Cold Fact

Cold Fact

Detroit singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez may have retreated into the shadows of demolition work and other odd jobs after the tepid commercial response to his 1970s albums, but his debut, Cold Fact, stands as both an eclectic artifact of the psychedelic era and proof of his distinctive gift for incisive songwriting and elaborate instrumentation. The album evokes genres as diverse as salsa, country blues, and Spector-style studio pop, while Rodriguez’s brittle but pleasing vocals and surreal lyricism recall Donovan’s late-period excursions into hippie mysticism. Yet Cold Fact is far from derivative, and is particularly notable for its adventurous production and inventive arrangements—many of which were the product of Rodriguez’s collaboration with Motown guitarist Dennis Coffey, whose distortion-drenched lead work provides some of the album’s most fascinating moments. Tunes like “Hate Street Dialogue” and “Inner City Blues” provide a compelling portrait of Detroit as a decaying city on the brink of civil unrest, while “I Wonder” asks universal questions while looking inward.

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