Cold Fact (Light in the Attic)

Phases and Stages


Cold Fact (Light in the Attic)

This 1970 gem of a debut from Detroit singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, who only cut two LPs, was largely ignored stateside and became a mysterious underground sensation in apartheid South Africa, striking a contemporary chord with its street-tough lyricism and psychedelic folk arrangements. "Hate Street Dialogue," "Jane S. Piddy," and particularly "This Is Not a Song, It's an Outburst: Or, the Establishment Blues" mirror Dylan's vintage spite, poetic but more concretely grounded in the struggles of the Motor City. Rodriguez's voice floats easily between Cat Stevens ("Forget It") and Ian Anderson ("Only Good for Conversation"), with touches of Arthur Lee, while Dennis Coffey and Mike Theodore's production and arrangements balance bursts of bruising distortion and effects, horns, and the smooth pop of "I Wonder" and "Like Janis." Opener "Sugar Man" alone should have canonized Rodriguez, the junkie's lament issued through morphine strings atop an acoustic strum. A revelation of what could have been.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Rodriguez
ACL Live Shots

Thomas Fawcett, Oct. 9, 2009

ACL Music Fest Sunday Interviews
Detroit's "Sugar Man" still spits the cold facts

Austin Powell, Oct. 2, 2009

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Doug Freeman
AmericanaFest 2022 Brings the Roots Community Back Together
AmericanaFest 2022 Brings the Roots Community Back Together
Eight emerging acts seen in Nashville, from Nora Brown to Early James

Sept. 21, 2022

Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Fest, Eastside Kings Festival, HAAM Day,, Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few, and more

Sept. 9, 2022



One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle