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Cold Fact

4.8 out of 5 stars 925 customer reviews

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Cold Fact
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Audio CD, August 19, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

It s one of the lost classics of the 60s, a psychedelic masterpiece drenched in colour and inspired by life, love, poverty, rebellion, and, of course, jumpers, coke, sweet mary jane . The album is Cold Fact, and what s more intriguing is that its maker a shadowy figure known as Rodriguez was, for many years, lost too. A decade ago, he was rediscovered working on a Detroit building site, unaware that his defining album had become not only a cult classic, but for the people of South Africa, a beacon of revolution. Sixto Diaz Rodriguez was born in 1942 to Mexican immigrant parents in Detroit, Michigan. He recorded Cold Fact his debut album in 1969, and released it in March 1970. It s crushingly good stuff, filled with tales of bad drugs, lost love, and itchy-footed songs about life in late 60s inner-city America. Gun sales are soaring/Housewives find life boring/Divorce the only answer/Smoking causes cancer, says the Dylan-esque Establishment Blues. But the album sank without trace, thanks, in part, to some of Rodriguez s more idiosyncratic behavior, like performing at an industry showcase with his back to the audience throughout. As his music career became a memory, Rodriguez s legend was growing on the other side of the world. In South Africa and, to a lesser extent, Rhodesia, Australia and New Zealand, Cold Fact had become a major word of mouth success, particularly among young people in the South African armed forces, who identified with its counter-cultural bent. But Rodriguez was an enigma not even the label knew where to find him and his demise became the subject of debate and conjecture. Some rumors said he d died of a heroin overdose or burned to death on stage. But the tide began to turn in 1996, when journalist Craig Bartholemew set out to get to the bottom of the mystery. After many dead ends, he found Rodriguez alive, well, free and perfectly sane in Detroit, ending years of speculation. Rodriguez himself had no idea about his fame in South Africa (the album had gone multi-platinum, Rodriguez has received not so much as a Rand in royalties), and embarked on a triumphant South African tour followed, filling 5,000 capacity venues across the country. Rodriguez was still largely unknown in the northern hemisphere until 2002, when Sugar Man, the album s extra-terrestrially wonderful lead track, was picked up by David Holmes. The DJ discovered the album in a New York record store, and included it on his Come Get It, I Got It compilation, re-recording the song with Rodriguez for his Free Association project a year later. Now, Light In The Attic is set to commit Cold Fact to CD for audiences in the UK and America, who can finally find out why halfway across the world Rodriguez is spoken of in the same reverent tones as The Doors, Love and Jimi Hendrix.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 19, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Light In The Attic
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (925 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,401 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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First released in 1970 and almost entirely forgotten (at least in North America) over the three and a half decades since, COLD FACT is the first of two albums by Jesus "Sixto" Rodriguez, a gifted singer/songwriter from Detroit whose reputation has apparently fared far better in the southern hemisphere than in his homeland. A latterday Australian compilation, AT HIS BEST (six of whose eleven tracks are taken from this album), is the only other Rodriguez CD currently available; so anyone who owns and likes either of these discs is strongly encouraged to pick up the other, repetitions notwithstanding.

And indeed, withstand they don't, as COLD FACT manages to fit no less than a dozen neat, clever, poignant and musically diverse nuggets into its regrettably brief 31:45 running time. Opening with the bizarre "Sugar Man," a whining ode to a drug dealer which makes surprisingly effective use of an oddball arrangement of bass clarinet, theramined guitar and various sound effects; then segueing into the misogynistic pre-heavy metal of "Only Good for Conversation" and the pretty, lightly orchestrated neo-Biblical folk of "Crucify Your Mind," COLD FACT shows Rodriguez employing a different approach on nearly every track, with consistently strong and intelligent lyrics riding atop the results. Other highlights include "Establishment Blues," with its sly laundry-list of urban woes capped off by the stinging "...
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Other reviews on this page describe the music. I write to say that this music is drawn from that hidden universal stream from which all truth and great art emanate and from which only they who have transcended the human condition may reach into with their ladle to fill our barren bowls. Humanity has served up many such messengers across the ages, poets, painters artists and musicians. Rodriguez is just such a man. Other reviews have compared him to Dylan especially, and this is understandable I suppose if you're looking for a shortcut to explain in words just what this music may be like, but believe me, this is no Dylanite - Rodrigues is every bit an original..and his songs are very much his own and so too his sound - the imagery of his lyrics is every bit as superb as Dylan at his best perhaps better, the messages powerful and inspired, these songs will move you, and because the themes are so universal and the music itself so honest, this is a timeless album which meets all the criteria of a masterpiece. If this were not enough, the music is infinitely listenable...I've been fortunate enough to have known this music since 1975 and I just never get tired of it because you can't get tired of masterpieces, they have that perfect blend of magic that keeps us forever spellbound and if I could only keep 10 cds, this will always be one of them no matter how many more cds they ever press. This is not Dylan or Young or Cohen.. this is Rodriguez as himself. To Mr. Rodriguez I say thank you on behalf of two generations of South Africans. God bless you.
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Rodriquez's daughter Eva, was a good friend of mine when she was in the Army. She mentioned once, almost passingly, that her father was a musician. She diverted my questions so I thought he must have been some studio musician or the like, at best. I'd lost track of Eva and wanted to say hello. While searching for her I ran across web-pages devoted to her father; he's a very big deal overseas (South Africa and Australia especially, it seems).

Curious, I ordered this album and absolutely loved it! So, the question is: Eva, why didn't you tell me what a wonderful singer/songwriter your Dad is?
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Rodriguez has been a household name in South Africa since the early 70's. The album Cold Fact has become a cult classic in South Africa, but unbelievably Rodriguez is still unknown elsewhere (except maybe in Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, and now Sweden!). He is never mentioned in any music magazines, rock encyclopedias or any other publications on the history of Rock. As one news headline said during the 1998 South African tour: "American Zero, South African Hero".
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I was in the Peace Corps in Malawi in the mid-90s, was hitching through Mozambique with a couple of other volunteers in the spring of '95, just after the war. The only other "mzungus" we saw the whole time there was this South African couple we met in a restuarant in Nampula who invited us to stay at their house on the beach. They were working there to rebuild the roads and put on this album while we were hanging out that night. It floored me immediately.

I asked who it was and the guy looked at me oddly and said "Rodriguez, he's AMERICAN" as if he thought I was a nutter for never having heard of the guy. And he was right. The next time I was in SA for holiday I snapped it right up.

Listening to it right now. If he tours here I would go in a heart beat. His songs definitely have a Dylan quality to them as many have mentioned, but his voice reminds me a Jim Croche. You won't regret buying this album.

I am now a SAHM, living in the 'burbs, my 1.5 year son is playing with the CD cover right now. My how times change, but when I put on this album I am a wandering 20something, saving the world and hitchhiking through southern africa, where ever the ride takes us. I am RIGHT THERE.
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sixto rodriguez
I believe the CD from soundtrack is the best one to buy that assures that Rodriguez is getting royalties from it.
Jun 8, 2013 by John R. Liskey |  See all 4 posts
will Sixto Rodriguez get some money finally?
Yes he will. He probably won't keep it though, I remember the movie saying that he gives most of his money away. I went out and bought the "Coming From Reality" LP after watching the documentary, I had bootlegged "Cold Fact" a while ago and wanted to thank this man for the... Read More
May 21, 2013 by Woogie |  See all 3 posts
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