. Rodriguez should go down in musical history as one of the great unsung legends (who, luckily, has now been rediscovered for the benefit of us all!)