That Sugar Man

The first time I heard of Rodriguez was in the full-sized tour bus of the Drums. We played at the same festival in Hamburg and it was raining heavily, so they were kind to offer me shelter in their parked bus. What I remember from there was a German guy who played some music from a laptop computer. I asked him what it was and he said ”Rodriguez. You don’t know him? Hmm… I was sure you had heard about Rodriguez”. I hadn’t heard about him, but when I got home, I did my homework, as always. I read about him, about the ”rediscovery” of him and listened to his most famous record, ”Cold Fact” from 1970. It was a decent record, I thought. Slightly awkward, hippie and a bit heavy-handed.

Then I almost forgot about him for two or so years until papers here in Sweden started to write about the film ”Searching for Sugar Man”. They gave it glowing reviews and suddenly he was being rediscovered again. I didn’t know whether to go see the film or just tell people that yes, well, I already know about Rodriguez, thank you.

Boy am I glad I did the former. I still think most his songs are  only decent and very much of their time – I certainly don’t see it as a complete mystery why his albums flopped in the States. But I never, ever thought his story told in a documentary this way could be this powerful. More accurately, I realize I really had no idea at all. It is simply an amazingly beautiful film about a seemingly amazingly beautiful person. I seldom cry in cinemas nowadays, but this was just too much for the old heart. Fantastic.

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