Rodriguez and his place in The Story Of Rock | Brian Currin

Willem Moller, Rodriguez, Brian Currin, Sugar Segerman | 2 March 1998
Willem Moller, Rodriguez, Brian Currin, Sugar Segerman | 2 March 1998

Almost all the recent fan messages on the Sugarman.org website are from people saying they have never heard of Rodriguez before. Many even apologize for not listening to him in the 1970s.

I can’t remember when exactly I first heard ‘Cold Fact’. For me his music just always seemed to have been there. A number of the mixtapes from my teenage years show “Sugar Man”, “Rich Folks Hoax” and “I Wonder” as being from 1973/74 when I was about 14/15.

I was wrong, of course, but didn’t know that until much later.

A long time ago, I compiled a series of C90 mixtapes called The Story Of Rock, with all the information lovingly catalogued and hand-written in hard cover books.

Page 13 of Book 7 shows the track listing for “The Story Of Rock 1973 to 1974” and includes the following songs:

  • Long Train Running – The Doobie Brothers
  • We Live – Xit
  • Sugar Man – Rodriguez
  • Radar Love – Golden Earring
  • Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
  • Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • The Ballad Of Casey Deiss – Shawn Phillips
  • Rich Folks Hoax – Rodriguez
  • We’re An American Band – Grand Funk Railroad

Other artists include Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers Band, Yes, Focus, Chicago and more. And Rodriguez was the only one that got two entries! The next page shows “The Story Of Rock 1974 to 1976” and includes “I Wonder” alongside songs by Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Thin Lizzy, Rory Gallagher, Pink Floyd, Genesis, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Uriah Heep, Nazareth and others.

Cold Fact
Cold Fact

I am finding it impossible to imagine what it must be like to not grow up listening to his music alongside all those other well-known classic rock bands. I know I never heard him on the radio, but that wasn’t that strange as a number of my “Story Of Rock” artists didn’t get much radio play any way.

But that he wasn’t famous in the rest of the world, didn’t cross my mind. When I first discovered the internet during the 1996 Festive Season, I could find information on Pink Floyd and Deep Purple, however I could find nothing on Rodriguez. And that started me on a quest, that just seems to be continuously having happy endings.

Without trying to sound too melodramatic, I would not be living the life I do now, and earning my income from doing what I love, if it was not for Rodriguez and all the sparks that he ignited.

Brian Currin, August 2012

Life Is A Long Song

[Thanks to Jethro Tull for the post title]

Just a few of my favourite really long songs.

Thick As A Brick – Jethro Tull

Supper’s Ready – Genesis

Karn Evil 9 – Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Close To The Edge – Yes

Tubular Bells – Mike Oldfield

Phallus Dei – Amon Düül II

Autobahn – Kraftwerk

Ma – Rare Earth

Get Ready – Rare Earth

Just A Poke (album) – Sweet Smoke: Baby Night & Silly Sally

Includes an excerpt from The Soft Parade by The Doors and a wonderfully phased drum solo.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond, parts 1-9 – Pink Floyd

On the ‘Wish You Were Here’ album, this song is split into two sections, separated by the other 3 songs on the album. Here it can be heard as one long piece.

Anonymus Two – Focus

Tarkus – Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Echoes – Pink Floyd

Salisbury – Uriah Heep

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida – Iron Butterfly

Ordinary length songs are often stretched incredibly during live performances, here’s one of them:

Dazed And Confused (live 1973) – Led Zeppelin

And here’s another:

Space Truckin’ – live 1974 – Deep Purple

And just for laughs:

Metal Machine Music – Lou Reed

This double album, consisting of 4 sides of equal length, is like one of those really bad movies that you keep watching hoping it will get better.

Spoiler alert:  it doesn’t.

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