Sixto Diaz Rodriguez (also known as Rodriguez or as Jesus Rodriguez) is a US folk musician, born in Detroit, Michigan on the 10th of July 1942. He was named 'Sixto' because he was the sixth child in his family. Rodriguez's parents were middle-class immigrants from Mexico, who left in the 1920s. In most of his songs he takes a political stance on the cruelties facing the inner-city poor.
In 1967 (under the name Rod Riguez) he released the single ‘’I'll Slip Away’’ though the small label ‘Impact’. He didn’t produce anything for another three years until he was signed to Sussex Records; an offshoot of the Buddah label. It was after the move to Sussex he changed his professional name to just Rodriguez. Rodriguez recorded two albums with Sussex - "Cold Fact", in 1970, and "Coming from Reality" in 1971. But after mixed reviews and low album sales he was later dropped from the label, which would later fold in 1975.
After the failing to make an impact in America, he gave up his career as a musician. However, although he was relatively unknown in his home country by the mid 70’s, his albums were starting to gain airplay in countries like South Africa, Rhodesia, New Zealand and Australia. Imported copies of his Sussex albums soon ran dry so in the mid 70's, an Australian record label, Blue Goose Music, bought the Australian rights to his back catalogue. The label released his two studio albums plus a compilation album "At His Best" (featuring unreleased recordings from 1976 "Can't Get Away, I'll Slip Away (a re-recording of his first single) and Street Boy). Unbeknownst to Rodriguez it went platinum in South Africa, where he achieved cult status. With a new buzz around Rodriguez, in 1979 he toured Australia with the Mark Gillespie Band as support. Two shows from the tour were later released on the Australian only album "Alive" - the title being a play on the rumours caused by his public obscurity that Rodriguez had died years ago. After the '79 tour he returned to Australia for a final tour in 1981 with Midnight Oil before quietly slipping back into normal life. It wasn't until the late 1990's (which at the time he was working on a Detroit building site) when his daughter discovered his fame thanks to a South African fan website.
In 1996 both his albums were released on CD in South Africa for the first time. The publicity buzz around Rodriguez again forced him out of retirement and in 1998 he played his first South African Tour. A documentary about the tour Dead Men Don't Tour: Rodriguez in South Africa 1998 was later screened on SABC in 2001. Later he then played dates in Sweden before returning to South Africa in 2001 and 2005. In 2002 his signature song, Sugar Man, was added to DJ David Holmes' mix album Come Get It I Got It; gaining Rodriguez airplay again on Australian radio station Triple J. In 2007 he returned to Australia in April, to play the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival as well as shows in Melbourne and Sydney.
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