with some luck, you reading this now will already have seen the superb documentary Searching For Sugar Man. if you have not, well, i suggest you stop reading this and go pick up the DVD or Blu-Ray. it should be available anywhere in the world by now, if not then no doubt it will be the moment they give it one of them Oscar things for best documentary.
moving on, and during the film there's a scene where one of the chaps who decides to try and find out exactly what happened to Rodriguez recreates a list he and his mates did of five questions that were keeping them awake at night. thanks to the magic of DVD screen grabs, here is the list.
the questions on it are pretty interesting, are they not? one or two are probably worth a documentary on their own, but i thought i would have a go at answering them here. some answers, in reverse order, are :
5. - conventionally, really, taking full advantage of gaps in apartheid laws
4. - erm, see Searching For Sugar Man
3. - presently living in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where he works for National Sea Rescue Institute, having quit music in 2011.
2. - it broadcast from a number of African countries sympathetic to the ANC, relay antennas within South Africa were never in a fixed spot.
1. - ah.
regular readers of this blog will no doubt understand the idea of a "lost" recording of The King, Elvis Presley will hold a great level of interest for me. of course i am going to elaborate on this one a bit more, but alas it is not as wonderful or as interesting as it sounds!
here is the record in question
it is considered "lost" as it was on sale for barely a day, and even then on sale in South Africa only. for some obscure reason RCA records believed that Colonel Tom Parker "wouldn't find out" and they would be able to make some money off the recordings, as well as push young singer Janis Martin as the "female Elvis", by sneaking it out in a country that The Colonel had "probably" never heard of. the underestimated the knowledge and power of The Colonel.
The Colonel blew a gasket. he was having none of The King, Elvis Presley sharing the bill with anyone, let alone getting second billing to a fifteen year old girl. the latter part of that problem was of course parodied in This Is Spinal Tap with the infamous 'Puppet Show and Spinal Tap' scene.
not wanting to risk the anger of The Colonel and certainly (wisely) not wishing to upset The King, Elvis Presley, RCA ordered the record to be withdrawn from sale. owing to time differences and the basics of international communication in the 1950s, the record was available to buy for about a day, hence knowledge and indeed copies of it floating around.
the record itself is, shall we say, cheeky in the way it is presented. one would be forgiven for thinking that it features duets between The King, Elvis Presley and this Janis Martin as nothing on the cover implies otherwise.
in truth, it's recordings from the two of them on their own, with the record featuring one song by The King, Elvis Presley, followed by one from Janis, and so on like that. none of the recordings are particularly good - sorry, no missing gems here.
as for the value of this rare record, well, not as much as you might think, despite the history of it and the fact that The King, Elvis Presley has a formidable collectors market. mint condition copies go for about $3,000 each. this sounds like a lot, sure, but bear in mind a mint copy of The Beatles' Yesterday....and Today with the infamous "butcher" cover would get you at least $20,000 in an auction or private sale.
if you are really interested you can hear Janis and Elvis on the web for somewhat less than $3,000 (i.e. free), or you can just simply buy the CD reissue of it for less than ten pounds.
as for Ms Janis Martin, she didn't quite become the "female Elvis" that RCA had hoped to be, instead she became pregnant and married by the age of 16, despite no obvious relation or connection to Jerry Lee Lewis.
in one sense it is a shame that the internet has brought and end to many mystery and legendary questions like this, but in a greater sense i suppose it has allowed the likes of Rodriguez to finally get some recognition for his music and indeed spread rare recordings of The King, Elvis Presley to his many followers around the world.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1