Rodriguez - Coming From Reality
Label: Light In The Attic
Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue
All Media, Remastered, Limited Edition
LP catalog number: LITA038
Originally released in November, 1971 on Sussex as SXBS7012
Released: 26 May 2009
Genre: Funk / Soul, Rock
Style: Folk Rock, Soft Rock, Psychedelic
Coming From Reality
A1 Climb Up On My Music
A2 A Most Disgusting Song
A3 I Think Of You
A4 Heikki's Suburbia Bus Tour
A5 Silver Words?
B1 Sandrevan Lullaby-Lifestyles
B2 To Whom It May Concern
B3 It Started Out So Nice
B4 Halfway Up The Stairs
Coming from Reality is the second and final studio album to date from American singer/songwriter, Rodriguez, originally released by Sussex Records in 1971.
Quite a change from Rodriguez's first album Cold Fact. On Cold Fact Rodriguez sang bitter, disillusioned songs about slums, drug abuse and broken love affairs. Something in between the two albums obviously changed his point of view because Coming From Reality consists mainly of love songs. And not the cynical odes to past affairs of Cold Fact - these ones are full-blown.
And even the social comment songs on the album seem less bitter and more resigned. The strings have been laid on with a heavy hand, on some tracks providing the only backing to Rodriguez's guitar and voice. But the voice shines through and the clever poetry on some tracks is as incisive as ever. Song to song we explore a great talent musician and have the chance -even almost four decades later- to discover his bright music
That output consists of exactly two albums - 1970's COLD FACT and this 1971 follow-up - as well as three additional songs recorded later and first released many years after that. Not much of a catalogue, especially for one of the most unique and worthwhile songsmiths of the past four decades.
I've already touched on the mystery of Rodriguez - which, thanks to the extensive liner notes in these reissues, is no longer that much of a mystery - in my review of FACT, so I'll refer the curious to that nonpareil gem of musical criticism and get right down to brass tacks. COMING from REALITY is a fully worthy successor to FACT, with all of its creator's dizzying wordplay and compositional acumen intact, but it's also a very different album in many respects. Recorded in London with British session musicians and a full string section, REALITY inhabits a separate sonic territory from that of its Motor City predecessor. It's also a good deal less eclectic, which helps to enhance its "album feel" but also casts its weaker moments in sharper relief - not that there are all that many of them.
"Climb Up on My Music" is a tough, driving opener, instantly establishing that blown-glass balance of pop accessibility and esoteric intelligence which has always distinguished the greatest songwriters. "A Most Disgusting Song" is in fact a spoken poem (Proto-rap?) of deceptively humorous twists, while "And I Think of You" is one of Rodriguez's most affecting ballads, a lost love tale equal in its naked sentiment and plausibility to FACT's brief, brilliant "Forget It." "Heikki's Suburbia Bus Tour" brings on the social commentary which dominates the latter half of REALITY in its surreal story of middle America remade as a tourist attraction. "
Side two of the original LP opens with "Sandrevan Lullabye - Lifestyles," Rodriguez's longest track and a beautifully bitter assault on society's failures effectively sandwiched between two heavily orchestrated instrumental sections. "To Whom It May Concern" is the "snap out of it" tune on this collection, and like most such numbers it doesn't add terribly much. "It Started Out So Nice," however, is powerful stuff, juxtaposing a mythical yesterday of poetic prettiness against the dashed hopes of the present with the aid of a lovely and unintrusive string backing.
"'Cause," Rodriguez's lyrical magnum opus and the most sublimely realized rumination on the very real horrors of human existence you're ever likely to hear. This song makes "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" sound like "Old MacDonald" and closes REALITY with nothing whatsoever left to say.
Where COLD FACT enjoys that peculiar perfect beauty which only pure accident can achieve, COMING from REALITY makes a concerted effort to be beautiful; and while it succeeds much of the time - resulting in several tracks which are, if anything, stronger than even FACT's best material - there's no denying that it's the patchier half of the pair overall. Nevertheless, "'Cause" easily elevate this LP to five-star status, as does the sheer inescapable quality of the artist.
I cannot possibly recommend both Rodriguez albums highly enough to anyone reading this. The chance to grab the complete works of a man whose music can comfortably rub shoulders with that of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen or Bruce Springsteen in two easy purchases is not one to be missed. We are all the poorer for the long and storied career Sixto Rodriguez should have had; but we are certainly the richer for having what little there was of that career within reach once again.
Rodriguez - I Think Of You
Rodriguez - Cause
This is my favorite Sixto Rodriguez song, razor sharp lyrics, the guitar work has a story of its own, the score behind everything just perfect. This guy's music is going to live on for a long time. I listen to people doing covers of his songs, some of them country, folk, pop, rock...that is how really good music lives on. His music is just as relevant today as it was in the 60's and 70's. Though he wasn't a star christened by US music execs, still he is a star nonetheless.
Rodriguez - It Started Out So Nice
Rodriguez - Sandrevan Lullaby-Lifestyles
Amazing and humble man. I just saw his movie, SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN, it is true sad story. But he is finally being recognized. His songs are awesome
Searching for Sugar Man - Official UK Trailer