Searching for Sugar Man – Rodriguez

One of my clients mentioned the movie Searching For Sugar Man in passing and he seemed to have really enjoyed it. He said it was about a tortured American artist who had marginal success at home but was highly successful outside of the country.

Okay, sounds cool. Shortly after I received an email from Amazon, with Rodriguez music featured, for a fiver. My hand was instinctively drawn to the Searching for Sugar Man album. I couldn’t help myself. That’s how I do new music, thankfully.

This may be the closest I ever get to Bob Dylan. The term folk music is used to describe both artists, but Rodriguez is often also attached to the term psychedelic. He’s from Detroit and reached a little notoriety in the early 70s with a couple of albums, but they never took off, so he hung it up.

However, his songs gained popularity in South Africa and a pack of devoted fans sought him out in the 1990s, which resulted in a documentary. I am fired up about the doc. It seems like a cool story. I haven’t seen it on iTunes yet but 60 Minutes did a solid piece on it.

This album is a compilation of stuff from his career. His vocals are mellow, swooning, and crystal clear backed with spare guitar, strings, horns, and various percussion instruments (think bongos and tambourines). I think he plays the guitar in most songs.

The lyrics are a downer. They’re about people in bars and on the streets. Here’s a sample from A Most Disgusting Song.

While the mob here provides you drugs
Your governments will provide the shrugs
You national guard will provide the slugs

All the lyrics seem honest and hard working. Watch the 60 Minutes piece and it will give you a feeling for this man’s soul. It’s a great story and I can’t wait for the doc to hit iTunes. More after I see the documentary.