The Rodriguez/Sugarman saga is one of the most incredible and convoluted success stories in modern popular music.
In a business, considered by some (many?)
to be as sordid as the Music biz can actually be, absorbing the Sugarman experience is to believe in Angels and Miracles.
I am including links to make my long story shorter and more accurate.
Once upon a time…there was Sugarman, Rodriguez by name, Sixto Diaz Rodriguez.
I never met Rodriguez, but I came close: for my part, in 1970 I was the Promo Rep for TPC/Quality Records
(Vancouver) and Sussex, his label, was one of the distributed brands. We had Bill Withers (Ain’t no sunshine…) and I recall going to The Cave in Vancouver to meet him. Altho Rodriguez was on the same label, I never saw a copy of the LP, nor did
it see the light of day in North America at all. Quality may have had some copies at their Head Office in Toronto, but not seeing any American radio action and them not being doorbusters for new music, (HITS! We want HITS!) likely just didn’t bother,
this was 1971.
Later it would pass to the astute A&M Label (the Acme of Indies) but it still remained in the moribund bin.
The Album was ‘Cold Fact’,
more like Cold Case.
Think about the time period: Bob Dylan was busy being Born Again and A&M (via Island Records in the UK, with the stamp of Brilliance by Chris Blackwell) was getting into the Cat business
with the release of Cat Stevens ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ (1970) and ‘Teaser & the FireCat’ (1971), not so far a cry from what Rodriguez was doing.
Such a shame, until, one day, the light
actually went ON in Australia and a bit later South Africa, there, thanks to a single copy of the LP on cassette and…SUCCESS at last, in those markets was assured!
I am surprised to find that the
LP came out in Australia on RCA then. I didn’t join RCA Canada until 1977 but still remained ignorant of the LP and story until recently.
Time and Tide: The tide rises….
A friend and former co-worker from BMG (formerly RCA) Melanie Copple had been touting Sugarman to me post 2004 Raytirement (from the label, not Music) and I had seen the documentary listed on PBS TV channels from time to time but still didn’t
pick up on it, now here we go back to A&M (approximately) as their former Promo Genius-in-residence, friend and neighbor Bruce Bissell (who is a BIG fan) gave me the (Award winning) DVD ‘Searching for Sugarman’ (very sweet of him) for Christmas
2016, and I will say to ANY true fan of music, THIS is a MUST SEE!
Another MUST SEE would have been his concert here in Vancouver Aug 29 2016
The Time passes….
This covers 47 years, from 1970 to present Day 2017.
The Music/Record Industries have a tragically hipper-than-thou attitude about ‘new’/’old’ music (Oh!
That’s SO five minutes ago!) BUT, to me, they shudn’t be looking down their not inconsiderable noses at music in this way, as to me (again) when a person hears a tune for the first time, it’s NEW to them, bonus if they like it!
Good Music ages well.
Sadly there’s little Chance to hear this kind of music on Radio today to take earvantage of capturing what was once missed.
For more on this most unusual of Music stories from the Time Machine, peep these links, and I hope you enjoy making up for lost time!