Thursday, April 2, 2015

Southern California Spotlight: The Misunderstood - Children of the Sun/I Unseen

Our fourth entrant in the SoCal Region of the Battle of the Garage Bands is a bit of a misunderstood band. Too often The Misunderstood get tagged as a UK band. But they were not. Yes they recorded their only two singles in the UK. Yes their only two singles were only released in the UK. Yes they had one member of their five piece band that was from the UK. But all the other cats were from Riverside, California. 

Five years ago we wrote extensively about The Misunderstood (specifically the flip-side of their debut single for Fontana, Who Do You Love) and that gained attention from two of the members of the band who, in turn, left great comments. For detailed info we suggest you read that post here. 

We turn today to their second single, Children Of The Sun/I Unseen. The single was recorded in 1966 upon the band's arrival in the UK. However, the record was not released until much later in 1969 when Fontana Records got around to realizing what they had on their hands. 

The A-Side, Children Of The Sun was written by singer Rick Brown and rhythm guitarist Tony Hill. Note that Brown's name is misspelled on the label. There is just so many great things to say about this 100% perfect song that I am left scratching my head as to where to start. I guess I'll start with the wonderful guitar work of Glenn Ross Campbell and his very unique pedal steel guitar riffs that lift this song to unique and brilliant heights. Rick Brown growls away as he and Campbell battle it out and Rick Moe propels the song at break neck speed with his full drumming. Brilliant. 

The flip-side, I Unseen, gives writing credit to Brown and Hill again. But the reality is that the lyrics of a post nuclear haunting are from a poem by Turkish writer, Nazim Hikmet. That aside, I Unseen is as powerful as the A-Side. A blistering lead guitar riff backed by a really nice rhythm laid down by Tony Hill give way to a couple of great music breaks where the whole band just owns the song. And bassist Steve Whiting is never forgotten as he has laid down some of the best bass work of anybody to ever record on a rock record in the 60s.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!


  1. Two monumental recordings on one monumental disc. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that they are (mostly) from Southern California. They just don't sound like anything else from there, or from the US for that matter. I believe the recording was made soon after arriving in London, so it's not like they developed a new sound after hanging with locals.

    1. I totally agree, Jack. And if you listen to their Riverside demos, while not as fully formed as their two releases on Fontana, you can really hear that the band was doing very different things even before they crossed the pond. Just mind blowing.

    2. Unrelated Segments' Where You Gonna Go comes to mind as an example of a US recording similar to what the Misunderstood were doing.

    3. Perhaps. But I can't think of many (if any) that come to this level of depth. Construct wise, The Masters Apprentices did some complex things.

  2. I believe they got the words from The Byrds' I Come And Stand At Every Door which was taken from Pete Seeger who got it from the Turkish poet you mention. I believe The Byrds credit him.