In the curious case of Sixto Rodriguez, a social realist getting a long overdue second chance at the spotlight, that amounted to 72 phone calls, 45 faxes, and 145 emails by Light in the Attic Records nearly four decades after the release of the songwriter’s first album.
Reissued in 2008, Cold Fact offers a portrait of inner-city Detroit as definitive as MC5’s Kick Out the Jams and every bit as damning as its “Establishment Blues.” Psych-folk populated by junkies and prostitutes, its bystander watches the scene unfold with support from Motown’s Funk Brothers and mad genius guitarist/producer Dennis Coffey.
Despite its disappearance in the U.S. after a 1970 release, the LP took root in South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement and developed cult status among collectors stateside. Tim Kerr’s Monkeywrench covered the LP’s golden single “Sugar Man” on 2000’s Electric Children.
“For a long time I didn’t have a phone,” Rodriguez told the Chronicle in 2008. “I don’t have a computer. I don’t really watch TV. The modern world, that’s part of the process I’m not involved in.
“Nothing happened to me. I just went back to working construction. I dropped out ’cause there was nothing happening for me.”
The Light in the Attic reissue rescued Rodriguez from obscurity, but it’s recent documentary Searching for Sugar Man that brought him mainstream recognition and acclaim. In fact, look for Rodriguez to introduce the documentary this Saturday at the Violet Crown, 7:25 & 7:30pm showings.
The critically acclaimed film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, also boasts a soundtrack compiling selections from Cold Fact and follow-up Coming From Reality. Rodriguez was even featured in a 60 Minutes segment earlier this month. The sky’s the limit now.
“I’m very confident,” Rodriguez trumped. “C’mon, this is America – creativity, invention. I’m confident that will solve all the problems, but it takes a minute.” – Austin Powell