Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Sixto Rodriguez's time machine to 1970s Detroit

"music of the past expanding faster than the music of the future"

This is a great article by comedian Stewart Lee (weirdly sounding like
more like William Gibson every day :-) ) basically saying we are rediscovering great music from the past faster than we are finding new music, a phenomena I thought was related to BBC 6music.

I understand why this is a a current theme now, as I saw this over the

It won the Oscar for best documentary on Sunday night.

Essentially it is the rediscovery of a long forgotten folk/protest
artist from early 70s Detroit, totally ignored in the US before the
tunes are rediscovered in 90s South Africa as the the soundtrack for
white liberal protest against Apartheid. South African hippys track
him down and find he's been working as a labourer for 30 years, then
get him to tour and it finally kicks off his career. Sixto Rodriguez
is basically the Mexican Bob Dylan..and pretty much lives up to the
hype, his tunes are certainly the best thing about the movie..

Weird listening to the first album, Cold Fact, this morning, it is like a slice of fresh protest era Detroit. Most of it a lot less hippy-ish than the the singles I keep hearing everywhere and it is a lot more laconic and fatalistic then this contemporaries..

It is much more Marvin Gaye What's Goin On? than MC5 or The Stooges.

and that I think points to the wierdest thing..  if you've seen the
brilliant BBC4 doc on Detroit music, "Motor Citys Burning" you'll know that
era, as a long lost period of great music and red raw politics feeding
into each other. The real story for me of Sixto Rodriguez and his two
rediscovered albums isn't the South African huggy hippy feel good
story (especially as it appears he had been a favourite in Australia
and New Zealand long before his 'discovery' in South Africa). It is
finding fresh albums from nearly half a century ago, from a place and time that
absolutely fit right in with that era, yet seem relevant now.

How good is Sixto Rodriguez? Motor City is Burning now needs an update.

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