Rodriguez - The Music

"...Climb up on my music and my songs will set you free..."

Home
News
Introduction
The Man
The Myths
The Music
The Magic
The Memories
The Forum


Google

Search Web
Search SugarMan.org

Song Reviews

The songs of Rodriguez

Sugar Man

Probably Rodriguez's most well-known song. Rodriguez himself is also often referred to as The Sugar Man. A great song with superb instrumentation. This slow bluesy rock song is a paean to his drug dealer, however Rodriguez said on a TV interview in March 1998 that this song is "descriptive not prescriptive". Great imagery and use of hippy slang, like "silver magic ships" and "sweet Mary Jane", ensure the listeners' interest. The psychedelic freak-out section in the middle reminds me of similar sections in Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love' and Uriah Heep's 'Gypsy'.

Cold Fact opens with the ultra trippy Sugar Man, which may well have been straight out of an acid trip. "Sugar man met a false friend on a lonely dusty road, lost my heart, when I found it, it had turned to dead black coal" suggests just where exactly the inspiration came from as he goes on to list jumpers, coke and sweet Mary Jane. More than any other Rodriguez song, it is Sugar Man which personifies the artist in the minds of those who have always wondered. The eerie moog synthesizer, whistling in the background, the lazy and simple guitar chords and the dreamy nasal voice place the listener firmly in an era of fantasy. It sets a perfect tone for the album and the myth.
- Andrew Bond, 1998
I'm not for drugs, I never advocated drug taking
- Rodriguez, March 1998
What's that song about anyway?
- Rodriguez, 22 September 2001

This track was the first encore song on the 1998 SA tour. It was preceded by much chanting of "Su-gar Man, Su-gar Man...". Were we calling for the song or the Man? Who knows, but he came and he sang and we loved it.

Just Jinger also did a great cover of this song on their March 1998 EP "Something For Now".

There have also been cover versions recorded by American band The Monkey Wrench and Australian band Stella One Eleven.

Kris Kristofferson recorded a completely different song called Sugar Man in 1972. Released on the Jesus Was A Capricorn album.

In 1991 The Escape Club also recorded a song titled Sugar Man (no relation to the Rodriguez song) on their Dollars And Sex CD.

In 2001 Rapper Nas sampled 'Sugar Man' for his 'You're Da Man' track off 'Stillmatic'. Read more...

In the December 2002 issue of UK music mag, Mojo, in the list "The 100 Greatest Drug Songs Ever!" 'Sugarman' was at number 34.

You'd Like To Admit It

Extremely rare b-side of a seven single recorded in 1967 and credited to Rod Riguez. Read more...

I Wonder

This classic folk-rock song is the one that most people seem to associate with Rodriguez. Used as the show opener on the 1998 and 2001 SA tours. Simple in composition but penetrating in it's lyrics.

It came as no surprise then that when Cold Fact hit the record racks, it became a hit, simply because it contained a phrase which would muddy the country's sexually chaste waters and serve as a mantra to the youth: I wonder, how many times you've had sex...
- Craig Bartholomew, 1997

Generation EXT's slow hip-hop rap version of I Wonder was released on the compilation CD Dance Connexion 17 in September 1998.

Only Good For Conversation

Classic fuzz metal guitar riff by Dennis Coffey opens this song, reminds me of Deep Purple's 'Smoke On The Water'. A harsh bitter song of lost love (..you're the coldest bitch I know..), this track really rocks! Great bass line and a superb guitar solo.

Climb Up On My Music

My favourite Rodriguez song and also one of my all-time favourite songs. Brilliant title and great lyrics. Excellent rock guitar from Chris Spedding and jazzy piano (by Phil Dennys?) make this song a classic. Wonderful production by Steve Rowland and superb stereo imaging.
Listen to it!!

When performed live on the 1998 SA tour this track became a classic rock song of anthemic proportions. Willem Möller's guitar solo is one of my magic moments in music.

Sandrevan Lullaby

A wonderful instrumental duet for acoustic guitar and violin. Used as the intro for Lifestyles. Written by Rodriguez for his 2 daughters, Sandra and Eva. Sometimes mistitled as Sundrevan Lullaby.

...the musical part of Sandrevan Lullaby touches my heart (named after my sister Sandra and me)...
- Eva Rodriguez, 1997

Rehearsed for the 1998 SA tour, but not performed (I know 'coz I was there!)

Rich Folks Hoax

Great song, what more can I say - listen to the words.

Craig Bartholomew told me that in 1987 when he was busking his way around Spain, this song received the best response, and the most money into his open guitar case!

Covered by Amanda Strydom in September 2003. More here...

Hate Street Dialogue

Not written by Rodriguez, but sure sounds like it could have been. "Hate Street Dialogue" actually refers to the famous "Haight/Ashbury" area of San Francisco, the famous Hippie hang-out during the late 60s "Summer Of Love".

...for years the title Hate Street Dialogue has been bothering me, when I listened to the song I gathered the lyrics were referring to the famous hippie street in San Francisco: Haight/Ashbury, however the title on the album is spelt "Hate". Rodriguez said (on a SA radio phone-in show in March 1998) that although the lyrics of that particular song were not written by himself they did refer to the Haight and not to the opposite of love.
- Stelios, 1998

The amazing story of Hate Street Dialogue can be read here...

Jane S Piddy

Could this be "Janis Pity" - a sort of tribute to Janis Joplin? Read the lyrics and see the similarity to Janis and her lifestyle. Lyrics like "now you sit there thinking, feeling insecure..." and "...don't bother to buy insurance, coz you've already died...". Great imagery and biting prose. More about this song and 'Like Janis' here...

To Whom It May Concern (1979 live version)

A wonderful, almost progressive rock version with jazz-blues flute and even a bass solo. Recorded in Australia in 1979. This track is over 8 minutes long and the band is introduced on this song.
Really great version.

Heikki's Suburbia Bus Tour

After a conversation with my father, I wanted to share a short story...

In the sixties, there were these people called hippies. It can be said that a long hair, dark skin, free thinking musician, like Rodriguez could have been labelled one. In my youth, I recall hearing about how the "rich folks" (those living in the suburbs), would come down to the inner city of Detroit to actually see these "oddities" in their natural environment. Maybe even take a picture or two. This happened to be my neighborhood and some of my people.

Rodriguez had a very good friend named Heikki. I remember a large man with long blond/brown hair. He had a very nice home, a wife named Linda and two huge bull mastiff dogs. Despite stereotypes, Heikki was a mathematician from "Estonia" (Estonia is a republic in North-Eastern Europe, near Finland) who rode a classic motorcycle. In fact, one of the places that Rodriguez played, a "motorcycle funeral", was for one of Heikki’s friends. The motorcycle club was called "The Penetrators".

Anyway, someone had made fun of Rodriguez’s friend. Protective of Heikki’s feelings, Rodriguez organized what I consider to be a peaceful form of retaliation. A bus was chartered, full of hippies, four gallons of wine, etc. The group went to Grosse Point, Michigan and surrounding areas where they visited suburbian malls and neighborhoods on a tour of their own. The rest, is in the music. The story made the newspapers in Detroit and also reached Florida (a southern U.S. state).
- Eva Rodriguez, 1997

A Most Disgusting Song

In "A Most Disgusting Song" the people are like someone we all know. I think it was a depiction of a place Rodriguez played, a bar called "The Sewer" near the Detroit River, that was demolished a long time ago (In the song "Cause" Rodriguez speaks to Jesus (his brother?) at the Sewer). One of the places that Rodriguez played, a "motorcycle funeral", was for one of Heikki’s friends. The motorcycle club was called "The Penetrators".
- Eva Rodriguez, 1997

The Music

Albums
Cover art
Lyrics
Chords
Sounds

More...

Cover versions
Song reviews













































Back to top











































Back to top











































Back to top











































Back to top


TOP Back home

[ News | Introduction | The Man | The Myths | The Music | The Magic | The Memories ]

web: Brian Currin