Back in the 1970s, when I was knee-high to the bushveld, every right-minded white person in South Africa - admittedly a minority of a minority back then - had a copy of "Cold Fact" by Rodriguez, and we all knew the words to his signature tune, "Sugar Man".
At the time I assumed Sixto Rodriguez (to give him his full name) was equally popular everywhere. Yet when I came back to the UK at the end of the seventies I discovered nobody else had heard him, apart from a few Australians as he had been reasonably popular there as well. For some reason his music connected down in the Southern Hemisphere - something that he was apparently completely unaware of for many years - but went unheard elsewhere.
Now at last he is finally getting the worldwide acclaim he has deserved for so long. There is a film about him being released in the UK this weekend. He will be playing the Festival Hall in November, which I am greatly looking forward to. And both "Cold Fact" and the 1971 follow-up "Coming From Reality" are widely available.
Call me a wilful controversialist if you must, but while "Cold Fact" was the big cult album on balance I probably prefer "Coming From Reality". There is nothing to match "Sugar Man" but taken overall I think it is a stronger album. Here are a couple of prime cuts.
"Street Boy" - Rodriguez
"I Think Of You" - Rodriguez
As a bonus, here is a track from another American hippy who was unfeasibly popular in South Africa in the 1970s, Shawn Phillips.
"Song For Sagitarrians" - Shawn Phillips
And now we move from Rodriguez to Gonzalez. My mate Winston's sister used to go out with the lead singer, so we're virtually related.