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Preview: Rodriguez 

Noah Bonaparte Pais on the strange tale of 1970s musician Sixto Rodriguez

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"Thanks for your time, and you can thank me for mine. And after that's said, forget it. Bag it, man." And after that was said — the last words heard on his 1970 debut, the presciently titled Cold Fact — Sixto Rodriguez lighted himself on fire. Or sprouted wings and flew away. Or vanished. There's no lie, no myth or magic, to Rodriguez's very real disappearing act. Like its follow-up, Coming From Reality (released later in South Africa as After the Fact), Cold Fact simply didn't sell, and like so many musicians who cut two records and called it quits, his story might have ended there. Instead, it became an unbelievably better story: the polar opposite of a legend in his own mind, a former rocker turned manual laborer hermetically worshiped in a different hemisphere. His spartan, bluesy folk songs railing against the Man in late-'60s Detroit first went platinum in Australia, then became redemption songs in apartheid-ravaged South Africa. (Cold Fact, produced by Motown session legend Dennis Coffey and featuring his first-call guitar, truly is Dylanesque on "Like Janis" and "Crucify Your Mind"; Reality leans more Don McLean.) That's the Oscar-winning gist of last year's Searching for Sugar Man, an elucidating labor of love that uses music to connect a Swedish filmmaker (Malik Bendjelloul), two Cape Town superfans (who Photoshopped a "Have you seen this singer?" milk-carton campaign) and a Mexican-American singer/songwriter whose time never came, who passed away and has now risen from the grave. Jenny O. opens. Tickets $30 in advance, $32 day of show. — Noah Bonaparte Pais


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