Personnel: Los Rodriguez (vocals, acoustic guitar); Chris Spedding (guitar); Jimmy Horowitz (violin); Phil Dennys (keyboards); Gary Taylor (bass instrument); Andrew Steele (drums); Tony Carr (percussion).
Audio Remasterer: Dave Cooley.
Recording information: GM Recording Studios, East Detroit, MI (1970-1973); Lansdowne Recording Studios, London, England (1970-1973).
Illustrator: Hal Wilson.
Arrangers: Dennis Coffey; Jimmy Horowitz; Mike Theodore; Phil Dennys.
Recorded in 1971 as the second chapter in this legendarily under-the-radar Detroit bard's career, COMING FROM REALITY reads like the coda to a hippie dream the singer never got to have. Dylan, Donovan, and the Beatles remain the primary influences here, but the vision and approach is all his own: images are simultaneously psychedelic and stark, lyrical themes both sociopolitical and inner, and arrangements both embroidered and hard-hitting. Much like that of FOREVER CHANGES-era Arthur Lee, the "reality" of this title encompasses both a vivid romantic's sense of heaven and a nihilist's sense of hell.
The gentle suite "Sandrevan Lullaby-Lifestyles" finds nightmarish poetics ("The generals hate holidays/Others shoot-up to chase the sun blues away/Another store-front church is open") framed by rich strings while "It Started Out So Nice" repeats the same trick with sci-fi overtones. COMING FROM REALITY's emotional centerpiece happens with "A Most Disgusting Song"--a talking-blues/country tune based on the Beatles' "Rocky Raccoon"--that chronicles in indelible detail a gig at a dive full of seriously hung-up characters and plays like an absurdist fusion of Dylan's "Desolation Row" and Billy Joel's "Piano Man." Disturbing stuff but, all told, an album as unexpected and essential as COLD FACT.