It Was 24 Years Ago Today… That I Saw Rodriguez Play! | Brian Currin

Rodriguez and Brian Currin on the 7th March 1998... with just autographed, rolled-up set list clutched in his hand!
Rodriguez and Brian Currin on the 7th March 1998… with just autographed, rolled-up set list clutched in his hand!

The Set List

  1. I Wonder
  2. Only Good For Conversation
  3. Can’t Get Away
  4. Crucify Your Mind
  5. Jane S. Piddy
  6. To Whom It May Concern
  7. Like Janis
  8. Inner City Blues
  9. Street Boy
  10. A Most Disgusting Song
  11. I’ll Slip Away
  12. Halfway Up The Stairs
  13. I Think Of You
  14. Rich Folks Hoax
  15. Climb Up On My Music

    Encores:

  16. Sugar Man
  17. Establishment Blues
  18. Forget It

Scan of the sound engineer’s set list, dated and autographed.

Set List 7 March 1998

From Sweet Songs To Street Songs

Review by Brian Currin

From the simplistic, yet instantly recognisable bass guitar intro of I Wonder, to the last fading echoes of Thanks For Your Time, this was a show that enthralled everyone from the die-hard old fans with their balding heads and beer paunches to the new virgin devotees.

From sweet songs to street songs,
from bitter to beautiful,
from minor keys to metal mayhem,
from tear-jerker to tear-it-up,
from disgusting songs to rock anthems…this was truly a magic show of vast proportions.

Rodriguez has not released new material in over 25 years, he has no chart-topping singles, yet he opens to a standing ovation – and everybody sings along to all the songs.

Colin Taylor from KFM radio opened the show by shouting with great enthusiasm:
“Cape Town, put your hands together and welcome a true legend on stage – Rodriguez!”

Reuben Samuels started a slow drum beat and when Graeme Currie introduced that classic bass line (de-de de-de de-dum) the crowd went wild in instant recognition and when The Man slipped quietly onto the stage, the Velodrome stood up in adoration for this long-lost legend. I Wonder was wonderful and after the song, Rodriguez just stood and stared at the audience in awe.

Only Good For Conversation was done hard and heavy with great guitar from Willem Möller.
“..you’re so proper and so cute” sang Rodriguez with a smile in his voice.

Can’t Get Away was superb and when he started to sing the second verse again by mistake, the band supported him and the audience forgave him.

All the favourites followed with the arrangements staying very close to the originals and the crowd hanging on every word. Tonia Selley from The Pressure Cookies and Big Sky provided superb backing vocals throughout.

A highlight was the solo rendition of “A Most Digusting Song” sung with great humour. “There’s someone here who’s almost a virgin I’m told” was met with much laughter.
And when he sang “…your government will provide the shrugs” a responsive chord was hit, even though this song was written in 1970!

Rodriguez doesn’t say much, he lets his music and words speak to us, but he did give us one message:

I want to wish you the best of luck
in everything you do,
you’re gonna do it,
you’re gonna solve it,
you’re gonna heal ’em,
you’re gonna do it

– perceptive and profound words from this poet and prophet.

And then into an absolutely incredible blues-rock version of Climb Up On My Music. Willem Möller burnt up his fretboard with a classic rock guitar solo and Russel Taylor played a jazzy-blues keyboard solo which left us breathless.

Rodriguez slipped away as the band ended the song, but soon returned to perform a 3-song encore starting with Sugar Man, then Establishment Blues and ending with the perfect show-closer Forget It with those poignant words “Thanks for your time“.

Thank you, Cape Town” sang Rodriguez.

No, thank YOU, Rodriguez – the mystery and myth may be gone, but the music and memories will live forever and the magic of that night will stay with us always.

Originally posted on SugarMan.org

Rodriguez to perform during The Cabot’s virtual 100th anniversary celebration

by Blake Maddux, Correspondent,
WickedLocal.com

Rodriguez to perform during The Cabot's virtual 100th anniversary celebration
Rodriguez to perform during The Cabot’s virtual 100th anniversary celebration

Sixto Díaz Rodriguez, the previously obscure (to Americans, at least) subject of the Oscar-winning 2012 documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” had been scheduled to play at The Cabot this past April. In what proved to be an optimistic assessment of COVID-19’s staying power, the show was rescheduled for June.

Alas, his visit to Beverly is not among those that are now on the 2021 calendar.

That’s because the singer-songwriter – whose preternatural talent was captured on the early 1970s albums “Cold Fact” and “Coming from Reality” – has been tapped as one of many marquee performers participating in The Cabot’s 100th anniversary virtual celebration on Thursday, Dec. 3.

Though the Herald Citizen’s interview with Rodriguez was conducted by phone in February with the plan of previewing his spring concert, much of what was discussed still serves the same purpose for next week’s celebratory event.

The Detroit native described his family as “musical people who danced and sang.” Thus, Rodriguez grew up in a household of people who played music themselves rather than listening to records on a turntable. “I think they were more live,” he explained.

Mississippi-born electric blues guitarist and songwriter Jimmy Reed is the one specific artist Rodriguez names when asked about his influences. However, he tried to understand the style of “anyone playing guitar,” including folk artists who didn’t “write only boy-girl songs.”

On that latter point, Rodriguez aimed to “broaden the scope” as a lyricist when he began composing songs as a teenager.

“I’m Mexican, you know, so English is my second language,” he said.

“I have a lot respect for the English language … I play with the words,” he added, affirming his interest in how words can be manipulated and used to mean different things.

“Literature is based on experience and personal interpretation,” he also averred, indirectly describing his approach to lyric writing.

Statements like this make it unsurprising that the 78-year-old has a degree in philosophy (from Detroit’s Wayne State University, which he has long lived a few blocks from) and profoundly admires the American philosopher, psychologist, and Harvard professor William James.

“He was very optimistic,” Rodriguez said of the founder of pragmatism. “I’m optimistic. I want to live to be 350 years old. But like you, I can only do one day at a time.”

While this might be true on a personal level, Rodriguez’s lyrics are frequently far from Pollyannish with regard to societal or political concerns. For example, his 1970 song “This Is Not a Song, It’s an Outburst: or, The Establishment Blues” includes lyrics such as “Public gets irate/but forgets the vote date,” “gun sales are soaring/housewives find life boring,” and “Adultery plays the kitchen/bigot cops nonfiction.”

The recent election was nine months away when the conversation happened. As would be expected of a self-described “musico-politico” who has run for local offices in the past, Rodriguez had some thoughts on the matter.

“I’m supporting Bernie Sanders,” he shared. “I made posters for him and I carry them around.”

Asked about the then-non-lame duck Oval Office occupant, he responded, “My first line of the show is, ‘I have something to say to the commander-in-chief.’ Then I put on my hat and I shake my head down. That’s what I think of this administration.”

Expert songwriting and sage-like wisdom aside, Rodriguez is a modest and unassuming human being. That likely comes from decades of being more or less forgotten as a musician (though not everywhere, as the documentary makes abundantly clear) despite his immense talent.

Eight years of previously unexpected time in the spotlight and the economic windfall brought about by extensive touring has done nothing to change this.

“I put a roof on my house. I got new floors and new doors,” is his answer to whether he has afforded himself any indulgences. “I’m proud of the place.”

This is the same house seen in “Searching for Sugar Man,” and which a 2013 MLive article reports his having paid $50 for in 1976.

A Spoonful Of Sugar And James returns to the Alma Café in Mowbray on Friday Sept 27th at 8pm

Sugar and James

A Spoonful Of Sugar And James returns to the  Alma Café in Mowbray on Friday Sept 27th at 8pm. Booking is as always absolutely essential by phone on  021 685 7377. 50 seats only.

This innovative, informative and slightly irreverent performance sees the acclaimed South African singer-songwriter, James Stewart, joining Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, the man behind the rediscovery of Sixto Rodriguez and the Oscar-winning documentary, “Searching For Sugar Man”, to share their respective stories and play and sing some great Rodriguez and South African classic songs.

www.SugarMan.org

A Spoonful Of Sugar And James returns to the Alma Café in Mowbray on Friday Sept 27th at 8pm

Sugar and James

A Spoonful Of Sugar And James returns to the  Alma Café in Mowbray on Friday Sept 27th at 8pm. Booking is as always absolutely essential by phone on  021 685 7377. 50 seats only.

This innovative, informative and slightly irreverent performance sees the acclaimed South African singer-songwriter, James Stewart, joining Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, the man behind the rediscovery of Sixto Rodriguez and the Oscar-winning documentary, “Searching For Sugar Man”, to share their respective stories and play and sing some great Rodriguez and South African classic songs.

www.SugarMan.org

A Spoonful of Sugar and James at The Glencairn Hotel, 31st August 2019

Sugar & James Glencairn

A Spoonful Of Sugar & James
The Glencairn Hotel
31 August

It’s been called “The Greatest Music story of the past 50 years”, the story of this wonderful and talented musician and his journey to his well-deserved and long-overdue fame. But enough about James Stewart 😉 In this innovative, informative and slightly irreverent show, James joins Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, the person behind the rediscovery of Sixto Rodriguez and “Searching For Sugar Man”, the Oscar-winning documentary about the whole story, as the two music journeymen tell their respective tales and play and sing some of the most seminal Rodriguez and South African classic songs. Willem Moller will add his special soulful flair on guitar.

Book tickets here http://bit.ly/SugarJamesGlencairn

Rodriguez Popular in China

Letter from a Chinese Fan:

Dear Mr. Rodriguez and his friends

I am a fan from China. I would like to know when and where Rodriguez will perform next, and how can I reserve tickets?

I’m also very, very curious about whether Rodriguez would consider coming to China for a show. There are so many people here who love his music and his singing. We sincerely expect him to perform in China, which will be a historic moment!

Sincerely,
Yucca

‘A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR AND JAMES’ COMES TO SUIKERBOSSIE

Sugar and James

It’s going to be a very sweet Sunday afternoon in Hout Bay when James Stewart and Stephen “Sugar” Segerman bring their exciting new show, ‘A Spoonful Of Sugar And James’ to SuikerBossie on 5th May. Following a series of sold out, and critically acclaimed, early performances, this entertaining show is looking to move to larger theatres in the near future, so this is a good opportunity to catch this performance from up close.

James Stewart, the well-known South African singer-songwriter from The Usual, and ‘Sugar’, the man behind the rediscovery of Rodriguez, and the film, ‘Searching For Sugar Man’, share their stories, with some classic Rodriguez, South African, and James Stewart original songs mixed in.

The show begins in the late afternoon (6pm) and the ticket price of R270 per person includes a typically delicious SuikerBossie meal of a mini-soup, gourmet burger and dessert. Tickets are already on sale at Web Tickets so book now:  http://bit.ly/SugarJamesSuikerbossie or www.webtickets.co.za

James Stewart

MUSICalchemy

082 807 9544 | james@music-alchemy.com | www.music-alchemy.com

Emmy nominated, multi SAMA award winning, chart topping singer, songwriter and music business entrepreneur.

A Spoonful Of Sugar & James at Alma Cafe 12 April 2019

Spoonful Of Sugar And James

It’s been called “The Greatest Music story of the past 50 years”, the story of this wonderful and talented musician and his journey to his well-deserved and long-overdue fame. But enough about James Stewart 😉 In this innovative, informative and slightly irreverent show, James joins Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, the person behind the rediscovery of Sixto Rodriguez and “Searching For Sugar Man”, the Oscar-winning documentary about the whole story, as the two music journeymen tell their respective tales and play and sing some of the most seminal Rodriguez and South African classic songs.

This Friday!

Sugar and I promised ourselves we’d do a short run and see how it goes…. it’s been amazing.

A Spoonful of Sugar & James intertwines and connects seminal South African songs with a story so seemingly fantastical it seems unbelievable.

Booking is as always absolutely essential by phone on  021 685 7377. 50 seats only.

James Stewart

MUSICalchemy

082 807 9544 | james@music-alchemy.com | www.music-alchemy.com

Emmy nominated, multi SAMA award winning, chart topping singer, songwriter and music business entrepreneur.

 

A Spoonful Of Sugar And James at Noordhoek on 28 February 2019

A Spoonful of Sugar And James

It’s been called “The Greatest Music story of the past 60 years”, the story of this wonderful and talented musician and his journey to his well-deserved and long-overdue fame. But enough about James Stewart. In this innovative, informative and slightly irreverent show, James joins Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, the person behind the rediscovery of Sixto Rodriguez and “Searching For Sugar Man”, the Oscar-winning documentary about the whole story, as the two old friends tell their respective tales and play and sing some great Rodriguez and South African classic songs.
Catch these two on Thursday 28th February at Café Roux in Noordhoek (7.30 for 8)

A Spoonful Of Sugar And James

Music Interview: James Stewart & Stephen “Sugar” Segerman – Getting Sweet On Songcraft, Or An Un-Usual Combination

It’s been called “The Greatest Music Story of the past 50 years”, the tale of this wonderful and talented musician and his journey to his well-deserved and long-overdue fame. But enough about James Stewart”!

In this innovative, informative and slightly irreverent show, James joins Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, the man behind the rediscovery of Sixto Rodriguez and “Searching For Sugar Man”, the Oscar-winning documentary about the whole story, as these two old “choms” share their respective stories and play and sing some great Rodriguez and South African classic songs.

For 20 years, Sugar, as he is popularly known, has been involved in the rediscovery of, and resurgence of worldwide interest in, Sixto Rodriguez. This legendary and internationally acclaimed American folk-rock singer-songwriter, who was a huge success in South Africa from the ‘70’s onwards, was believed to be dead but was found alive and well and living in Detroit in 1997. Since then his career has gone from strength to strength following a series of international tours, the re-release of his albums, and the success of the Oscar-winning film in 2013.

Since then, Sugar has travelled around South Africa, and overseas, giving talks and answering questions about the whole Rodriguez story. He attended the Academy Awards ceremony in 2013, followed by the publishing of his best-selling book in 2015, titled “Sugar Man – The Birth, Death and Resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez”, co-written with his fellow “Musical Detective” in the story, Craig Bartholomew Strydom. For the past 15 years he has also been the owner of Mabu Vinyl, the Cape Town record shop featured in the Rodriguez film.

James Stewart, the Multi SAMA award-winning, EMMY-nominated, chart-topping, singer-songwriter, cut his teeth in classical music with the usual childhood distaste, and then “surfed passionately and messed around with synthesizers” in his early teens. The following decade would see him form his own band, abandon a law career and take a leap into the great unknown. As singer-songwriter for The Usual, he achieved fame with enduring classics like ‘The Shape That I’m In’ and ‘Like A Vision’. Since then ‘Shine’, ‘A Man Like Me’, and many other solo hits, have found their way into hearts and homes across South Africa.

Hear James tell his side of the story and play a selection of songs by himself, Rodriguez and other South African artists.

Listen to these two musical journeymen connect the dots between their respective adventures.

Catch these two on Saturday 9th February at Franschoek Cellars (3-5pm) and then on Thursday 28th February at Café Roux in Noordhoek (7.30 for 8)

Contact:
James Stewart
Email: james@music-alchemy.com
Phone: 082 807 9544

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