Friday, August 7, 2015

The Misunderstood – "I'm Not Talking" (1966)

I'm not talking
That's what I've got to say

Dude, think about those lyrics.  The singer says, "I'm not talking."  But he IS talking, isn't he? 

It's like when that old guy Ulysses sharpened a wooden stake and used it to put out the single eye of the Cyclops Polyphemus, who was about to eat him, and then told Polyphemus that his name was "Nemo," which is Latin for "Nobody."

Ulysses blinds the Cyclops
So when the rest of the Cyclopes asked Polyphemus who had blinded him, he answered "Nobody," so they all thought Polyphemus was crazy and ignored him.

The Misunderstood has been called "The Greatest Lost Band of the 1960s."  

They were a psychedelic/garage band who got together in Riverside, California, in 1963, and moved to London in 1966 after being discovered by John Peel, who later became a legendary BBC radio DJ.

John Peel
The Misunderstood managed to record only seven tracks in London before they broke up.  Several of the band's members had issues with their UK visas and work permits, and lead singer Rick Brown returned to California after he got drafted.  (Brown hightailed it from Army bootcamp rather than go to Vietnam, and ended up in India, where he became a Hindu monk.  In 1979, he returned to the U.S. and was granted amnesty.  He is now a gemologist and jewelry designer in Bangkok.)

But despite having left behind so little in the way of recorded music, the Misunderstood are considered one of the greatest psychedelic bands of all time.

The Misunderstood
As Classic Rock magazine put it, 

The truth is that this band were so far out on their own, so individual and innovative, that you can only wonder at the set of circumstances that conspired to prevent them from becoming the iconic name that was surely their destiny.

The Misunderstood's cover of "I'm Not Talking" is out there.  It opens with a brief tape-played-backwards intro, then gives you a little psychedelic sitar and a double-time blues figure.

The tempo abruptly slows when Brown starts singing, then goes back into double-time for the instrumental breaks.

The Yardbirds' cover of "I'm Not Talking" had unpredictably herky-jerky rhythms, but I'm sure the band carefully sketched everything out in advance.  In their version of the song, The Misunderstood appear to be on the verge of a complete loss of control.

That's an illusion, of course – it's what they wanted you to think.  There's a fine line between a band leaving the impression that it has lost control, and actually losing control.  The Misunderstood didn't lose control when it recorded "I'm Not Talking" – not for a second.

Click here to visit the official Misunderstood website.

Here's the Misunderstood's "I'm Not Talking":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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