Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Mynah Birds

Hip-O Select's The Complete Motown Singles, Volume Six has an otherwise unreleased single by the Mynah Birds, the short-lived group that at one point boasted both Neil Young AND Rick James as members.

Yep, that Neil Young.

And that Rick James.

I've listened to the single (both sides) a few times in the last week and it's pretty good. Not life-changing, as two songs by Rick James and Neil Young could be, but still pretty damn good. The A-Side, "It's My Time" is a sort of Nuggets-esque piece of fuzzy garage-soul that works well. Not particularly similar to anything else Motown had going in 1966, but still effective. The B-Side "Go On and Cry" is almost British in its sound and tone -- and while that might seem even more bizarre than the whole idea of the group, according to what I remember of Young's biography Shakey, Rick James, more than anything else, wanted, at this point, to be Mick Jagger. (And that's awesome in its own right. Here you have Mick Jagger trying desperately to be a black American and, in so doing, inspiring Rick James to be a white Englishman. How can you not love that?)

And then James got busted for being AWOL from the Navy.

And Neil left for Los Angeles.

And Motown never released the single (until now).

And there's supposedly a whole album somewhere that Motown threw in its vaults when Gordy and Company canned the Mynah Birds' single. Perhaps to emerge when Neil's Archives get released? Someday?

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