Posted by ChenJian on August 3, 2017

专辑Coming from Reality


Cause I lost my job two weeks before Christmas

And I talked to Jesus at the sewer

And the Pope said it was none of his God-damned business

While the rain drank champagne

My Estonian Archangel came and got me wasted


Cause the sweetest kiss I ever got is the one I’ve never tasted

Oh but they’ll take their bonus pay to Molly McDonald,

Neon ladies, beauty is that which obeys, is bought or borrowed


Cause my heart’s become a crooked hotel full of rumours

But it’s I who pays the rent for these fingered-face out-of-tuners

and I make 16 solid half hour friendships every evening


Cause your queen of hearts who is half a stone

And likes to laugh alone is always threatening you with leaving

Oh but they play those token games on Willy Thompson

And give a medal to replace the son of Mrs. Annie Johnson


Cause they told me everybody’s got to pay their dues

And I explained that I had overpaid them

So overdued I went to the company store

and the clerk there said that they had just been invaded

So I set sail in a teardrop and escaped beneath the doorsill


Cause the smell of her perfume echoes in my head still


Cause I see my people trying to drown the sun

In weekends of whiskey sours


Cause how many times can you wake up in this comic book and plant flowers?

































Rodriguez-The Myths and The Mystery

“I began playing at 16 on a family guitar and it altered my life.” - Rodriguez, 1997

“我16岁时开始玩家里的一把吉他,于是它便改变了我的一生。” - 罗德里格兹,1997年


Craig Bartholomew tracked down Rodriguez, who is alive, well, living in Detroit and planning to tour South Africa next month.

Craig Bartholomew已经追踪到了Rodriguez,他目前还活着,生活在底特律,计划在下个月来南美洲巡演。


“Thanks for your time, and you can thank me for mine, and after that’s said, forget it!” were the poignant last words spoken, live on stage, before blowing his head off. That, at least, was one of the rumours. Others claimed he murdered his wife and was now in jail. Some said he was blind (“open the window and listen to the news”). Most of those asked were quite sure he was dead, perhaps because of the numerous references to drugs on both albums. A cold fact!



It was this anomaly – one that just kept on selling albums – that spurred me to find the truth, and as a bonus, the man behind the truth, Sixto Rodriguez. In 1972 the album Cold Fact was released in the United States by a folk singer known only as Rodriguez. It sold so badly that it was deleted. When released in South Africa though, it did so well that the record company released his earlier “no-hit” album Coming From Reality, disguised and renamed After The Fact. And then came 24 long years of nothing. No new albums, no music videos, no tours, no publicity – only rumours.

世间居然还有如此反常之事!那个人,他只是售卖专辑,他激励我去寻找真相,就像为了奖金,他藏在真相的背后,他就是Sixto Rodriguez。在1972年,专辑《Cold Fact》在美国有一名只知道叫Rodriguez的民谣歌手发行。由于售卖太差,导致直接退出市场。然而当它在南美洲发行的时候,却受到异常好评,致使唱片公司发行他的早期的无人问津的专辑《Coming From Reality》,并伪装重名为《After The Fact》。随后便是长达24年的无言,没有新专辑,没有音乐摄像,没有巡演,没有媒体关注,只有传言。


In 1996 I determined to find the man, dead or alive. After nine months, 72 telephone calls, 45 faxes, 142 e-mails, long nights reading through encyclopedias, music books, dead ends, loose ends and fag ends I reached him. “Yes … it is I, Sixto [Seez-to] Rodriguez,” said the voice on the other end of the telephone.

在1996年我觉得去寻找这个“是死还是活着”的男人。在经历9个月,72个电话,45封传真,142封邮件,数夜通读百科全书,音乐书籍,遇到过死胡同,毫无音讯的,毫无帮助的问题。直到我接到那个电话,那个在电话另一端的声音,“是的。是我,我就是Sixto Rodriguez”。


Finding out just where he’d been in all this time was not an easy task. He is a private man and has his “own concept of the universe”. For someone who once sang, “The mayor hides the crime rate … the public forgets the vote date,” it was surprising he had actually run for mayor of Detroit seven times. And although he hasn’t released any albums since 1974 he still plays and sings, has toured Australia twice, has fathered two daughters. He still has long hair, is fit and is bringing out a new album. What’s more, he’ll be in South Africa next month.



I spoke to him recently by phone.



Rodriguez: So, tell me about yourself!


CB: I was born in Kimberley, a very dry and dusty mining town with a mentality to match, and literally hours after my last school exam, I got the hell out.


R: Next question … How do they celebrate a diamond festival?


CB: Hey! Who’s doing this interview?


R: Okay, I like to tell people that I was born on Michigan Avenue, five blocks from the centre of Detroit.


CB: I’ve had a hard time in South Africa convincing people that you are alive and kicking. Why do you think this impression exists?


R: Imaginations working overtime. Your personal intervention, though, has energised my tour to South Africa.


CB: In A Most Disgusting Song you say you’ve “played faggot bars, hooker bars, motorcycle funerals, opera houses, concert halls”. Are you still playing?

CB:在歌曲《A Most Disgusting Song》中,你曾经写道,“同性恋酒吧,情色酒吧,送葬车队,都曾有我的身影”。如今的你,是否还在演唱呢?

R: I am working on a project with Mike Theodore at the moment (producer on the 1972 Cold Fact album).

R:目前,我在正在与Mike Theodore(1972年专辑《Cold Fact》的供应商)共事一个项目。

CB: Do you think everyone is in some way an artist?


R: Yes, art is in all of us. We all have a talent. It is up to us to listen and draw within ourselves and pull out the words, the form or some creative action.


CB: Your family’s from Mexico, are they not?


R: Yeah, immigrated to the US in the 1920s.


CB: This reminds me of one of my favourite pieces, a song by Pat Metheny called Sueño con Mexico.

CB:这让我想起我喜爱片段之一,一首来自于Pat Metheny的歌,叫《Sueño con Mexico》。

R: Yes, “I dream with Mexico”. I’ve heard the piece. Overlapping guitars. In my opinion, the guitar is central in popular music. Guitars have evolved, changed shape, become electrified. It is one of the most unifying language tools in the world. I’d be lost without one.


CB: Your daughter Eva says she has fond memories of you and your brothers sitting on your father’s porch jamming and singing Mexican music, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Hank Williams and others. What’s your earliest musical memory?

CB:你的女儿Eva讲起她的某些关于你的回忆,你和你的兄弟们坐在你父亲的门槛上,唱着墨西哥歌曲,James Taylor, Billy Joel, Hank Williams或者别的。那你最早的音乐记忆是什么呢?

R: I began playing at 16 on a family guitar and it altered my life.


CB: There’s something wonderful about trying to understand a new culture. Tell me about your summer with American Indians.


R: It was a great summer. We went swimming in Grand Bend and to pow-wows (a magical Indian ceremony) throughout Michigan. As far back as 1974 I was involved in organising an American-Indian pow-wow at Wayne State University Campus.

R:那是一个完美的夏日。我们一起在Grand Bend中游泳,一起穿过密歇根州去参加一种神奇的印第安节日pow-wows。回想在1974年,我曾被邀请到韦恩州立大学夏令营中去主持一个美洲印第安的pow-wows。

CB:… where you studied philosophy?


R: Yes, but to get back to American Indians … theirs is a vibrant and natural culture.


CB: What is the significance of the little grey shoe on the Coming From Reality album cover [released in South Africa as After The Fact].

CB:那双在专辑《Coming From Reality》封面(在南美为发行的《After The Fact》)上的小灰色鞋有什么寓意?

R: The shoe had no real meaning. The photographer, Hal Wilson, came in from New York. We walked around Detroit and saw the house. Debris was laying around and the shoe was nearby. I took it and placed it beside mine. We only took seven shots for the album cover. Milton Sincoff designed the cover with Buddha Records and we said at the time: if the album doesn’t make it, the cover will!

R:那双鞋没有什么真正的寓意。摄像师Hal Wilson来自于纽约。我们在底特律中闲逛,然后看到了一栋房子。底特律是那种随处可以躺着,有双鞋正好在附近。我拿起它直接穿到脚下。我们为专辑封面就拍了7张而已。Milton Sincoff设计的封面曾获得过Buddha奖,我们曾开玩笑道:如何专辑没法成功,那就让封面做到吧!

CB: In your music you mention names like Jane S Piddy, Molly MacDonald and Willlie Thompson. Who are they?

CB: 在你的歌曲中提到过很多名字,像Jane S Piddy,Molly MacDonald和Willlie Thompson。这些都是谁呢?

R: The people are fictional. I tapped on the writer’s poetic licence giving them names and shape. Almost as a caricature works for the visual artist.


CB: Coming From Reality was recorded Britain, yet I could not find one single copy there.

CB:《Coming From Reality》曾在英国录制,为何我在那儿没有发现一张单曲记录呢?

R: We spent 30 wonderful days recording the Reality album. We stayed in Belgravia, London. I really don’t know what happened with the distribution, though.

R:我们曾花费30个美好的日子来录制《Coming From Reality》这张专辑。我们住在伦敦贝尔格莱维亚区。但是我真的不知道专辑发售到底出了什么问题。

CB: Why was your masterpiece, Cold Fact, largely ignored in the US?

CB:为何你的著作《Cold Fact》会在美国无人问津呢?

R: “Masterpiece”? You’re too kind. It was the first product released on the Sussex label owned by Clarence Avant [today’s Motown head]. It’s all right that it happened this way.

R:著作?你真会开玩笑。它是第一部贴有Sussex标签的发行作品,Clarence Avant(就像当今汽车城的市长)曾拥有它。它如何变那样,就是历史中的这样了。

CB: What is your view on drugs such as cannabis, as in your song Sugar Man?

CB:在你歌曲《Sugar Man》中,你是如何看待毒品,例如大麻一类?

R: Clearly alcohol is a much more destructive substance. Weed is a natural substance. Less harmful and helpful in some cases. The way I see it is when the law catches up with reality, change will come. There’s a group in Michigan called Normal trying to “decriminalise” dope and a guy on the West Coast running for governor of California who produces the substance for medical purposes.


CB: I heard that there’s some link between you and the band Midnight Oil?

CB:我曾听说你和乐队Midnight Oil之间有一定的联系?

R: I feel that Midnight Oil is a top band. I first watched them perform in 1981. I witnessed their powerful stage performance at past two in the morning in the freezing cold of the Australian wind. It was so cold that as Peter Garrett performed steam was rising from his head. It was almost phantom-like. He is musical, political and international. I also love the Stones. For me, Mick Jagger is king, but Peter Garrett is also high on the list of music aristocracy. I’ve been lucky to have been backstage with Midnight Oil on several occasions. We were on the same bill in Australia in 1981 … it was a trip!

R:我认为Midnight Oil是一个顶级乐队。我第一次看他们的表演是在1981年。我见证过在澳大利亚寒冷的风中,他们连续两个早上在舞台上强有力的表演。那是如此的冷,当Peter Garrett在舞台演奏的时候,气流正从他的头顶上吹过。那样子真像幽灵。音乐,政治与国际化集于他的一身。我同样喜欢滚石乐队。对于我来说,Mick Jagger是王,但是Peter Garrett在音乐贵族的名单中同样有着相同的高度。我有幸在Midnight Oil的一些巡演中同台演出。我们曾在1981年一起在澳大利亚旅行过。

CB: Detroit is a city of soul music. Strange that you got your first recording break there?


R: There is a wide range of labels that pick up on Detroit talents. From a macro perspective, I feel we live in the age of sound like the Bronze Age or Stone Age. Today, we are all given so many clues about life through sound.




  1. The Myths and The Mystery

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