Rodriguez

Over the weekend, I watched a documentary called Searching for Sugarman, about a 70s singer-songwriter named Rodriguez. It's a pretty compelling story.  The guy released two albums in the early 70s that, despite their quality, completely tanked in the US (and presumably in Europe).  By chance, some girl brought his first album to Apartheid-riddled South Africa, and through a series of people taping it and sharing cassettes, Rodriguez became a voice of a generation of young folks who knew Apartheid was wrong, but were somewhat powerless to do anything about the regime. Rodriguez became "bigger than Elvis" in South Africa, but never knew it.  It was estimated that he conservatively must have sold at least 500,000 copies of his album in South Africa, for which his now-defunct record company never paid him any royalties. The black guy is the trailer video who said he sold 6 copies in the US was the head of his label, and by all appearances seems to be the guy who screwed Rodriguez.  

Anyway, fans in SA tried to figure out what happened to Rodriguez. All they had to go on was one album cover. There was no info on him.  He had apparently vanished. The stories were that he had committed suicide on stage (in various grisly ways).  What they eventually found, and how the story unfolds from there is well worth watching the documentary for. 

As for the man's music -- I've been listening to his two original albums on Spotify, and it's quite stuff good in that 70s singer-songwriter vein. The most prevalent influence I hear is Bob Dylan, but Rodriguez has a much better voice -- more along the lines of Jose Feliciano's.  He's a fairly basic acoustic player -- not the level of a Croce, James Taylor, Paul Simon, or even Cat Stevens, but the songs are compelling, and the albums are well-produced. If you like those kinds of artists, you may very well like Rodriguez.  

The documentary is on Netflix, and may well be available elsewhere as well
Here's the trailer:


Life is easier, so much easier, life is easier now.

Comments

  • mr_crowleymr_crowley Posts: 6,283
    Saw it a few years ago when it was buzzing big time. Very compelling and interesting story and told in a very interesting and heartfelt way. Basically a great documentary - recommend it to anyone who wants a music documentary basically.

    Never really got into his music though, might give it a new shot - seems to enjoy more and more of that laid back stuff the older I get :p 
  • I haven't seen the documentary but I heard something a few years ago. A couple of friends were discussing him and it peaked my interest. Might give this a shot.
  • a couple friends of mine backed Sixto Rodriguez the last time he played Tipitinas.  it was pretty awesome to see him in person.
  • Dinosaur David BDinosaur David B Posts: 16,299
    edited January 23
    might give it a new shot - seems to enjoy more and more of that laid back stuff the older I get :p 
    Ha. Yeah, that happens. Don't think of it so much as mellowing, but rather as a different vibe for different moods. When I'm sitting around with friends drinking a whisky on a lovely evening, enjoying good conversation, something like Rodriguez (among other non-dino stuff) playing in the background is more conducive to that mood than say, Accept or Iron Maiden -- stuff that demands more of your attention, and is harder to talk over.
    Post edited by Dinosaur David B on
    Life is easier, so much easier, life is easier now.
  • eduardoritoseduardoritos Posts: 2,970
    Yeah, I'd alredy knew that doco (not full seen yet).

    At least, the guy did recived the paychek, even 30 years after.
  • At least, the guy did recived the paychek, even 30 years after.
    He got paid to tour SA. He did NOT recoup his record sale royalties from the 70s. 
    Life is easier, so much easier, life is easier now.
  • eduardoritoseduardoritos Posts: 2,970
    Yeah, not for money, but, at least... recognition.
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