Rodriguez Resurgence hits the State Theatre
Few stories about a musician’s journey are as fascinating as Rodriguez’s. His career began in the late ‘60s. A native of Detroit, he was a working-class man who performed his folk-rock music in various clubs in the area. It was in one of these clubs that Harry Balk – who later became Motown’s creative director – discovered Rodriguez. Balk helped him record his first single, which subsequently led to Rodriguez meeting and signing with the founder of the Sussex label. Rodriguez’s “Cold Fact” was actually Sussex’s first release. While the album was expected to do well, it fizzled in the US. His second album was equally unsuccessful, so after only a few years of recording, Rodriguez left the music industry to do various jobs involving manual labor.
What Rodriguez didn’t know was what momentum his music was gaining in a few countries around the world, most notably South Africa and Australia. When the imported copies of the artist’s albums ran out in the mid-seventies, Australian record label Blue Goose Music bought the Australian rights to the Rodriguez back catalogue. The label released his two Sussex albums along with a compilation album titled, At His Best. Amazingly – and all unbeknownst to Rodriguez – At His Best went platinum in South Africa.
While he did tour in Australia in ‘79 and ‘81 after finally learning of his success there, Rodriguez was still in the dark about his continued popularity in South Africa. Not only did Rodriguez have no idea how huge he was, but also most South Africans believed a rumor that he was dead. It was when two South African fans embarked on a quest to find out what really happened to their favorite artist that Rodriguez was rediscovered. Following a highly praised documentary about this adventure, Searching for Sugar Man, Rodriguez is now recognized and loved worldwide – including in the US.
The search for Sugar Man is finally over, and for those attending the show on Oct 8th, parking will be an even easier conquest. The Park and Shop ramps are located within a short walk from the State Theatre, and they only cost $6. (The discounted price is valid all day on Sundays, after 4 pm the rest of the week.) It is the most convenient and economical parking option for everything in its vicinity.