13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Must have music from a special talent.,
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This review is from: Searching For Sugar Man (Audio CD)
After watching the documentary movie "Searching for Sugar Man" recently, I was so taken with his music and his demeanor, his utter lack of ego or entitlement, that I had to buy the soundtrack.
I'm glad I did. I was a very active listener of the music of my youth, and knew most of the artists, but had never heard of "Rodriguez", so was astounded when I saw the movie and learned of his melodic and poignant music, easily at a level of quality competitive in the commercial market of the seventies, when it was recorded, yet I'd never heard any of it. Nor of him.
His songs were timeless tales of life in the city (his was Detroit), and spoke of the drug dealers and unemployment and heartache so prevalent in seventies music, but also belied a deeper, unspoken hope that life's struggles could be overcome; that hard work could change circumstances.
His voice is reminiscent of Dylan, which may actually have been one issue with his not reaching a higher level of popularity since there already was one, and he was arguably the best at being a Dylan. But the music, the voice and the wonderfully woven words of his songs have a resonance and truth seldom experienced in the political explosion of music of the era. A few succeeded in creating good songs that were also good stories, many proffered commercially viable stuff that touched on issues raging in American society, but Rodriguez put out music with heart, and lived his music without compromise in his life of extreme hard work as a physical laborer.
The story of the search for the artist once his haunting, mysterious past caught hold of a couple music historians/journalists, is the real treat of the story of Rodriguez. The fact that, unknown to the artist, who lived a meager existence of low pay and hard work, his music was cherished in South Africa during the uprisings against Apartheid, is simply amazing. That the seekers of his actual story had to work extremely hard to find out anything about where he was from, or who he really was, is nothing compared to the explosive success his music enjoyed in a far away land, yet he knew nothing of it. The stories of how he'd died were as much the impetus for the search as anything. Some had claimed he'd died in prison, others claimed he'd committed suicide on stage in front of an unappreciative audience who could not grasp the desperation of his message.
With this subject matter, one might wonder how it could be an uplifting story, but it was all that and more. I feel I met the man watching the story unfold, beautifully emphasized by the man's own music. I can't suggest the movie more highly. It is a sweet story of a man unwilling to sell out, unafraid to hold fast in his beliefs and completely devoid of immodesty.
I left the theater soaring in spirit. The music takes me back there when I hear it.