February 24, 2009

Psychedelic Funky Folk: Sixto Rodriguez on Sussex 1971-1972

Sixto Diaz Rodriguez was born in 1942 to Mexican immigrant parents in Detroit, Michigan. He was discovered by Dennis Coffey and his production partner Mike Theodore while singing in a Detroit club facing the wall. Impressed by his sound, they took Sixto to Sussex boss Clarance Avant, who signed him immediately. He released two albums on Sussex: His debut, Cold Fact, is a hidden gem, containing psychedelic protest song, not unlike Dylan’s, but edgier and funkier. The famous Sugarman can be found on this album. The second Sussex releases is called Coming from Reality, recorded in London and not as captivating as Cold Fact.
Sixto Rodriguez – Cold Fact (Sussex 1971)
Tracklist: Sugar Man, Only Good For Conversation, Crucify Your Mind, This Is Not A Song, It's an Outburst:Or, The Establishment Blues, Hate Street Dialogue, Forget It, Inner City Blues, I Wonder, Like Janis, Gommorah (A Nursery Rhyme), Rich Folks Hoax, Jane S. Piddy.
The funky psychedelic folk masterpiece Cold Fact was recorded in the fall of 1969 with Dennis Coffey on Guitar, Mike Theodore on keyboards and Funk Brothers, bassist Bob Babbit and drummer Andrew Smith, as rhythm section. It also contains the killertune Sugarman, where Coffey and Theodore experiment freely with backward tape delay, creating a psychedelic landscape for Sixto's songs. Unfortunately, at the time of release the records didn't sell, but over the years it grew into a rare classic. Lovingly re-issued in 2008 by Light in the Attic.
Sixto Rodriguez – Coming From Reality (Sussex 1972)
Tracklist: Climb Up On My Music, A Most Disgusting Song, I Think Of You, Heikki's Suburbia Bus Tour, Silver Words, Sandrevan Lullaby - Lifestyles, To Whom It May Concern, It Started Out So Nice, Halfway Up The Stairs, Cause.
Although his first album did't sell very well, a second Sussex album, Coming from Reality, was released in the fall of 1971. This time recorded in London with British producers Steve Rowland and Chris Spedding replacing the Sussex crew. Which resulted in an album way more folkier, more poppy and unfortunately less funky due to the abscence of the Coffey-Theodore duo and the Funk Brothers rhythm section. Including Halfway Up The Stairs, the first song Rodriguez ever wrote. The album will be reissued in may 2009 by Light in the Attic, and also includes three previously unreleased bonus tracks recorded in Detroit in 1972 with Theodore & Coffey, representing the last thing the trio ever did together.

For more info on Sixto check http://www.sugarman.org/
For more info on the Sussex label check: