HOW’s this for a rags-to-riches story? At 70, Sixto Rodriguez is enjoying a revival that no one expected, largely because few had heard of the Detroit-based singer-songwriter before Malik Bendjelloul’s sleeper hit, Waiting For The Sugar Man.
The ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ saying certainly applies to Rodriguez, who released a couple of unsuccessful albums in the 1970s before disappearing from the scene amid rumours he’d killed himself after being dropped by his record label.
However, a bootleg copy of his debut album made its way to South Africa, where it found a huge audience.
South African fans’ attempts to learn more about his life threw up nothing for more than 20 years. Until, that is, two diehards turned sleuth in the mid-90s and discovered that their hero was alive and living in Detroit, having returned to working on construction sites.
Before long, Rodriguez was performing sell-out shows at South Africa’s biggest venues to the thousands of fans he previously never even knew he had.
“I was ready for the world but I don’t think the world was ready for me,” he suggests when asked why he failed to make it first time round.
Clearly, the world is ready for Rodriguez now, with Sunday’s gig at the Usher Hall being among the hottest tickets in town this weekend.
• Sixto Rodriguez, Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Sunday, 7pm, £17.50, 0131-228 1155
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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