Rodriguez - The Music
"...for a blue coin won't you bring back,
Just Jinger's Sugar Man
Cape Times, 18th March 1998
Just Jinger's bite at the Big Apple
The new EP (Something For Now) includes their lively version of Rodriguez's Sugar Man, which went down very well at Green Point (the U2 concert). Therein lies an story and perhaps a huge irony.
It goes like this: "When we recorded the song we honestly thought Rodriguez was dead," says Matthews. "I mean, no one had heard of him in 15 years. Then the minute we leave for the States, he pitches up in SA and we miss him. This guy is one of my inspirations -- I still can't believe it."
So a young Joburg band record a song written 20 years ago (actually almost 30!) by a Detroit singer Americans have never heard of. Hmm -- Imagine if it's now a hit for them in the US all these years later. A lot of locals will be saying "I told you so."
Brian's note: Rodriguez name-checked Just Jinger during the thank-you's at the end of the 1998 SA concerts.
Listen to a short excerpt here.
Photo by Johann van Tonder
Beatspeak, 21st March 1998
The biggest South African band of the moment (sales-wise), Just Jinger, grabbed the prestigious support slot at the U2 concert and contributed a controlled, competent and short set. Their stage announcements were humble and grateful and they played a timeous and appropriate cover version of the (bet you thought you'd heard the last of him for a while) Rodriguez classic "Sugar Man", which prompted the first massed singalong of the evening. Just Jinger actually namechecked Rodriguez as one of their major influences on the sleevenotes of their best selling 1997 debut album "All Comes Round". When they heard that Rodriguez was not only alive but preparing to tour SA, they began including it in their live sets. At one point, Rodriguez had expressed an interest in Just Jinger playing the support slot on his tour but as fate would have it the tour coincided with Just Jinger's promotional sortie to the USA and Canada. The purpose of this trip was to convince the American music powers that be to give them the shot at the American market they feel they deserve.
The Jingers are releasing their new EP (Extended Play) "Something For Now" this week and it includes their version of "Sugar Man", so, we have the not impossible situation whereby they could bring the music of Rodriguez to the attention of the North American listening public. Coupled with the extraordinary success of the SA tour and the global attention this event has received via the Internet, Rodriguez's career may soon receive the belated acclaim it always deserved.
Epic, August 1998
The State Of The Nation Concert, 16th June 1998
...and Just Jinger amply live up to crowd expectations and even having the original sugarman Rodriguez wobble onto stage for a bit of a photo opportunity (and a hand-shake), seemed a nice touch to all gathered before them.
Sugarmen (The Art Of Rodriguez)
Any comments to Brian Currin