Saturday, August 12, 2023

Divining Rodriguez


Rodriguez - Forget It

The next segment of the busy weekend is the first of two memorials for two superstars that passed away last week on consecutive days.

I covered this guy once before, but now that he is gone I'm gonna do it again, because he was that good.

He was so good that it took decades for him to get his due.

Once he did, he took his rightful place as a full-on rock star.

It didn't start out that way. As everyone is now aware, his two '70s albums sold roughly 14 copies apiece back when they were released to an uncaring public more attuned to T. Rex and The Band. But more on that tomorrow.

It took an extraordinary migration of his albums across the world -- from Detroit to Johannesburg, in fact -- to globally reveal his exceptional songs.

There's really no explaining it, other than to say that liberally-minded white kids in 1970s/1980s South Africa somehow got a hold of this man's records... and used them as fuel for the eventual overthrow of the Apartheid system.
I know it sounds incongruous and impossible, yet there it is.
That's it: 20 songs so cynical and biting in their study of the human condition, strangers culturally removed from the conditions that produced them by tens of thousands of miles were able to cast off the shackles of history with those tunes in their headphones.

It's a story so fantastical they hadda make a movie about it.
When that film hit, all hell broke loose and our hero began his resurrection, ascending to heights most songwriters only ever dream of... except his big success came much later in life.

So now Rodriguez -- some people are so cool, they only need to go by one name for you to know who they are, but for the record his first name was Sixto -- has moved on to join the firmament of the musical immortals.
Obviously he's a tough one to cover, with a 40 year career gap where he was mostly inactive and building/demolishing houses in his native Detroit.

But for a brief time as the 1970s ended, he did get some traction in (of all places) Australia and New Zealand, with tours there during that period.
Lucky for us, one of those tours produced a live record, only ever issued Down Under in 1981 and never rereleased in the digital era.
Good luck finding any sort of lossless vinyl rip of this LP. Well, good luck unless you're reading this page right now, anyway.
Live in Sydney, Australia 1979

01 Can't Get Away
02 Street Boy
03 Like Janis
04 I Think of You
05 I'll Slip Away
06 A Most Disgusting Song
07 Forget It
08 Inner City Blues
09 Halfway Up the Stairs
10 To Whom It May Concern

Total time: 40:08

Sixto Rodriguez - guitar & vocals
Steve Cooney - guitar & mandolin
José Guadiana - flute
Jake Salazar - bass
Doug McDonald - drums

beautiful vinyl rip of a just-unsealed LP only ever released in Australia and New Zealand in 1981
recorded at the State Theater, Sydney AU 4.6.1979 & the Regent Theater, Sydney AU 4.8.1979
volume increased +4 dB throughout by EN, August 2023
never yet reissued in the digital era
166 MB FLAC/direct link

I'll be back -- a little further down the crazy river -- with Memorial #2, but I wanted to make sure the Cold Fact that Rodriguez was as awesome and impactful a songsmith as any that has graced our lifetimes was made clear. And don't forget it!--J.

7.10.1942 - 8.8.2023