Searching for Sugar Man [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

Searching for Sugar Man [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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by Rodriguez

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In the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, director Malik Bendjelloul looks back at two music fans' quest in the early '90s to learn the fate of '70s singer/songwriter Rodriguez (born Sixto Diaz Rodriguez to Mexican immigrant parents in Detroit), musically accompanied by the Searching for…  See more details below


In the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, director Malik Bendjelloul looks back at two music fans' quest in the early '90s to learn the fate of '70s singer/songwriter Rodriguez (born Sixto Diaz Rodriguez to Mexican immigrant parents in Detroit), musically accompanied by the Searching for Sugar Man soundtrack that collects tracks from his two albums. Growing up in South Africa, record retailer Stephen "Sugar" Segerman and music journalist Craig Bartholomew had a very different relationship with Rodriguez than folks in his native U.S.; while debut Cold Fact and follow-up Coming from Reality (released on the short-lived Sussex label in 1970 and 1971, respectively) attracted critical praise from the few press outlets they reached, commercially they went nowhere, seemingly dooming the artist to obscurity. But against all odds, a bootleg recording of Cold Fact made its way to South Africa, just as the stronghold of apartheid was growing, and Rodriguez's anti-establishment storytelling, filtered through a psychedelia-tinged folk-rock lens, connected deeply with black Africans as well as liberal young Afrikaners. As word of mouth about the singer/songwriter spread, he became a South African sensation (naturally helped along when the government banned his records), eventually going not just platinum but also finding listeners holding him in the same artistic esteem as Bob Dylan and the Beatles. It wasn't until the late '90s that the artist -- rumored to have committed suicide years before -- would learn of his overseas fame, sparking a string of live dates abroad and awakening stateside interest. The Searching for Sugar Man soundtrack rolls together songs from Cold Fact (featuring kaleidoscopic production by Dennis Coffey and Mike Theodore) and Coming from Reality, focusing on the most iconic songs in the Rodriguez discography, not only showing that the lyrics resonate decades later but reminding listeners of the transformative power of music. Signature song and nickname "Sugar Man," which listeners may recognize as being sampled by Nas and Large Professor, is a piercing ode to drugs that elevates its simple lyrics with a trippy arrangement, opening with percussive, flamenco-like guitar and spacy Moog, and swelling with paranoid strings before drifting out to the ether. Conversely "I Think of You," which also reached audiences decades later thanks to a cover by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., shows Rodriguez's romantic side as he breezily reflects on a sweetheart. But his bread and butter are gritty tales of city life, whether calling out the signs of social corruption ("Gun sales are soaring, housewives find life boring/Divorce the only answer, smoking causes cancer/The system's gonna fall soon, to an angry young tune/And that's a concrete cold fact") with "This Is Not a Song, It's an Outburst: Or, The Establishment Blues"; encountering runaways on the side of the road on "Inner City Blues" (his own composition, not to be confused with the Marvin Gaye song); or verbally eviscerating hipsters at a dive bar in the Arthur Lee-meets-"Rocky Raccoon"-styled "A Most Disgusting Song." Three bonus tracks that Rodriguez recorded with Coffey and Theodore in 1972 and which first appeared on the At His Best bootleg, including the vibrantly orchestrated artistic autobiography "Can't Get Away," are also collected here. Whether moved by the documentary or simply interested in a one-disc anthology of Rodriguez's work, the Searching for Sugar Man soundtrack is a thoughtfully curated celebration of this devastatingly underrated artist. ~ Chrysta Cherrie

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Product Details

Release Date:
Sony Legacy


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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rodriguez   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Gary Taylor   Bass
Dennis Coffey   Electric Guitar
Chris Spedding   Guitar
Jimmy Horowitz   Violin
Mike Theodore   Keyboards
Bob Babbitt   Bass
Tony Carr   Percussion
Phil Dennys   Keyboards
Gordon Staples   Leader
Andrew Steele   Drums
Detroit Symphony Orchestra   Strings
Bob Pangborn   Percussion
Andrew Smith   Drums
Carl Reatz   Horn

Technical Credits

Dennis Coffey   Arranger,Producer
Jimmy Horowitz   Arranger
Mike Theodore   Arranger,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,Brass Arrangment
Adam Block   Executive Producer
Phil Dennys   Arranger
Steve Rowland   Producer
John MacSwith   Engineer
Dave Cooley   Remastering
Rob Santos   Producer
Rodriguez   Archival Materials
Matt Sullivan   Producer
Milan Bogden   Engineer
Sixto Rodriguez   Composer
Jim Burzese   Engineer
Elysian Masters   Remastering

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Searching for Sugar Man [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
poughkeepsiejohn More than 1 year ago
One of the great things about recorded music is that even if its not initally successful, sometimes it does eventually find its way to an audience. This is especially true of The Velvet Underground, The Stooges and The Ramones, whose records didn't sell well in the beginning but have now become the DNA for most of today's alternative rock. This is also true of many singer-songwriters such as Tim Buckley, Randy Newman and Laura Nyro. And then, there's Sixto Rodriguez, who often went by his last name. This Detroit-based performer, looking like Jose Feliciano, recorded two albums here in America but they hardly made a dent. However, those albums did find their way to South Africa in the early 1970's and Rodriguez not only became a major star there but also a mythical figure in the burgeoning anti-Apartheid movement at the time. Then in late 1970's, Rodriguez disappeared. Stories abounded as to what really happened to him, including one where he reportedly committed suicide. Filmmaker Malik Bendejelloul decided to investigate as to whatever became of Rodriguez. To tell you more of the story would ruin it for you. Yet, I will say that "Searching For Sugar Man" has the potential to being one of the finest films of 2012. As for his music, Rodriguez' folksy, poetic tunes remain timeless and memorable, particularly "Sugar Man", "I Wonder" and "Inner City Blues". His first album, "Cold Fact" was made in Detroit with some of the city's top musicians, some of whom recorded for Motown. For his follow-up, "Coming From Reality", Rodriguez went to London with Chris Spedding and other great British musicians. The soundtrack features the best songs from both of those albums. You may find yourself singing some of these songs after the first listening. That's how talented Rodriguez was. By the way, the CD has a caption saying, "Rodriguez receives royalties from the sale of this release". It's nice to know that some stories in the music industry have a happy ending.
dondurrett More than 1 year ago
This is the only soundtrack I have ever purchased and I'm 53. I know something special when I hear it. Usually you need to listen to a song a few times for it to get under your skin. Many of Rodriguez songs you like instantly. Sugar man, Crucify, and Cause are amazing songs. Watch the youtube Letterman version of Crucify before you buy the soundtrack. If that doesn't get your attention, then you don't get him. I would love to have live album of Rodriguez. He recorded two, but neither are for sale. Hopefully they will re-release them.