So. I had an embarrassment-to-La-Raza moment Monday night when “La Bamba” came on the radio and I could not for the life of me remember the name of the singer. (Shoutout to Stacia for shaming getting me back in line on that one). [Note to self: Ritchie Valens, Ritchie Valens, Ritchie Valens. Not Frankie Valli, you halfwit. –ie V– is not gonna cut it.]
Anyway. I swear to god that sometimes my Spanish horizons are broadened further than Devendra Banhardt’s “Carmensita.” Case in point: Sixto Rodriguez.
Okay, so I know his music is in English. But his parents immigrated to Detroit from Mexico in the 1920s, and Sixto went on to create awesome often-political folk music about the hardships faced by the poor and working class. He started in the late 60s and was forgotten by the early 70s, but apparently he was huge in places like South Africa and Australia. Long story short, the music kicks ass, and his two albums, Cold Fact and Coming From Reality were recently reissued.
I found out about him kind of serendipitously. For some reason, Rolling Stone started getting sent to me several months ago. They dropped a line about how Fleet Foxes (love them) tipped them off to Rodriguez, my interest got piqued (how can you not be interested in mentions of a 70s-era Mexican Dylan?), and the rest is history. My only regret is that he recently toured, and I missed his show in NYC at the Bowery. Grr!
You can hear some of his music at his Myspace page. (Side-note: That picture of him in the About Me section looks freakishly like my dad circa his high school years.)