[COLD ARTIFACT] Imagine a Mexican-American Donovan, spilling out prodigious, Dylanesque poetry—only rather than Donovan's fantasias of bananas and Atlantis, these songs rise like steam from gritty city streets. Now imagine said singer's reedy voice and strummed acoustic emerging amid fuzztone guitar, and evocative strings and horns conjuring Norman Whitfield's adventurous, late-'60s Motown productions.
One needn't imagine. Rodriguez's lost 1969 classic, Cold Fact, is the reissue of the year: an obscure but brilliant artifact of singer-songwriter psychedelia. Credit the gifted crate-diggers of Seattle's Light in the Attic label for the album's rediscovery. The singular work was recorded in Rodriguez's native Detroit, with legendary Motown bassist Dennis Coffey (MVP of those Whitfield recordings) behind the boards.
LITA hasn't stopped there, following up with another class-act reissue of 1971 London-recorded sequel Coming From Reality. While it lacks some of Fact's grit and lyrical charge, it's proof that Rodriguez was no flash in the pan but a compelling, distinctive artist. And he's finally touring the country, bringing his unique music to the fans he always deserved but hadn't found until now.
Rodriguez plays Wednesday, June 24, with Run On Sentence at Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside St. 9 pm. $12. 21+.