Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rodriguez - Cold Fact

We live in an ironic world. I got my copy of Cold Fact a while ago from Ever. Judging by the cover, I thought this was going to be another one of the new crop of High School Musical indie bands who had appropriated old clip art. Luckily for me, I was wrong.

Looking at the elaborate packaging and leafing through the expansive booklet, it seems like we have a bona-fide lost classic. Evidently Rodriguez released Cold Fact in March of 1970 to a warm response that soon cooled. He played the odd date in Australia, where he had a larger than normal following, but eventually went into local politics in Detroit and got a philosophy degree.

David Holmes included the opening track "Sugar Man" in one of his recent DJ releases and catapulted Rodriguez back into the spotlight in the same way Beth Orton did for Terry Callier. Cold Fact is a record that resonates with the VietNam and Civil Right era. Rodriguez shines a light on the injustices of society in the same way his contemporaries Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye did. Rodriguez is of Mexican descent, but sings in a world-weary everyman tone. It's a very 70s sounding record, but that is by no means a negative. There a real Season Of The Witch vibe throughout, with the odd Cream or Sabbath-y turn or pastoral acoustic moment.

Listening to the issues Rodriguez was trying to foster a change in, it appears that not too much has changed since 1970. Maybe it's the cyclical nature of things, but Cold Fact is just as relevant today as it was almost 40 years ago, if not more so. The dated strings can be a little much, as is the interpolation of America The Beautiful (with children's choir, no less) on Gommorah (A Nursery Rhyme), but as reissue records go, Cold Fact is worth seeking out. You can pre-order it here from Light In The Attic.


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