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Rodriguez' Cold Fact

Posted by Miss Ess, August 28, 2008 12:13pm | Post a Comment
In 1970, Detroit native Rodriguez released his auspicious debut album, Cold Fact. It failed in the charts. His follow up album fared even worse, and he was subsequently dropped from his label, his music doomed to obscurity.

sixto rodriguez cold fact

Luckily for us, reissue label Light in the Attic has recently re-released Cold Fact, and it is a fantastic surprise, a cohesive, shrewd and confident record. Oh, and it sounds effing great cold fact rodrigueztoo! The album is awash in late 60s-era production touches, along with Forever Changes-like horns and overall orchestration that add to the complexity of the songs. Rodriguez' vocals are plaintive and his delivery style somewhat Dylanesque, although I think his voice is much more consistent than Dylan's. A few of my coworkers have said the album sounds much like Donovan, but I think it sounds much, much smarter than any Donovan record. The songs are clear eyed views of poverty, city life, sex, drugs and rock n roll-- views of the muddled '60s. I love how in the album's second song, "Only Good For Conversation," he calls a woman out as "the coldest bitch I know" by the second line! I think the album is pretty bold for 1970. It also still sounds fresh to these ears, even today.

Rodriguez was born Sixto Diaz Rodriguez in 1940s Detroit to Mexican immigrant parents. He was discovered playing guitar in bars by Dennis Coffey and Mike Theodore. Coffey was a member of the Funk Brothers, the incredible crew of musicians that had played on countless Motown Hits. The two signed Rodriguez to the Sussex label, where he would record his two albums before being dropped. The label folded a few years later.

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