Trending
MOST READ
Best Brunch

Best Brunch

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Lt. Governor Race: the \'Luchadora\' vs. the Tea Party radio host

Lt. Governor Race: the 'Luchadora' vs. the Tea Party radio host

News: A few Saturdays ago, I spent several hours hanging around a Texas Realtors Association conference in San Antonio, trying to catch state Sen. Dan Patrick... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta 9/17/2014
Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy Disappear into ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy Disappear into ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Screens: “If you’re going to start, you might as well start big,” an ambitious person once said. Ned Benson must have been paying attention, because for his first... By Cameron Meier 9/17/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
The Permanent Gangsta Status of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

The Permanent Gangsta Status of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

Music: Prodigy, better known to ’90s rap aficionados as the prodigious half of Queensbridge duo Mobb Deep, has made a successful career operating on... By James Courtney 9/17/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Music

Dissecting the albums that drove South Africa nuts

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

'Coming From Reality'

Photo: , License: N/A

'Cold Fact'



Related stories


I bought Coming from Reality, Rodriguez's second LP, at Record Town in Central Park Mall in 1971. However, other than Rodriguez's Mexican-Indio face on the cover, the recording produced in England had little Latino music roots or cultural heritage.

Still, a few cuts soared. My favorite was "A Most Disgusting Song." The lyrics say it all: "I've played faggot bars, hooker bars … opera houses, concert halls, halfway houses." In a word: Rodriguez's own "Desolation Row." It pokes fun at lowlifes: "Yeah, every night it's the same old thing/ getting high, getting drunk, getting horny/ at the Inn-Between, again." Ditto the literary elite from Edward Arlington Robinson's poem "Mr. Flood's Party" and the bohemians in Martha's Vineyard. The record flopped and Rodriguez disappeared.

Not quite.

Forty years later, I learn Rodriguez is actually a Mexican-American musician from Detroit and an urban legend. Young, middle-class white South Africans adopted his earlier LP Cold Fact (1970) as a clarion call for confronting apartheid.

Cold Fact, recorded in Detroit, is a blend of protest and psychedelic folk rock. Its best-known cut "Sugar Man" (about a drug dealer) is gritty and compelling. However, it pales next to that era's "The Pusher" by Steppenwolf or Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man."

My favorite cut is "I Wonder." It asks: "I wonder how many times you had sex. And I wonder do you know who'll be next." Its repeating bass motif by Motown's Funk Brothers is catchy, funky and, for South Africans, daring and revolutionary. Rodriguez is on a comeback tour. And while the early albums showed promise then, I'm left hoping that nostalgia isn't the only tune Rodriguez sings these days.

Coming From Reality (1971)

★★★ (out of 5 stars)

Cold Fact (1970)

★★★ (out of 5 stars)

Recently in Music
  • The Permanent Gangsta Status of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy Prodigy, better known to ’90s rap aficionados as the prodigious half of Queensbridge duo Mobb Deep, has made a successful career operating on... | 9/17/2014
  • Our Picks for the 31st Annual Jazz’SAlive Eddie Palmieri: 9:30pm Saturday. Jazz’SAlive has traditionally made sure to clear at least one headlining space for Latin jazz... | 9/17/2014
  • Loudon Wainwright Hasn’t Got the Blues (Yet) Emerging with his eponymous debut in 1970, singer/songwriter Loudon Wainwright III found himself lumped along with fellow post-Dylan folk-revivalists Leonard Cohen, Cat Stevens and Randy Newman. But where those contemporaries relied on abstract imagery or p | 9/17/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus