ACROSS THE BORDER
Where the banned are
Selected by @SteveInJoburg.
I feel like I have a tough act to follow! This was was such a good choice.
I have two albums in mind, will decide today and post on the other thread.
To use an outdated word that I've tried unsuccessfully to bring back, it's just a groovy record.
I can dig it, man.
@SteveInJoburg You're one cool cat.
What I love about this is that you are broadening my horizons. I would never have known that such litte delights exist...
I played the album a lot during the weekend, will listen to his second album today.
What's one of the definitions of a great album? I'd say it's when you keep putting the thing on for days, sometimes more than once a day. I just keep playing this album.
I think everyone's definition of a great album differs, but some albums meet a lot of people's definitions and are exactly the kind you described. The kind you play a lot.
Check out his Coming From Reality.
OK, first off.......fucking awesome album.
I watched and loved "Searching for Sugerman" great movie.
Google told me this record was released in 1970.
The aesthetic is of its time......but Jaysus, "Gomorrah a nursery rhyme" could've been written during Trump.
Released during the Nixon administration, I guess there was a "this is as bad as it can get" vibe to the record, then came Regan, Bush x 2, Trump...........
It's a simultaneously wonderful and depressing record, a protest record of its era that did nothing but usher in eras when, yes, things did indeed get worse.
I'm going to search for more Sugerman on the back of this.
I really enjoyed that, have saved it to my apple music and will definitely listen again.
He has a lovely voice, subtle, not to too 'in your face'. The only track I wasn't keen on was 'Only Good for Conversation' which musically I didn't like, although the lyrics were good.
Quite a few tracks reminded me of other artists, but I couldn't put my finger on who - maybe on my next listen I will get it.
Why he didn't have more success in America is a mystery - there are plenty of people who had more success who are nowhere near as enjoyable as he is to listen to.
One factor is he was dropped quite quickly by his record company because his first two albums sold poorly. He was in the middle of making his third album (still unreleased) when he was dropped. The company folded not long after that. This nearly happened to Bruce. Could you imagine if Columbia had dropped him before Born To Run?
I'm glad you liked it Ann. I heartily recommend the second album, Coming From Reality, if you enjoyed Cold Fact. It's a deeper, mellower record and I think it's magnificent.
I suspect you might enjoy it even more than Cold Fact. There are some truly beautiful songs on it, like Cause and Sandrevan Lullaby (written for his daughters, Sandra and Eva)
Out of interest, to the best of my knowledge, the original master tapes of the second album were lost years ago. The official versions that circulate on CD and streaming services are sourced from vinyl, and you can hear it at times but somehow that adds to the perfection of it.
@SteveInJoburg Highly recommend Coming From Reality.
The fascinating story about him and the music was all new for me. I will check out the documentary for sure if I find it.
The album is short but sweet, I like it very much. As Steve already mentioned, the lyrics are not only still relevant, but I find them witty and some quite intelligent. They provide the album with an attitude that I find both contemplative and very amusing.
Musically, I liked what came from the left channel most, so bass and horns, although I'm pretty sure I've heard horns on the right in one song... Liked how the vocal at the end of Sugar Man shifts from center to the left, and then the echo jumps to the right side. Fuzzy...
I listened to the album several times, it works great as the background music also, and it got under my skin very quickly.
I think my favourite track is I Wonder, it makes me smile and dance around.
Also, I was dressing for work today, took a look in the mirror, grinned ear to ear... Cause a monkey in silk is a monkey no less.
I promise to listen to this album while drunk to test the psychedelic effects. I don't do anything stronger than wine...🙄
Thanks @SteveInJoburg. This album is making me smile. Where were you ages ago, when I needed a great song to dump a boyfriend?
Musically, I liked what came from the left channel most,
When you listen, you listen.
This record plays like some great lost 70s movie soundtrack that you would have heard at the late night drive-in.
I have never heard of this artist (Mr J has, of course!) but I will find time to listen over the next few days. Looking forward to it.
So, if you like the track Sugar Man, here is a cover one of my favourite South African bands did back in 1998.
The live version they perform has varied from 3 minutes to 20... Here is a video I took on my phone a few years back. I missed the first part of the song but this will give you a little idea...
I recall the previous conversation about Rodriguez, made a mental note to check him out, and promptly forgot!
Couple of listens under my belt.
Yeah, I like it.
Sugar Man got my ears pricked up. My fav track so far by a margin, woozy & skewed. Much like my current self as I’m contemplating a 3rd G&T…….
The following detour into acid rock didn’t appeal beyond the great guitar sound tbh, but the balance of the album has sent me flicking thru the ‘60’s folk-rock record racks of my mind for the influences and, yes on occasion, steals. Not necessarily a bad thing.
Deffo worth repeat plays.
Need to find the movie now.
Nice one @SteveInJoburg 👏
of its time and timeless
Exactly right JF.
I had a brief conversation with Steve recently on the album thread about Rodriguez being virtually unknown in the States, but very widely known and respected in South Africa. Regardless of anyone's opinion on his great music, his story is fascinating. Steve told it well above.
This album received great reviews, but went nowhere in America, even though the music would seemingly fit right in among other big folk rock protest records of the time. Shame he hasn't been rediscovered and embraced here with the same fervor as he has in the southern hemisphere.
He has a great sound, both of its time and timeless, like a cross between Dylan and Cat Stevens.
Ahhhh, been meaning to check this Dude out since I watched "Searching for Sugar Man".
For those interested, this is a TV documentary made in '98 about the tour. Most of the footage is from the Cape Town show but him in the blue shirt is the Standard Bank Arena show I was at.
I imagine some or all of you would have been expecting me to choose a South African album, perhaps by my beloved Johnny Clegg. I decided to go a different route, and choose an album that may as well have been South African, and is regarded as a bona fide classic in this country.
If you grew up here in the Seventies or Eighties, guaranteed you owned, knew or had a pirate copy of this record or cassette. It was a staple at parties, braai's (barbeques) and dinners. It was often on in the background or played loud. It was regarded in the same league as Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin IV, and Tea for the Tillerman.
It is 32 minutes of perfect late Sixties psychedelic pop. Many of the lyrics, over half a century later, are still as fresh and relevant today as they were then. The basslines by the legendary Bob Babbitt are sublime, the arrangements simple, not perfectly recorded, but are captured perfectly.
Some of you know a lot about Rodriguez, some a little, maybe you have seen the movie Searching for Sugarman, maybe you don’t know him at all.
He only ever made two full albums, this one and Coming From Reality the following year, 1971. He recorded more tracks for a third album that never saw light of day but 3 of the recordings are easily available on the movie soundtrack or the remaster of Coming from Reality. In some ways that is a better record, but it is Cold Fact that is the classic.
Where the story gets interesting and enters mythological status, is the fact that he had very limited success and airplay in the States, yet the record found an audience in the Southern Hemisphere. Our Aussie and Kiwi friends also know this record really well.
Back in the Eighties, Rodriguez toured Australia, and then, after years of silence, during which time he was a construction worker in his native Detroit, and when we (South Africans) pretty much assumed he was long dead, he was discovered via a website, through his daughter Eva finding it and showing it to her dad. In 1998 he toured here, receiving a hero’s welcome. He was so unaccustomed to the limelight and pampering, that when given a 5 star suite in Sandton to sleep in, he slept on the floor, the bed staying unmade.
I saw him at the show in Joburg with 15 000 in attendance, which was recorded and later released as a live album, Live Fact. Was he Springsteen on stage? No… Was it magical and incredible and something I will never forget? Absolutely. We knew every single word, sang every single lyric. He was speechless between songs quite often, just taking off his hat and looking around the room smiling as we applauded. Just a simple guy, with a borrowed acoustic guitar, playing these then nearly 30 year old songs he thought no one really remembered from a life he had long ago left behind. It was surreal and magical and to this day, if he or this album are brought up, the excited ‘were you there?!’ conversations that take place are probably the closest I’ll come to saying, yeah, I was at Woodstock.
He toured for many years since, all over the world, even playing places like Glastonbury. I have seen him twice since, but nothing will ever replace the magic of that night in 1998…
If you know this album, another half hour listen will be welcomed, I’m sure. If you don’t, give it a listen. I hope you dig it.
Thanks for your time and you can thank me for mine. Bag it man.
I had Rodriguez as one of three I thought you might choose.
@Jerseyfornia Well now I have to know what the other two were!
@SteveInJoburg I don't want to influence your future selections. You could probably guess them based on what you've turned me on to.
Thank you @Jerseyfornia
Write up from me on this classic record coming up...