I'm not gonna front, I had no idea who Sixto Rodriguez was prior to about three years ago and even then it was a happy accident. I didn't find some old Sussex 45 in a bin somewhere, I didn't hear Sugarman on some underground tape compilation... nope. It was economics that brought me to him.
You see, I've been a reasonably big fan of Serge Gainsbourg since around 1998. I know this because in 1998, I spent every waking moment I could on the message board at Radiohead.com. I did this because throughout the recording of Kid A members of the band and their studio crew would kill time on the boards. This whole internet thing was still pretty novel in 1998, and my 17 year old self was totally and completely obsessed with Radiohead.... it blew my mind that I could ask Jonny Greenwood a question and have him answer it in real time from the studio... in fact, given Kid A's importance in my musical life it still kind of blows my mind. Anyway, I'm sure I will get into the depths and insanity of my Radiohead obsession many times over on this blog. The point is, one of the questions I was able to ask Nigel Godrich was what were his top albums he was listening to at the time. His response was Histoire de Melody Nelson and Can's album Tago Mago... which is interesting in the context of Kid A... but his one sentence response pretty much changed my life.
For years I wanted to get a copy of Melodie Nelson on vinyl but it was just cost prohibitive. Original pressings started at $200 on eBay and I didn't have that kind of scratch. So in 2008 when Light in the Attic Records announced that they were doing the first proper vinyl re-issue of Melodie Nelson I had to jump on it... and, as it was priced at like $45 and a subscription to get all their re-issues for the year was $100 I figured I might as well. Particularly given that on the list for the year was both of Karen Dalton's records which I loved and Black Monk Time by Monks... which I had only heard a couple crappy MP3's from and always wanted to listen to properly. Rodriguez was on the list too... but it was like, sure, I'll take that for more or less free, maybe it won't be half bad.
Well, wasn't I lucky...
Here is the 45rpm single that came with Light in the Attic's re-issue of Coming From Reality. I believe both cuts were produced by Dennis Coffey... google Scorpio if you haven't checked him out. His touches make this single and the album the Cold Fact what it is. I mean, don't get me wrong Sixto Rodriguez is great, but it's Dennis Coffey that takes him from great to outright genius.
Also of interest is the late seventies/early eighties obsession South Africa had with the Cold Fact. There's lots online about it, but check out this post I found on Rodriguez' website in his old school "Guestbook" section.... and yeah, it's weird that there is now old school internet things....
Entry #: 699
Entry Date: 2011-01-16 08:26:58
|Visitor Comments: IM SURE IM NOT ALONE IN THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT YOUR MUSIC , THE INFLUENCE IT HAD ON ME , AND THE EFFECT IT HAD ON MY VIEW OF THE SYSTEM I LIVED IN.|
I ENTERED THE SOUTH AFRICAN DEFENSE FORCE AT THE TENDER AGE OF SEVENTEEN,AND HAD BEEN LISTENING TO YOUR MUSIC FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS BEFORE THAT.THE NIGHT BEFORE WE LEFT ON THE DREADED TRAIN JOURNEY FROM DURBAN TO PRETORIA , TO START OUR SERVICE , MYSELF AND A COUPLE OF MATES SPENT TIME ALONE LISTENING TO "COLD FACT" AND DISCUSSING THE FUTURE WE WERE BEING GIVEN BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DAY.
A COPY OF "COLD FACT" WAS IN MY BAGGAGE AS I BOARDED THAT TRAIN,AND STAYED WITH ME FOR THE ENTIRE FOUR YEARS OF MY SERVICE.
I REMEMBER THE CASSETTE CLEARLY ,IT WAS AN OPAQUE, CHARCOAL COLOURED ,TDK TAPE.
NEEDLESS TO SAY IT WAS STRETCHED AND AT ONE STAGE EVEN BROKE,IT WAS REPAIRED WITH STICKY TAPE AND RETURNED TO SERVICE ASAP.
THERE WASNT A SONG ON THE ALBUM THAT I COULDNT RELATE TO,IT WAS A LIFE LINE , A CONNECTION TO THE SELF I VAGUELY REMEMBERED , THE LIFE , THE HOME , THE LOVES , THE FREINDS , THE SEMBLENCE OF NORMALITY THAT ALMOST LOST ITSELF IN THE THEATRE OF WAR.
I OFTEN FELT LIKE THE "SCHOOL BOY WITH THE WOODEN EYES",AND THE GOVERNMENT DEFINITELY SUPPLIED THE SLUGS.
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO SHOW MY GRATITUDE FOR PROVIDING THE LIFE LINE THAT KEPT THE MEMORIES OF MY NORMAL SELF ALIVE,THROUGH A FOUR YEAR MILITARY CAREER , THAT WAS FULL OF SUPPLIED HATE , ABSOLUTE FEAR , CHAOS BEYOND THE COMPREHENSION OF NON COMBATANTS , VISIONS THAT HAUNT ME TO THIS DAY , SADNESS THAT ATE AWAY AT MY SOLE LIKE A DISEASE , AND GUILT THAT CLOUDS EVERY WAKING MOMENT I HAVE.
ALL I CAN SAY IS THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY SOUL ,AND GIVE YOU CREDIT FOR CONSTITUTING ONE OF THE BLOCKS IN MY FOUNDATION , MAY YOU RECEIVE ALL YOU DESIRE....
24bit/96khz Apple Lossless (86 MB both songs)
320kbps MP3 (16mb both songs)