Monday, August 10, 2009

Rick James & The Mynah Birds

Did you know that Rick James and Neil Young were in a band together back in 1965, long before the days of Super Freak? Strange, but true. The Mynah Birds featured James as frontman and Neil Young and Bruce Palmer on guitar. Apparently Rick was in love with Mick Jagger's sound, which is ironic because Mick was in love with Muddy Waters' sound. If you're keeping score at home, that's a Black man imitating a White man, imitating another Black man. Funk's got some serious layers (word to Margo Crawford.)

The Mynah Birds recorded a bunch of songs and were signed to Motown (don't forget that Rick's uncle was the Tempts' Melvin Franklin). But the album was never released because Rick had actually gone AWOL from the Navy and was on the run in Toronto when he started the band. Rick did a year in the brig, Motown shelved the album, and the Mynah Birds got their wings clipped. But listening to the songs, "It's My Time," and "I've Got You in My Soul," you can't help but wonder what might have been.

You can read about the whole sordid affair in this article on Spinner.

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