Brittany Howard and Ruby Amanfu; streaming at thirdmanrecords.com
Part two of the comeback of the long-lost seventies-era troubadour Sixto Rodriguez begins.
Subject of the Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, the bittersweet singer-songwriter now sees one of his tunes covered by the sassy-brassy Alabama Shakes front woman Brittany Howard, with harmony help from the soulful Ruby Amanfu. It’s a swinging, scathing pop song with a thick bass-line introduction invented by the late, great Bob Babbitt (of the Funk Brothers).
The woolly reggae breakdown with a honky-tonk piano is new; the disillusionment – “I wonder, will this hatred ever end?” – is not.
Rodriguez’s disenchantment with the record business drove him underground 40 years ago. Given the complicated nature of publishing rights, I wonder if he’ll ever see a dime from this recording.