The music that made me, the music that moved me: Leonard Cohen, Tracy Chapman, Counting Crows and The National | Rodney Reiners

From Rodney Reiners Blog

I feel music.

I don’t listen to it, I don’t hear it.

I feel it.

As the ‘laat lammetjie” [late child] in the family, and my siblings much older, I spent much of my childhood alone. Trapped inside my head, and unable to make sense of the bizarre South Africa I was born into, music provided an escape route, a safety valve, a mellifluous, lyrical conduit to quell the encroaching demons.

So, even today, music, songs that appeal to me, simply seep into my consciousness; it wriggles under the skin and pervades my emotions in a manner that’s almost textural, tangible.

“Music is the emotional life of most people,” said Leonard Cohen.

Wherever we come from, whatever we are, whoever we are, irrespective of race, culture or religion, notwithstanding colour or creed, music is something we all have in common.

We might like different types, different sounds, different rhythms – rock, pop, classical, jazz, country, folk or even all the new musical genres  – but there’s no disputing the fact that music evokes emotion and memory.

As the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow so aptly summed up: “Music is the universal language of mankind.”

For me, it’s always about the listening, the feeling. I have an album of Paul Williams that I remember playing on repeat at the age of 12 – and I’ve always been charmed, captivated by the inscription on the back: “There are those who listen and those who wait to talk. This album is dedicated to the listeners.”

Earlier this week, my son, Rustin, and I watched the new Cohen documentary – “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song” – and it triggered, inspired this blog post.

As the movie credits scrolled down at the end of the documentary, the curtains to the screen of my life opened. It catapulted me back to my childhood, to the starting point where my love for music and, more importantly, lyrics and words, were first awakened.

Poet, singer and songwriter, Cohen’s inner strife, his pain and passion, has always intrigued and inspired. His dexterity with words, to make it come alive, to make emotions come oozing out of a phrase or sentence, provided comfort, cheer and clarity to this young kid growing up on the streets of Factreton.

In addition to the new documentary out on the circuit now, I’ve also seen the 1974 documentary, “Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire”, and the hauntingly beautiful “Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love”.

I also have his book, “The Flame”, which Rustin gave me as a birthday present a few years ago.

But, back then, musically, it wasn’t just Cohen…

It actually all started with John Lennon and the Beatles. As a young boy, I was obsessed with Lennon and his revolutionary, non-conformist approach to life. There was no TV, there was no social media, so I spent hours in the local library, reading just about anything that was available on Lennon and the Beatles.

In addition to Cohen and Lennon, there was Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, Don McLean, Janis Ian, Peter Sarstedt, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Bread and Fleetwood Mac [including the husky vulnerability of that most idiosyncratic voice, Stevie Nicks].

But music doesn’t only elicit emotion, it also freezes a moment in time. And that particular moment, that memory, endures – eternally. For me, that instant etched in time is Rustin, as a little boy, probably around 3 or 4, seat-belted in the back of my car, and singing along, at the top his voice, to the words of Alanis Morissette’s “Thank You, India/ Thank you terror/ Thank you disillusionment…”

And, I guess, as fate would have it, Rustin is a talented musician/singer/songwriter himself today.

In the same way that he was introduced to my love for music, he is now able to expose me to new singers and new sounds – like Phoebe Bridges, Gregory Alan Isakov, Novo Amor, Paolo Nutini, Harrison Whitford, City and Colour, Iron and Wine, Noah Gunderson, Sufjan Stevens, Ben Howard and Paper Kites, to name a few.

Rustin doing his music thing

My musical past, though, cannot be complete without three more names – Tracy Chapman, Counting Crows and The National.

When Chapman released her first album in 1988, it blew me away. “Fast Car” and its lyrics spoke to the socio-economic issues affecting so many South Africans, and “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” echoed the political struggle we were faced with.

The unique sound of the Counting Crows and the raw, emotionally-charged lyrics of enigmatic lead singer Adam Duritz always renders me exhausted and breathless. Duritz’s brutally honest, heart-on-a-sleeve style often brandishes a metaphorical razor blade at your emotions, your intellect. And, like a poet, he leaves you, spread-eagled in admiration, eager to craft your own interpretation of what you’ve just listened to, of what you’ve just felt.

I have almost every album the Counting Crows have released. There are so many good songs, so many good lyrics. But to share just one.. It comes from a song called, Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby: “If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts.”

It’s a kaleidoscope of words and thoughts and pictures and images and similes and metaphors – it’s just so clever, so complicated, so devilishly ingenious, that you wish you could have written it yourself.

Rustin introduced me to The National, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I never thought anybody could pen lyrics/words as good as Cohen and Duritz, but in The National’s lead singer, Matt Berninger, they certainly have a rival.

I have two of the band’s lyrics tattooed on my arms: “There’s a science to walking through windows”… and… “I’m the rocks they weigh down the angels with”. Explaining the words, and what it means to me, would take another 1 000 words – so take from it what you will.

I also have a tattoo featuring a Cohen lyric – it’s from a song, called Anthem: “There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in”.

In a world, in a life, so difficult to negotiate, so inaccessible, so bewildering to comprehend, Cohen’s glimmer of optimism in that meaningful line is something to desperately hold on to.

I still have a Cohen album [we called it LPs back then], in which Kris Kristofferson says he will carve the words of a Cohen song – “Bird on the Wire” – on his tombstone: “Like a bird on the wire/Like a drunk in a midnight choir/I have tried in my way to be free…”

The cover of the album, featuring Kris Kristofferson’s promise

Cohen died in 2016 at the age of 82. The music lives on.

I still listen, I still feel his music, the words, the emotions… And I will – until, in Cohen’s words: “I’m leaving the table/I’m out of the game…”

Emily Dickinson’s immortal words in the poem: “Because I could not stop for Death/He kindly stopped for me…” Sooner or later, we all have to get on that carriage. Cohen’s acceptance is summed up in the letter he wrote to Marianne Ihlen, his muse, the woman who inspired the song “So Long Marianne”.

Leonard’s letter to a dying Marianne

Cohen died four months later.

And I am left with my favourite lyric/image from ‘So Long, Marianne’ – which gave me goosebumps, as well as succour, at a time in my child/teen/hood when I needed something to staunch the flow of hopelessness: “I’m standing on a ledge and your fine spider web/is fastening my ankle to a stone.”

It’s now decades later – and those words are still as relevant as ever.

I’m still on a ledge, my ankle is still tied with a fine spider web…

Free & Easy [1975 to 1990] A South African Pop & Rock Mix, feat Rabbitt, éVoid, Johnny Clegg, Clout

A 3-hour chronological mix of a few of my favourite tunes by South African artists from the late 70’s and 80’s.

Some cover versions and a whole bunch of original tracks.

A few songs have been sourced from original vinyl singles.

More info on almost all these artists can be found at www.Rock.co.za

Please also take a listen to:
https://www.mixcloud.com/briancurrin/reflections-the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-of-my-life-a-south-african-rock-collection/
https://www.mixcloud.com/mabuvinyl/mabu-mix-south-african-prog-rock-vol-1-1968-to-1982/
https://www.mixcloud.com/mabuvinyl/african-daze-2-more-south-african-prog-rock/
https://www.mixcloud.com/mabuvinyl/mabu-mix-south-african-60s-rock-vol-1/
https://www.mixcloud.com/briancurrin/rock-legends-5-x-5-1968-to-1974-a-south-african-classic-rock-mix/

1. Charlie – Rabbitt
2. Venus – Stockley Sisters
3. Substitute – Clout
4. Free And Easy – Finch & Henson
5. You’re Living Inside My Head – John Ireland
6. Buccaneer – McCully Workshop
7. ZX Dan – Radio Rats
8. Blommetjie Gedenk Aan My – Anton Goosen
9. Jo Bangles – Baxtop
10. Better The Devil You Know – Stingray
11. Man On The Moon – Ballyhoo
12. Bokkie Bokkie – David Kramer
13. Paradise Road – Joy
14. Nightmare – Peach
15. Schoolboy – Asylum Kids
16. You’re So Good To Me – Hotline
17. Grips Of Emotion – Lesley Rae Dowling
18. Bowtie Boogaloo – Morocko
19. What’ya Gonna Do When The Reggae Breaks Your Heart – Beanstalk
20. Give Me The Good News – Crocodile Harris
21. The Bushman – Steve Kekana
22. Taximan – éVoid
23. Live On – Pierre De Charmoy
24. See Yourself (Clowns) – Ella Mental
25. Mysteries & Jealousy – The Helicopters
26. Magical Touch – Petit Cheval
27. Jabulani – PJ Powers & Hotline
28. Waiting (For A Miracle) – Dog Detachment
29. Ancient Dust Of Africa – Edi Niederlander
30. Baby You Been Good – Robin Auld
31. Burnout – Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse
32. Superstar – Stewart Irving
33. As I Went Out One Morning (Damsel) – Tribe After Tribe
34. Hey Boy – Via Afrika
35. Johnny Calls The Chemist – Falling Mirror
36. We Are Growing – Margaret Singana
37. This Boy – Sweatband
38. Weeping – Bright Blue
39. My Kind Of Girl – Cinema
40. Scatterlings Of Africa – Johnny Clegg & Savuka
41. Prisoner – Lucky Dube
42. Dance Sum More – Mango Groove
43. Paint It Black – No Friends Of Harry
44. Be Bop Pop – The Spectres
45. Dear Abbie (One Night Of Passion) – Little Sister

Jake Gunn at On A Roll, 5th September 2013

Jake Gunn
Jake Gunn

  • 7:00pm
  • Up and coming blues rock musician playing gigs around Cape Town with fellow guitarist Devin Smith. Influences include The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Robert Johnson and Bob Marley. First album Triple Jack now available! Watch this space…

    Jake Gunn is an up and coming blues rock musician hailing from the northern suburbs of Cape Town. After discovering rock ‘n roll at a young age, he was inspired to start playing guitar and worked tirelessly to improve his skill, which finally led to him joining the Lyzyrd Kyngs (Piet Botha & Akkedis) in 2010. He spent a year under the mentorship of these veteran musicians, before teaming up with the talented young guitarist Devin Smith.

    Sharing a love of music and complementing each other’s guitar playing, they started doing gigs around Cape Town, followed by a tour up the coast. They later evolved into a full electric band after being joined by CJ Bergh and Allen Smith. Jake Gunn’s first album Triple Jack, recorded in the winter of 2012, is now available and includes the song “Radio Mojo” which was featured in the Rolling Stone Rock Chart of 19 January 2013.

    “Springing from the backwaters of Brackenfell with the hair of Robert Plant, the skill of boy Clapton and the voice of a morning-afternight-before Mark Knopfler, Gunn is a revelation.” -Alice Inggs, Rolling Stone SA

SAmp3.com Charts

 1. Rock

Vodun Haunts

Psycho Girl

On their new 4-track EP, this hot new six piece band from Cape Town absorbs and melts influences from Punk, Rockabilly, Rock ‘n Roll, Blues, Country and Metal.


The Howlin’ Shibanski

The Cowley Road Rant

This great new blues-rock band from Jozi are playing music that evokes the fire and mythology of the old blues masters. Off their album The Howlin’ Shibanski .

Download | Listen Now


 3. Country/Folk

Dax Butler

Brakpan Man

Great new track off the recent album, Drink in Everything, from this old school SA music legend.


 4. R&B/Soul/Hip Hop

E.M.P.I.O.R.

Lexus

They go by the name of Empior -[E]lite [M]usicians [P]robably [I]nspired [O]ther [R]ebels – and are an emerging Hip Hop/RnB foursome from Alberton.


5. Pop
Freddie Van’Dango

Tonik

The title track and first single off Freddie Van’Dango’s debut album, Tonik , released through Rhythm Records and produced by SAMA-winning producer Dan Roberts.

Download | Listen Now


6. World Music

KIAT

I’ll Be There

Hot new single from this versatile Khayelitsha band off their debut album, Afamba Apota (The Journey Beyond The Horizon).

Download | Listen Now


7. Rock

Woodstock Mafia

Electric Light

Launched in 2011, Woodstock Mafia hit the ground running and made a fast mark on the local music scene. Their unique blend of hard, grunge and alternative rock explodes in high-energy live performance that has had fans screaming for more.

Download | Listen Now


8. Rock

Gage

Break The Silence

The title track, and second single, off the new second album from this 3-piece hard rock band from Kimberley.


9. Rock

The Pits

Cadillac

This three piece Rock n’ Roll disaster from Cape Town play foot-stomping yet haunting songs of doom and gloom on their debut album, Introducing , released in December.


 10. R&B/Soul/Hip Hop

MC Norman

I Remember The Day

First single from the album Ndiyabuza featuring the mix of pop, reggae, afro beat and gospel by this Ugandan-born musician and music producer now based in South Africa.


SAMP3 Charts

1.

Mr Cat and The Jackal – Dig

Still one of the finest live acts in South Africa, this crazy gang and their music are always entertaining – here with a song off Sins And Siren Songs .

Download | Listen Now

2.

Gage – All That I Am

Gage is a hot new three-piece rock band from Kimberley who are about to blast SA rock fans with their upcoming new second album called Break The Silence.

Download | Listen Now

3.

Desibo – Vula Amehlo

A track from this new South African Afrosoul singer whose songs are fuelled by sensuality, motivating content and creativity and a strong desire to incorporate Afro African elements.

Download | Listen Now

4.

The Muffinz – Soldierz (Fight For Peace)

The Muffinz have unleashed their mysteriously beautiful world of eclectic soul to the South African public and they are set for world domination. Listen to the debut eleven track aural adventure called Have You Heard?

Download | Listen Now

5.

Lucy Kruger – Four White Walls

The first single off her debut album, Cut Those Strings, from this emerging and talented singer-songwriter.

6.

Dax Butler – Global Warming Blues

First single off this debut solo album Drink In Everything featuring nine gritty songs written and composed by this old school SA music legend, who plays acoustic guitar on the CD, backed by some seriously talented musician friends.

7.Holly and the Woods

Holly & The WoodsWake Me Up (Judgment Day)

A fantastic new single from this popular Johannesburg band, known for their ferocious songs with killer hooks and lyrics that swiftly snag you in all the right places.

8.

Les JavanJohanna

As a writer, composer and musician, Les Javan’s work is dedicated to the fostering of an environment where cultural and musical differences are respectfully appreciated. Off his new album, Ek Is Lief Vir Jou.

9.

Piet Botha – Spookjam

An instrumental track off the new album from the veteran SA folk artist which contains songs from the recent TV series Wie Lê Waar?.

Download | Listen Now

 

10.

The Howlin’ Shibanski – The Cowley Road Rant

This great new blues-rock band from Jozi are playing music that evokes the fire and mythology of the old blues masters. Off their album The Howlin’ Shibanski .

Latest Free Music On Channel 24

SAmp3.com is the official aggregator for free digital music downloads on Channel 24 (since 2004).

 Rock

The Plastics

Midnight Passion

Off the album Shark which broke this Cape Town band’s rock power to a wide SA audience.

 R&B/Soul/Hip Hop

Arsenic

Techno Planet (ft. Endz The Otherness)

A track off The First Toke from this talented Cape Town muso who breaks out on his own, carving a unique identity with his chilled out constructions.

 R&B/Soul/Hip Hop

ETC Crew

McMission (The Phone Track)

A track off What’s In A Name from this Cape Town-based, multi-racial, cross dimensional hiphop rap group with their fresh yet energetic, jazzy sound.

 Pop

Selwyn Schneider

Pilgrims Rest

The Wind is this multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer’s latest album and is a beautiful mixture of songs and instrumentals.

 R&B/Soul/Hip Hop

Kwesta

Mr Cool

New single from this hot new South African kwaito-rap artist off the popular Cape Hip Hop album Special Rekwest.

 Dance/House/Electro

Mr Sakitumi

Secret Asian Man

The title track off the debut album by Mr Sakitumi who is an innovative, multi-instrumental musical phenomenon.

 Rock

Ramblin’ Bones

When I’m With You

Ramblin’ Bones is the alter ego of Jay Bones, former front man for the popular South African ska band Fuzigish, here with his latest musical incarnation off Ramblin’ Bones & His Bloody Agents .

 Country/Folk

Rodriguez

I Wonder

The track that started it all, from the album, Cold Fact, and the upcoming documentary Searching For Sugar Man.

 Jazz/Blues

Mzwakhe Mbuli

Now Is The Time

A track off Shifty compilation Shotdown which illustrates the label’s role in capturing and preserving a vibrant and important part of South Africa’s history of cultural resistance.

 Rock

Summer Shade

Mango Tree

World Among The Clouds is Summer Shade’s latest EP. The band (previously known as Nungarin) has remolded their already unique and refreshing sound to produce a mixture of rock, tribal, African and folk.

 Jazz/Blues

Melanie Scholtz

Zillion Miles

A track off Zillion Miles from this classically trained vocalist, composer and lyricist who is highly respected by fellow musicians in her home city of Cape Town and who has enjoyed international success as a freelance singer.

 Rock

The Genuines

Goema

Title track off the brilliant album Goema, from this Cape Town group who stars in the recent documentary on this indigenous Cape Music style, called Mama Goema.

SEARCHING FOR EXPOSURE? TRY SUGAR MUSIC….

Brian Currin and Stephen “Sugar” Segerman met in 1997 through the rediscovery of Rodriguez. A mutual love of music (especially the South African kind) and sharing it with others, saw them launch Sugar Music in the early-2000’s.

Sugar Music has since become the hub for many projects including SugarMan.org, The South African Rock Encyclopedia, The SA Rock Digest, SAmp3.com, Mabu Vinyl, and a number of other joint and associated music ventures.

Since 2004, Sugar Music has been supplying Channel 24 (MWeb’s entertainment portal) with MP3s by South African artists of all genres, and from all decades, for the MP3 section of their Homepage.

These MP3s are made available as free downloads by Channel 24, to help give exposure to all these artists and their music. Some tracks are full length (if requested by the artist), but most are edited to be between 70% and 75%, as long as they are longer than 2 minutes.

An image, a short blurb, and a hyperlink are included with each entry.

If you would like to take advantage of this excellent promotional opportunity, at no cost to yourself, please supply a list of songs that you are authorising for free download and which web address you would prefer each song linked to. Sugar Music will take care of the rest.

Sugar Music submits monthly reports to NORM, of all tracks supplied to Channel 24, to ensure transparency and compliance.

For more information please contact Sugar on sugar@sugarmusic.co.za or phone 021-4237635.

New releases from Fresh Music

Wild Youth - A Leopard Never Change Her Spots
Wild Youth – A Leopard Never Change Her Spots

Released for the first time on CD is the long awaited retrospective of South Africa’s legendary original punk band, Wild Youth. This massive 23 track set includes all of Wild Youth’s late 70`s seminal singles, live and demo tracks plus several songs from the band’s alter ego outfit, The Gay Marines. Wild Youth are prominently featured in the film documentary “Punk in Afrika”, currently showing in key US and European film festivals.

Astral Daze 3 - Snapshots Of The South African Rock Underground
Astral Daze 3 – Snapshots Of The South African Rock Underground

Volume 3 of our acclaimed Astral Daze series find us in the company of some well known ‘underground’ bands (Freedom’s Children, Abstract Truth, The Bats) and some lesser known luminaries of the psych rock era (The Gentle People, Finder’s Keepers, 004’s, Wakeford Hart). The compilation is rounded off with some real classics including engineer Peter Pearlson’s 2011 remix of Hawk’s ‘Here comes the sun’ and Sharon Tandy’s psych collaboration with UK rockers Fleur De Lys.

The Amazing Story Of Hate Street Dialogue

Originally published on Sugarman.org, 28th September 2001

HATE STREET DIALOGUE

Woman please be gone
You’ve stayed here much too long
Don’t you wish that you could cry
Don’t you wish I would die

Seamy, seesaw kids
Childwoman on the skids
The dust will choke you blind
The lust will choke your mind

I kiss the floor, one kick no more
The pig and hose have set me free
I’ve tasted hate street’s hanging tree
I’ve tasted hate street’s hanging tree

I kiss the floor, one kick no more
The pig and hose have set me free
I’ve tasted hate street’s hanging tree
I’ve tasted hate street’s hanging tree

The inner city birthed me
The local pusher nursed me
Cousins make it on the street
They marry every trick they meet

A dime, a dollar they’re all the same
When a man comes in to bust your game
The turnkey comes, his face a grin
Locks the cell I’m in again.

I kiss the floor, one kick no more
The pig and hose have set me free
I’ve tasted hate street’s hanging tree
I’ve tasted hate street’s hanging tree
I’ve tasted hate street’s hanging tree
I’ve tasted hate street’s hanging tree…

[Song published by Interior Music (BMI)]

This song was not actually written by Rodriguez, but sure sounds like it could have been. It was written by Gary Harvey, Mike Theodore (‘Cold Fact’ producer) and Dennis Coffey (guitarist on ‘Cold Fact’). “Hate Street” actually refers to the famous “Haight/Ashbury” area of San Francisco, the famous Hippie hang-out during the late 60’s “Summer Of Love”.

HAIGHT STREET

…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 SA 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

PIG AND HOSE
In this song Rodriguez sings about being set free by “the pig and hose”. Could this mean a policeman (“pigs” was hippy slang for cops) and a piece of hose-pipe?

The quote: “pig and hose to bust our game” from the song “Hate Street Dialogue”, refers to the continual harassment of the hippy-subculture by the San Francisco police department on the Haight-Ashbury youth in 1967. “Pig” was the referrel to the POLICE, and “hose” was in reference to the length of “garden-hose” used to beat the citizens into submission [usually in the confines of the police station. The title was changed in spelling from “Haight Street”, to “Hate Street” to further emphasize that feeling of alienation, by both sides of the establishment, at that time.
– Gary W Harvey, June 2002

BLACK EYED SUSAN

Back Stabbers & Money Grabbers by Black Eyed Susan
Back Stabbers & Money Grabbers by Black Eyed Susan

South African Indie melodic grunge-rockers Black Eyed Susan recorded the album ‘Back Stabbers & Money Grabbers’ in January 1998 and released it in May 1998. Included on their album is an uptempo remake of this classic ‘Cold Fact’ song. Not actually written by Rodriguez, this song of urban decay and loneliness fits perfectly on Black Eyed Susan’s album of otherwise original material. A great version on an even greater album. If you like your rock modern-but-retro, grungy-yet-tuneful, this album is for you.

GARY W. HARVEY
4th September 2001, Darin J. Harvey wrote:

I was amazed that I finally found something about Sixto Rodriguez on the net and that I could finish a long quest with the help of your website.

Two years ago my father, Gary W. Harvey, mentioned while I was visiting him in Detroit, that he received a check for percentage for the lyrics of a song he wrote some thirty years ago! He wasn’t sure about the facts and he could only tell me the name of the song (which he thought was “Haight Street Dialog”) and that he originally wrote that one for a guy named Rodriguez. But the check was for a cover version from a band of South Africa!

Back in Germany, where I live, I started my search with the weak information I had! As I couldn’t find any hint for Rodriguez or that song I stopped my search after a few weeks! Now nearly two years later, I remembered my search and tried again! And yep, I got some hits!

My first hit was, that the song wasn’t named “Haight Street dialog” but “Hate Street Dialogue”, which brought me on the trail of “Black Eyed Susan” and finally lead me to “Sixto Rodriguez”!

So I read the facts you collected in your website and after all I could buy me a copy of ‘Cold Fact’ through Amazon.com, Germany (which was amazing that they could supply it in Germany). Two days later I received the album and now I really love it – as it’s interesting, unique and simply good music!

It turned out that my Dad also wrote the lyrics from the song “Gommorah”. He really was amazed that I could find the stuff we talked about two years ago and as I forwarded the links to him, so he could surf through by himself!

If you ever have the chance, get yourself a copy of the first Rare Earth Album “Dreams/Answer” on Verve Records! You might find some parallels as it was produced by the same team back then!

28th September 2001, Darin wrote again:

I would be pleased if you quote my e-mail on your website and your e-mag!

I’m so happy that I could expose some old stories and connection with the help of your work and website!

Meanwhile I got contact with Francois Bredenkamp from the “Black Eyed Susan” and even with Mike Theodore, the Producer of “Cold Fact”.

Francois Bredenkamp was very surprised and pleased to receive my mail and promised to send me a copy of their album. Unfortunately his band doesn’t exist anymore!

This is what he wrote me:

It’s a great surprise and pleasure to hear from you. We fell in love with the song lyrics and decided to make a remake. We are a South African based independent band, but unfortunately Black Eyed Susan does not exist anymore. I don’t know if you are aware of this but Rodriguez is an legend in our country. He is currently touring here till the end of September and I will watch him in Pretoria this Sunday.

This was definitely the most rewarding mail we have ever received for our efforts as a struggling rock band. (Francois Bredenkamp)

A few days later I received a mail from Mike Theodore (who’s still working as a producer in New Jersey, USA) and I was very amazed, as I didn’t try to contact him! He got information through my Dad, that I searched for Rodriguez and Black Eyed Susan!

Since I have the Rodriguez album ‘Cold Fact’, I introduced it to some friends and co-workers and everyone liked it and thought it’s very unique! They’ve been surprized that he’s totally unknown here, and that he’d never made it in Germany.

Paths To Graceland | The Kleptones

From Hectic City 15 – Paths To Graceland

Jive music from South Africa and Lesotho, providers of inspiration for Paul Simon’s “Graceland” – Perfect summer stuff!

01a Tau Ea Lesotho – Nyatsi Tloha Pela’ka
01b Tau Ea Lesotho – Puleng
01c Puseletso Seema & Tau Ea Linare – He O Oe Oe!
02 Mahotella Queens – Umculo Kawupheli
03 The Rainbows – Mashonisa
04 Soul Brothers – Uthembeni-na
05 Dark City Sisters – Ezomculo
06 M.D. Shirinda & The Gaza Sisters – Pfuka N’wavolo
07 Abafana Baseqhudeni – Mubi Umakhelwane
08 Mgababa Queens – Maphuthi
09 Zorro Five – Barcarolle
10 Amazulu Queens – Sankatana
11 Marks Mankwane – Khupa Marama No. 2
12 Naledi Boys – Bump Again
13 Ebrahim Isaacs – Meadowlands
14 John Amutabi Nzenze – Angelike Twist
15 Queue Sisters – Ethembeni
16 Spokes Mashiyane – Kalla’s Special
17 Soul Of The City – Hustle Bump!
18 J.K. Mayengani & The ShingWedzi Sisters – Khubani
19 Mahlathini & Izintombi Zomgqashiyo – Okwamadoda Kuya Bhikwa
20 Izintombi Zodumo – Mississippi River
21 Sannah Mnguni Nesimanjemanje – Ukhulupheka
22 Lulu Masilela & The Boyoyo Boys – Small Time No.4
23 Tempo All Stars – Take Off
24 Paulus Masina – Umalusi
25 Intombi Zephepha – Ingoina Le Nyathi
26 Mgababa Queens – Akulaiwa Esoweto
27 Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens – Bophumthwalo
28 Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje – Awufuni Ukulandela Na
29 African Symphonics – Zulu Roll
30 Kings Messengers Quartet – My Lord

Graceland by Paul Simon

 

Rodriguez and his place in The Story Of Rock

Willem, Rodriguez, Brian, Sugar 1998
Willem, Rodriguez, Brian, Sugar 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, My Web Guy

Brian Currin is known to many of his friends and clients as “My Web Guy” and to a number of people all over the world as “a guy who knows a bit about music“.

These people say ... Brian is My Web Guy
These people say … Brian is My Web Guy

A few of his recent and current projects include:

Falling Mirror re-records the classic Johnny Calls The Chemist

2012 re-recording of the classic Falling Mirror song.

Alan Faull: guitars and backing vocals, Nielen Mirror: vocals, Selwyn Schneider: bass, backing vocals, programmed drums, arrangement and production, George Den Das: keyboards. Track recorded at Selsong Studio.

Website: http://fallingmirror.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FallingMirror

SA Rock Encyclopedia: http://rock.co.za

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