Known only by his surname and presumed dead until some time in the late 90’s, Detroit born singer song writer, Rodriguez, played to a mostly sold out show at the Barbican on Saturday night. Supported by a slick, funky and largely Swedish based band (not sure why) the show was definitely worth seeing.
I thought I knew absolutely nothing about Rodriguez, in fact I was a little confused as to why he was being promoted as a ‘Detroit Legend’ by the Barbican, however one song in particular allowed me to make sense of this. ‘Sugar Man’ seemed a little familiar. It turned out that the song had been covered and released about 2003 by David Holmes on an album titled ‘David Holmes Presents The Free Association’. I had loved this song when it was out (mostly due to the bass clarinet, if you know the song you’ll know the which part I mean) and it turned out that Rodriguez was the original songwriter. Hearing the original being performed made the psychedelic drug references ‘sweet Mary Jane’ and of course the title ‘Sugar Man’ all the more logical.
Rodriguez is most definitely a legend from those hazy days back when girls (and guys) wore flowers in their hair, beards were cool and sandals even more so. At present, when so many ‘legends’ are making a come back I couldn’t help but feel a little cynical at the prospect of seeing another singer being promoted as such, but hearing Sugar Man I think made up for this.