Finding Sugarman: Rodriguez!

We made our way to our seats, noticing that we were neither the oldest nor the youngest in the crowd that quickly filled Barclays Center, the new home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

Too early in the season for basketball, we were there for a rock concert.


We were seeing Sixto Rodriguez, the Mexican-American rock singer from Detroit, who went unknown and unfound until a couple of fans decided to find him, turning their search into the movie, Searching for Sugarman,which won the 2013 documentary Oscar. Unknown-1

Not smart enough to arrive an hour after start time, after the pre-program, we suffered through the front acts, two singers and a really awful poet. I lamented I hadn’t brought either my knitting to pass the time or my earplugs to muffle the sound and protect my hearing. Alas.

By 9:40, the lights dimmed and Rodriguez, as he’s known, was escorted to the stage.  He’s 71, not old by any standards, yet a bit frail. He’s had a hard life.  His jet -black hair hangs to his shoulders shielding his face.  He wore a black satin top hat, skin-tight jeans (he has long, skinny legs), and a Caribbean turquoise jacket.

He sang songs from his two albums: Cold Fact and Coming from Reality, both produced in the 1970’s.  His voice sounds as clear and crisp as it does in the film clips.  Competing with the likes of Bob Dylan and others from that era, he received little notice in the US but became a huge hit in South Africa.  The movie chronicles this story.  At the time, media focused on South Africa’s politics; an American musician entertaining its youth was ignored.

He made a few jokes and advocated for the end of violence against women. He sang for an hour plus, including an encore, waved to the audience, and left.

And so did we, happy to be home a bit past midnight, agreeing that it was great to see and hear the legend live.  Tonight, we’ll play his cds.

See the movie, listen to his music.

This entry was posted in History, Movies & TV, New York City and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Finding Sugarman: Rodriguez!

  1. He sounds like a facinating man. I love his fashion style!


  2. joan turk says:

     Lisa, I love his music.  I have two of his album and have seen the movie.  How lucky to have seen him in person. Joan    


  3. I was fascinated by the movie and was lucky enough to see him in Barcelona a few months back. He looked so fragile – too bad the world didn’t find out about him soon enough, although I’m glad we are able to enjoy his music and his concerts now!


  4. This is a new person for me to get to know. How lucky that you saw the concert; you have to know what and whom to look for…


  5. I’m in Arizona for the weekend, but the movie will be waiting when I get home. Can’t wait to finally see it. I have a friend who just saw him recently and really enjoyed the concert. Great write up. 🙂


  6. Drjcwash says:

    I can’t wait to see the movie. I have caught all the interviews and his appearance on Leno.


  7. SMB says:

    Rodriguez provided the soundtrack to my college days in the late 1980s. I bought two of his albums — Cold Fact and After The Fact — using my lunch money, and then had to starve at lunchtimes. South Africa was in turmoil at the time and his lyrics struck a chord with the zeitgeist. We had heard he had died spectacularly — as any self-respecting rock star does — and never questioned it. The tragedy of his death made the songs all the more poignant and meaningful. It was such an immense joy to hear that he was still alive and to “meet” him in person in the movie. He seems like such an intelligent social commentator and so self-deprecating. Twenty-five years on, I still know all his songs by heart, as do thousands of South Africans of that era. So wonderful to see him enjoying a little well-deserved fame at last! What a treat to have seen him live!


  8. I think I saw this on cbs sunday morning? Wasn’t he working as a janitor for awhile? It’s amazing, and lucky for him to be “rediscovered.” and today with crowd-funding, many artists are simply by-passing the music industry moguls and producing their own albums.


  9. hugmamma says:

    I’d heard about this man. Amazing story.


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