Monday, November 12, 2012

Rodriguez - Al goes world-wide on us...

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 11/12/12

If you like America's music, you know Bob Dylan and Bob Seeger, Carly Simon and The Weavers. They were folk singers in the 60's and 70's. The songs were of protest. The war, civil rights, abortion, stuff like that. The name no-one seems to know is Rodriguez. Sixto Rodriguez.

Out of Detroit. His first recorded session was in 1971. It was distributed and acclaimed by music critics. I don't think they sold 100----in the U.S.A. South Africa was in the midst of civil unrest stemming from the practice of Apartheid. Half a million copies were sold there. Rodriguez's music wasn't protest. It was human longings, stories of relationships, the struggle to survive. America wasn't ready--South Africa was. Rodriguez was reported to have committed suicide on stage, some saying he shot himself in the head. Others that he set himself on fire at the end of a concert. Then there was the story of a massive drug overdose.

For all intents and purposes there was no longer an entertainer named Rodriguez. I used the word "entertainer". That is a misnomer. Sixto was a "Troubadour" in the truest sense of the word. His songs were stories of strife and bliss, longing and satisfaction, dark and sun-filled, the story of life in our time.

He was alive working at back breaking hard labor from the 70's to the 90's when he was found by a South African record store owner and convinced to do some live concerts in that country. I come to this knowledge from seeing a film titled "Searching For Sugar Man". I recommend it strongly to all musicians who struggle for acclaim.

His revived career is being received with acclaim. Sold out concerts in Australia and South Africa. One day, maybe here in the good old USA. 
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