Rodriguez Cold Fact

Rodriguez Cold Fact
Judging by the cover (and the name), you'd think Rodriguez was a weird, sleazy, good-time guy. In fact, Rodriguez is much harder to classify. He played folk rock with familiar roots, but nothing about him read "acoustic guitar-slinger. He played in Detroit in the late '60s and made connections with the city's major players, but his music is far removed from anything associated with that place and time. Released on Sussex in 1970, the record was produced and arranged by Mike Theodore and Dennis Coffey, high-profile performers, session players and producers in the Detroit soul scene, an association that makes Rodriguez's thing even harder to understand. The lyrics were part psychedelic diatribe, part beat poetry (though much better than that description makes them out to be), marked by unusual wordings and surprisingly eloquent political rants. His songs were simple and guitar-based but the arrangements ranged from baroque pop to proto-electronic, with unusual effects creating a greater rift between Rodriguez's style and that of the music he drew from. A true eccentric, Rodriguez was all but overlooked in the States, though he had the support of Detroit luminaries, he was a marketing disaster (at once convincingly streetwise and out to lunch, it was difficult to slot his music into one major trend or another), yet somehow he's had major followings in Australia and South Africa since. A collector favourite, Cold Fact is a worthy reissue, to be sure; it's cultic enough to make sense but interesting enough to matter. (Light In The Attic)