“Coming From Reality” by Rodriguez - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1971Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

On his second album, there’s a general sense that his bitter stories of bad drugs, broken dreams and ghetto struggles have given way to a slightly more palatable serving for norms, where even the odd love song is permittable. Sounds to me like someone’s made a change in him. Not for nothing did contemporary reviews mention Jose Feliciano and Bill Withers in the same breath. Groan. His London-based group for this one were: Chris Spedding (guitar); Gary Taylor (bass); Andrew Steele (drums); Phil Dennys (keyboards) and Tony Carr (bongos, percussion). Rodriguez recalls: “We spent 30 wonderful days recording the Reality album. We stayed in Belgravia, London.” Thankfully, this softening is not an exact science, for the fire in the belly is still in evidence here and there. The dropouts and degenerates get it tight on “A Most Disgusting Song”, a most amusing early album highlight. Sixto’s exquisitely picked guitar plays-off against Jimmy Horowitz’ gorgeous violin on “Sandrevan Lullaby / Lifestyles” as our man takes a pop at society’s ills with some dazzling prose: “America gains another pound, only time will bring some people around, Idols and flags are slowly melting, Another shower of rice, to pair it for some will suffice, the mouthful asks for second helpings”

Album closer “Cause” is a stunner – sublime imagery and gorgeous production, every bit the equal of Nick Drake, the master of the genre. Steve Rowland (the record’s producer) in the documentary “Searching for Sugarman” made this astute summation: “Couple of them [talking about songs from “Coming From Reality”] are so sad. There is one in there, that’s absolutely a killer. One of the saddest songs (…) I’ve ever heard. [listens to the song] That really makes me sad, because that was the last song we recorded… And was makes it even sadder is, the album was released in November 1971. And we expected big things and it did absolutely nothing. And then two weeks before Christmas Sussex dropped him off the label – and the very first line of the song as if premonition was… Oh man, you have to think about that. This guy deserves recognition!” The opening lines to which Rowland were referring were: “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.” Damn. What a delivery. It is indeed sad that nobody was interested in this in 1971. What was wrong with music fans back then?

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [04:54] 6.5.png Rodriguez - Climb Up On My Music (Sixto Rodriguez) Folk Rock / Americana
A2 [04:49] 6.9.png Rodriguez - A Most Disgusting Song (Sixto Rodriguez) Alternative Country
A3 [03:25] 6.0.png Rodriguez - I Think Of You (Sixto Rodriguez) Songwriter
A4 [03:22] 5.4.png Rodriguez - Heikki’s Suburbia Bus Tour (Sixto Rodriguez) Rock
A5 [02:04] 6.5.png Rodriguez - Silver Words (Sixto Rodriguez) Songwriter
B1 [06:37] 7.4.png Rodriguez - Sandrevan Lullaby Lifestyles (Sixto Rodriguez) Songwriter
B2 [03:21] 5.1.png Rodriguez - To Whom It May Concern (Sixto Rodriguez) Songwriter
B3 [04:01] 6.7.png Rodriguez - It Started Out So Nice (Sixto Rodriguez) Alternative Folk
B4 [02:27] 6.3.png Rodriguez - Halfway Up The Stairs (Sixto Rodriguez) Folk Rock / Americana
B5 [05:30] 9.8.png Rodriguez - Cause (Sixto Rodriguez) Folk

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