Sunday, March 15, 2015

Searching for Sixto

I'm later than most in picking up on the Sixto Rodriguez story and the Searching for Sugarman phenomenon.  Part of me considered it to be simple fiction, a cynical, commercial construct  or just that almost anything could happen in South Africa and how would anybody ever know? 

I was aware of and the songs and the myths but recently I found myself...humming the tunes, mouthing the words and in a highly unusual development actually thinking about the lyrics.  It made me wonder how I'd have regarded him if he'd had the same exposure as Neil Young or Bobby Dylan or James Taylor at the time, poisoning my 18 year old mind. His words belong in that era; drug anthems, street life and dodgy language, losing in love, the impending doom brought about by poor ecology and the belief that political systems could get no worse so something would change, soon. 

40 years later it's hard to say if things are worse but it's easy to see that most things in terms of power politics haven't changed. We're still fighting for our rights and lives...well almost fighting. If you call pressing the like button on Facebook fighting. We used to argue in pubs but you cant do that easily, the music's too loud and everybody else is playing with their phone. Rodriguez's use of words looks clunky now and so do so many from that time but frankly compared to that most of what passes for lyrical content today is pretty shallow and meaningless. He was a man of his time and that was the 70s and in his rediscovery he's been shown to be a fine and decent man. I am and man of my time and right now it's wine time so let's all sing... 

Won't ya hurry
Coz I'm tired of these scenes
For a blue coin
Won't ya bring back
All those colours to my dreams
Silver majik ships, you carry
Jumpers, coke, sweet MaryJane...

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