Rodriguez - Cold Fact
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There was a mini-collective of singer/songwriters in the late '60s and early '70s that were relatively unknown, folky but not exactly folk-rock, pissed off but not full of rage and alienated but not incoherent and they sold very few records. Jeff Monn, Paul Martin, John Braheny, and Billy Joe Becoat were some of them, and Sixto Rodriguez was another.
On his 1970 LP, Cold Fact, imagine an above-average Dylanesque street busker managing to record an album with fairly full and imaginative arrangements, and you're somewhat close to the atmosphere. Rodriguez projected the image of the aloof, alienated folk-rock songwriter, his songs jammed with gentle, stream-of-consciousness, indirect putdowns of straight society and its tensions. Likewise, he had his problems with romance, simultaneously putting down (again gently) women for their hang-ups and intimating that he could get along without them anyway ("I wonder how many times you had sex, and I wonder do you know who'll be next" he chides in the lilting "I Wonder"). At the same time, the songs are catchy and concise, with dabs of inventive backup: a dancing string section here, odd electronic yelps there, tinkling steel drums elsewhere. It's an album whose lyrics are evocative yet hard to get a handle on even after repeated listenings. A genuine lost classic.