I’m going for a ride with Rodriguez this mornin’ they scoped his story cross my plate -not a moment too late- it crucified my mind and I still wonder if I got time to see tha Sugarman at Inner City Blues down on Sandraven tonight -I’m really looking forward to it- I’m gonna burn a pack of Sixto and chase tha dragons where tha black smoke flows I’m gonna burn with a little Sixto this mornin’, all the way to tha Market on Lullaby Lane I’m gonna wonder while I wander with Rodriguez -you stay here Sixto- me and tha Cold Facts will climb tha other half of stairs and bring it back so we can burn it over a stein of a most disgusting song -I always wonder when I wander-
P.S. you are greatly appreciated in this neck of tha woods(all of ya) wish I could shake your hands and give ya’ll bear hugs…
Hi folks at sugarman.org 🙂 I tried sending the below to the fanmail email for Rodriguez but it bounced. I know it probably won’t reach Rodriguez here but thought I’d give it a shot anyway.
Hi Sixto Rodriguez (or whoever reads your fanmail!),
I hope this email finds you well in the absurd reality of the covid world!
I am in the middle of my final year of a Music and Human Development degree in Dublin. I decided to do my musicological research dissertation on your music and its effect in South Africa during aparthied. It’s such a fascinating story and I’m delighted to get to delve into your music a bit more, and the complexities around the social and cultural phenomena in South Africa which endeared your music to so many there.
I have read all about you of course. I’ve focused on your music career but was interested that you got a BA in Philosophy and ran for Public Office. Such a well-rounded life you’ve had! It must be very strange for so many people to know so much about you, but having read the many forums on the Sugarman.org website, it’s clear that all who know you truly admire you and love your music. I have studied some philosophy as part of my Human Development course and am an introverted deep thinker in general (something I inherited from my Dad). I also write music, sometimes about the boy-girl stuff, as you say, but I also incorporate other issues which affect me. I think your music is great and I often sing your songs to myself. I hope to learn to play some on the guitar.
Well, I just wanted to say that you’re an inspiring man and musician and it’s been a pleasure listening to and studying your music. It’s amazing to see what an eye-opening effect you had on South Africans and how your music really got them through difficult times. My brother lives in Cape Town with his wife and I hope to visit next year and walk some of the paths you did when over there. I shall be making a trip to Stephen’s record shop, too!
Hello! I might be one of the last people in the U.S. to see the Searching For Sugar Man documentary – I was so moved, laughing and crying with my friend who checked it out from the public library to share with me.
My friend also had his Cold Fact CD, which I am about to rip into my iTunes Library… on the condition that I can pay Sixto Rodriguez directly. After watching the documentary and reading a few articles, I have zero confidence that purchasing any of his albums new results in revenue or royalties ever actually reach Rodriguez. So, can someone direct if he accepts Venmo or PayPal, or maybe Patreon. I poked around on this website and on the Rodriguez YouTube channel – where found a Facebook comment feed with comments similar to my feelings about buying Rodriguez albums and merch, worrying about others profiting, but him never seeing a cent. Most of us were probably not surprised about the mercenary nature of the music industry already, but Rodriguez’ story has got to be the worst of the worst as far as exploitation and fraud. Considering what Rodriguez has already been through, it seems like insult to injury to enthusiastically purchase his albums now, only to have it again get sucked down some hole… right into someone else’s pocket.
If anyone can direct me to a legit avenue to purchase his albums and/or make a direct payment to him, please let me know! I will keep looking until I find a way.
Rodriguez, I’m sure you have received thousands of messages. I just want to thank you for your music. It is simply amazing. After also watching all the videos of you I could (and reading all I could) it is obvious that you are a wonderful man whom your family loves very much. Thank you for making this world a better place…..
This mix opens with a recent cover version of “Sugar Man” by South African singer Rebekah Thompson.
This version plays under the closing credits of the 2019 film “Moffie” which is about a young man drafted into South Africa’s military, but he knows he is different and must keep himself hidden.
1. Sugar Man (from Moffie) – Rebekah Thompson 2. Heart Of Glass (Crabtree remix) – Blondie & Philip Glass 3. Adagio In G Minor – The Doors 4. Oblivion – M83 feat Susanne Sundfør 5. The Black Page #1 (piano version) – Ruth Underwood 6. Love Scene (from Zabriskie Point) – Richard Wright 7. The Rains Of Castamere (from Game Of Thrones) – Ramin Djawadi & Serj Tankian 8. Skyrim (Dragonborn) – Tina Guo 9. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Emily Browning 10. Chasing The Dragon – Epica 11. Nymphetamine (Fix) – Cradle Of Filth feat Liv Kristine 12. Crazy In Love (2014 version) from Fifty Shades Of Grey – Beyoncé 13. Tomorrow Never Knows (from Sucker Punch) – Alison Mosshart & Carla Azar 14. Oh! Darling – Peachy Keen 15. Sugar Man – Barbara Moleko
Unreleased track by the lads, featuring the McCully brothers, Tully and Mike. In comms with Tully, “…This track was featured on Springbok Radio’s ‘Battle of the Beats’ in 1966/67….Mel (Green), Mel (Miller) and Julian (Laxton) won, we came second…” …This is their take on the blues song first recorded by American Delta Blues musician Bukka White in 1940. An autobiographical piece, in which White sings of his experience at the infamous Mississippi State Penitentiary, known as Parchman Farm. The track has been covered by several other artists over the years.
Marq Vas, 29 December 2020
The Blue Beats – “Parchman Farm” Line up: Mike McCully – Drums Tully McCully – Bass, Lead Vocals Richard Hyam – Rhythm Guitar Maurice Findlay – Lead Guitar
Publisher: Marquis Music
Thanks to Tully for the track/band info and use of band pic.
Probably Rodriguez’s most well-known song. Rodriguez himself is also often referred to as The Sugar Man. A great song with superb instrumentation. This slow bluesy rock song is a paean to his drug dealer, however Rodriguez said on a TV interview in March 1998 that this song is “descriptive not prescriptive”. Great imagery and use of hippy slang, like “silver magic ships” and “sweet Mary Jane”, ensure the listeners’ interest. The psychedelic freak-out section in the middle reminds me of similar sections in Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and Uriah Heep’s ‘Gypsy’. – Brian Currin, 1998
“Cold Fact” opens with the ultra trippy Sugar Man, which may well have been straight out of an acid trip. “Sugar man met a false friend on a lonely dusty road, lost my heart, when I found it, it had turned to dead black coal” suggests just where exactly the inspiration came from as he goes on to list jumpers, coke and sweet Mary Jane. More than any other Rodriguez song, it is Sugar Man which personifies the artist in the minds of those who have always wondered. The eerie moog synthesizer, whistling in the background, the lazy and simple guitar chords and the dreamy nasal voice place the listener firmly in an era of fantasy. It sets a perfect tone for the album and the myth. – Andrew Bond, 1998
I’m not for drugs, I never advocated drug taking – Rodriguez, March 1998
What’s that song about anyway? – Rodriguez, 22 September 2001
This track was the first encore song on the 1998 South African tour. It was preceded by much chanting of “Su-gar Man, Su-gar Man…”. Were we calling for the song or the Man? Who knows, but he came and he sang and we loved it.
South African band Just Jinger also did a great cover of this song on their March 1998 EP “Something For Now”.
There have also been cover versions recorded by American band The Monkey Wrench and Australian band Stella One Eleven.
Kris Kristofferson recorded a completely different song called “Sugar Man” in 1972. Released on the “Jesus Was A Capricorn” album.
In 1991 The Escape Club also recorded a song titled “Sugar Man” (no relation to the Rodriguez song) on their “Dollars And Sex” CD.
In 2001 Rapper Nas sampled “Sugar Man” for his “You’re Da Man” track off “Stillmatic”.
In the December 2002 issue of UK music mag, MOJO, in the list “The 100 Greatest Drug Songs Ever!” “Sugarman” was at number 34.
You’d Like To Admit It
Extremely rare b-side of a seven single recorded in 1967 and credited to Rod Riguez.
This classic folk-rock song is the one that most people seem to associate with Rodriguez. Used as the show opener on the 1998 and 2001 SA tours. Simple in composition but penetrating in it’s lyrics.
It came as no surprise then that when “Cold Fact” hit the record racks, it became a hit, simply because it contained a phrase which would muddy the country’s sexually chaste waters and serve as a mantra to the youth: I wonder, how many times you’ve had sex… – Craig Bartholomew, 1997
Generation EXT’s slow hip-hop rap version of I Wonder was released on the compilation CD “Dance Connexion 17” in September 1998.
Only Good For Conversation
Classic fuzz metal guitar riff by Dennis Coffey opens this song, reminds me of Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke On The Water’. A harsh bitter song of lost love (..you’re the coldest bitch I know..), this track really rocks! Great bass line and a superb guitar solo. – Brian Currin, 1998
Climb Up On My Music
My favourite Rodriguez song and also one of my all-time favourite songs. Brilliant title and great lyrics. Excellent rock guitar from Chris Spedding and jazzy piano (by Phil Dennys?) make this song a classic. Wonderful production by Steve Rowland and superb stereo imaging. Listen to it!!
When performed live on the 1998 South African tour this track became a classic rock song of anthemic proportions. Willem Möller’s guitar solo is one of my magic moments in music. – Brian Currin, 1998
A wonderful instrumental duet for acoustic guitar and violin. Used as the intro for “Lifestyles”. Written by Rodriguez for his 2 daughters, Sandra and Eva. Sometimes mistitled as Sundrevan Lullaby.
…the musical part of Sandrevan Lullaby touches my heart (named after my sister Sandra and me)… – Eva Rodriguez, 1997
Rehearsed for the 1998 SA tour, but not performed (I know ‘coz I was there!) – Brian Currin, 1998
Rich Folks Hoax
Great song, what more can I say – listen to the words.
Craig Bartholomew told me that in 1987 when he was busking his way around Spain, this song received the best response, and the most money into his open guitar case!
Not written by Rodriguez, but sure sounds like it could have been. “Hate Street Dialogue” actually refers to the famous “Haight/Ashbury” area of San Francisco, the famous Hippie hang-out during the late 60s “Summer Of Love”.
…for years the title Hate Street Dialogue has been bothering me, when I listened to the song I gathered the lyrics were referring to the famous hippie street in San Francisco: Haight/Ashbury, however the title on the album is spelt “Hate”. Rodriguez said (on a South African radio phone-in show in March 1998) that although the lyrics of that particular song were not written by himself they did refer to the Haight and not to the opposite of love. – Stelios, 1998
Could this be “Janis Pity” – a sort of tribute to Janis Joplin? Read the lyrics and see the similarity to Janis and her lifestyle. Lyrics like “now you sit there thinking, feeling insecure…” and “…don’t bother to buy insurance, coz you’ve already died…”. Great imagery and biting prose. Read more about this song and ‘Like Janis’.
To Whom It May Concern (1979 live version)
A wonderful, almost progressive rock version with jazz-blues flute and even a bass solo. Recorded in Australia in 1979. This track is over 8 minutes long and the band is introduced on this song. Really great version.
Heikki’s Suburbia Bus Tour
After a conversation with my father, I wanted to share a short story…
In the sixties, there were these people called hippies. It can be said that a long hair, dark skin, free thinking musician, like Rodriguez could have been labelled one. In my youth, I recall hearing about how the “rich folks” (those living in the suburbs), would come down to the inner city of Detroit to actually see these “oddities” in their natural environment. Maybe even take a picture or two. This happened to be my neighborhood and some of my people.
Rodriguez had a very good friend named Heikki. I remember a large man with long blond/brown hair. He had a very nice home, a wife named Linda and two huge bull mastiff dogs. Despite stereotypes, Heikki was a mathematician from “Estonia” (Estonia is a republic in North-Eastern Europe, near Finland) who rode a classic motorcycle. In fact, one of the places that Rodriguez played, a “motorcycle funeral”, was for one of Heikki’s friends. The motorcycle club was called “The Penetrators”.
Anyway, someone had made fun of Rodriguez’s friend. Protective of Heikki’s feelings, Rodriguez organized what I consider to be a peaceful form of retaliation. A bus was chartered, full of hippies, four gallons of wine, etc. The group went to Grosse Point, Michigan and surrounding areas where they visited suburbian malls and neighborhoods on a tour of their own. The rest, is in the music. The story made the newspapers in Detroit and also reached Florida (a southern U.S. state). – Eva Rodriguez, 1997
A Most Disgusting Song
In “A Most Disgusting Song” the people are like someone we all know. I think it was a depiction of a place Rodriguez played, a bar called “The Sewer” near the Detroit River, that was demolished a long time ago (In the song “Cause” Rodriguez speaks to Jesus (his brother?) at the Sewer). One of the places that Rodriguez played, a “motorcycle funeral”, was for one of Heikki’s friends. The motorcycle club was called “The Penetrators”. – Eva Rodriguez, 1997
I am from Karumba Queensland Australia. From the late 70’s the local commercial fishermen here have been listening to Rodriguez while working on their boats for many many years. A big percentage of us are in our late 50s to 60s now. In 2023 Karumba will be 150 years old. And you being part of our history for so long would you think about playing here. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
We are planning a tiny festival in may, we are here in the Netherlands. A post covid return to each other. Intimate and connected. There is no one we would rather book than you. We are a literary platform and believe you are the most brilliant songwriter ever, the festival will be in buses. Would you please come. We have a budget and think a moment like this would be essential to healing.
Hello! Mr. Rodriguez has been my companion and “spirit guide” since watching Searching For Sugarman at the beginning of the Pandemic. He has become one of my heroes and I listen to the soundtrack everyday while I ride my mountain bike out in the country. I would so love to know how he is and if he will ever perform again? My greatest wish would be to be able to talk with him to express what his music and his “being” means to me. Thank you for any help or update you can provide.’