Of the thousands of U.S. garage bands who struggled in the '60s without achieving international success, the Misunderstood were not only among the very best, but among the very few to progress beyond basic garage sounds to music that has been (belatedly) recognized as nearly as accomplished and innovative as that of the British Invasion bands who touched off the garage explosion in the first place. Formed in Riverside, CA, in 1963, the group began as a basic R&Brock combo in the tradition of the Stones and the Animals.
Although the Misunderstood were among the best obscure psychedelic bands -- indeed, among the best obscure '60s rock bands of any kind -- they barely got to record anything before tragic circumstances broke them up. The discovery of this bunch of previously unknown mid-'60s acetates, then, was big news to psychedelic rock aficionados, though most of this actually comes from their garage R&B days rather than the psychedelic peak they attained with their late-1966 lineup. The first nine of these 14 tracks come from sessions spanning mid-1965 to early 1966, and show them as a ferocious, above-average moody raw R&B-based group, somewhat in the mold of a more guitar-oriented Animals. It's tougher and more original than the earlier, slightly poppier garage sound heard on the pre-psychedelic sides of the Before the Dream Faded compilation, but not nearly as innovative as the brilliant Yardbirds-taken-to-further-extremes freakout songs on Before the Dream Faded that were cut in London when Tony Hill was in the band. In fact, super-amplified steel guitarist Glenn Ross Campbell wasn't even in the band yet when these nine songs were recorded. Still, these cuts are at least respectable and often exciting, like their rave-up treatment of "Got Love if You Want It" and Hoyt Axton's "Thunder 'n Lightnin'," as well as an earlier, more folk-rockish version of "I Unseen" (which they'd re-record in a far more psych-out fashion in London). Also on the album is their cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Who's Been Talkin'" from a rare 1966 single (predating their move to London) and alternate versions of four great songs they did in the Tony Hill era. These alternate versions -- of "My Mind," "Find the Hidden Door," "Children of the Sun," and "I Unseen" -- actually aren't that different from the ones on Before the Dream Faded, as they utilize the same basic tracks, which were later given some retracking and doubling of vocals at Philips-Fontana.
Great vintage stuff. Rare recordings, b-sides, outtakes, demos, unreleased songs. Garageheads material.
LINK: FIND THE HIDDEN DOOR (S)