159 of 165 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2006
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 "...and you tell me that this is where it's at"; a tearjerking two-minute ballad, "Forget It"; the lopingly infectious "Inner-City Blues" (no relation to the Marvin Gaye tune of the same title); "Rich Folks Hoax," with its dour and self-explanatory message; and "Like Janis," which closes the album on possibly its strongest note with a beautiful arrangement backing some equally beautiful poetry ("Don't try to impress me; you're just pins and paint. And don't try to charm me with things that you ain't."). Each song is a gem in its own right, even the rare flawed one ("Gomorrah," an appealing straight blues for the most part, has a rather silly chorus with the singer backed by what sounds like a group of children), and the result is a sadly underappreciated collection by a tragically underappreciated talent which holds its own against almost any of its contemporaries - and that's saying a lot. Open your ears for this one, folks; it's more than worth the 31:45 investment.
95 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2006
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.
159 of 174 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2005
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?
52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 1999
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".
38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2006
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.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2007
I must have bought 10 copies of this album when it first came out. I gave most of them to my friends, so many in fact that I don't own a copy myself. I was the music freek (nut!!) amongst my friends and since I thought that Bob Wills or Jimmy Reed would have been a bit much for them, I played Cold Fact. Since I couldn't be bothered bringing the album to their houses each weekend, I bought them copies and left them there. Every time we gathered for a Fri/Sat night out we would put on Rodriquez, toke up, have a few drinks, eat pistachio nuts and groove to "Sugar Man" et al. I have to admit I haven't heard this album for over 25 years but I can still sing the words to nearly every song!!!! I am amazed that this album had such a small audience; mainly in Australia and Sth Africa, as it is an iconic release. Australia had an extemely vibrant Pop music scene in the 70's thanks to Ian "Molly" Meldrum and his popular Countdown TV show. Along with Rodriguez, Countdown broke ABBA, which is a good or bad thing depending on one's perspective. If anyone out there, in a moment of madness, wants to find out what the average!! Aussie music buff was getting off on in the early 70's grab a copy of a Rodriguez album and see how off the planet we really were.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2012
"Cold Fact" is an outstanding collection of tunes that deserves the recognition that is now being thrust upon it. The songs were superbly produced with professional session musicians years ago, featuring psychedelic sound effects that resonate throughout the recording. I recommend that you buy this well produced disc to not only enjoy the music of Rodriguez in digital splendor, but to also ensure that the artist receives the royalties that he has been boldly denied over the years.
Rodriguez played many of these tunes live at a solo gig a few weeks ago in Detroit at the Old Miami Lounge in the Cass Corridor. There was a CBS crew there interviewing him outside the club before the show for an upcoming episode of the 60 Minutes TV show to air in October. It was an impromptu gig and also somewhat surreal to witness him performing in 2012, after 40 years of relative obscurity, fame had eluded him even in his own hometown. The crowd was filled with young hipsters, old sages, suburban thrill seekers and everyone in between. His music radiated warmth and soul and he was somewhat chipper between tunes, exchanging jokes with the audience, while pondering aloud his new found fortune.
What surprised me was that he appeared frail at the relatively young age of 70. (Maybe all those years of doing construction work in the city has taken its toll on his body). Nevertheless, his mind was sharp, his politics intact, and his convictions appeared stronger than ever. High upon the outdoor stage behind the bar, he struck an imposing shadow over those that witnessed the performance, like a modern day shaman spouting poetic wisdom to the masses. His message was clear in this election year: The man has always kept the working class down, but that's no excuse to not make your voice be heard, to not exercise your rights as a citizen to vote or protest the status quo. My take away from seeing him up close and in person, away from the big screen, is that he is a thoughtful man that tells it like it is. And amazingly, somehow, after all this time, what was relevant in Rodriguez' words from decades ago is still true today. It's a cold hard fact indeed.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2006
First released in 1970, this album is a commentary in the tradition of Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan but with a style and vibe of it's very own.
Each song is something original and new in itself but running through it is a theme of drugs : "Dancing Rosemary, disappearing sister Ruth
It's just your yellow appetite
that has you choking on the truth
You gave in, you gave out, outlived your dream of youth "
social alienation : "Now you sit there thinking feeling insecure
The mocking court jester claims there is no proven cure
Go back to your chamber, your eyes upon the wall
'Cos you got no one to listen, you got no one to call"
, cynicism and angry condemmnation of the corrupt materialism of the wealthy : "And don't try to enchant me with your manner of dress
'Cos a monkey in silk is a monkey no less
So measure for measure reflect on my said "
And a focus on the plight of the poor: "The ladies on my street
Aren't there for their health
Welfare checks don't pave
The road to much wealth. "
Rodriguez never was a star in the USA but had a massive following in South Africa, Zimbabwe , Australia and New Zealand.
My personal favourites are: "CRUCIFY YOUR MIND " , "I WONDER" "LIKE JANIS" and "JANE S. PIDDY".
If you enjoy the genius Leonard Cohen you will want to sample Rodriguez.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2013
OK , he is or is no Dylan, but here's the thing: he is saying something ( as Dylan did) in his lyrics that is very compelling. I honestly thought I would like the doc and hate the music; I ended up loving both. This is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. S***: he pretty much nailed me to the wall with "Street Boy". simple proof of the power of art to transcend time. I listen to this album a lot, because it's damn good; Motown knew it, they just could not get him over the La Bamba hurdle to be taken seriously.Now look at him; he's on the charts as he should be. Right on, Senor Rodriguez!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2013
I have rewritten this review over and over trying to share with my words the experiene of this album. Rodriquez crafted an album of immense complexity with an economy of words and melody. After our first listening to Cold Fact, my husband and I fell silent. We had no words to express this album's impact. I am so pleased that we could purchase this great work.