I Am Not Willing

I Am Not Willing” comes from Moby Grape’s 1969 album, titled Moby Grape 69.  Moby Grape came up in the San Fran band explosion in the second half of the sixties, coalescing around former Jefferson Airplane drummer Skip Spence, who dropped the drums — and the chance to be the beat behind Gracie Slick’s potent vocals — to play guitar and write songs for his new group.  Most people say Moby Grape’s debut, 1967’s self-titled album, is their best, but my vote is for one of their later albums.  Skip Spence was gone by the time Moby Grape ’69 came out (apparently he tried to kill one of his band-mates and ended up in a mental institution), and they sound better off without him.  “I Am Not Willing” isn’t much besides a heavy, looping piano and a never ending stream of cymbal hits from the drummer.  It’s a story of broken love, with matter of fact singing, and clear, affecting lyrics, neither indulgent nor self-pitying:

“She says she loves me, she won’t forget me, than she’s gone

she thinks that later, we can pick up the pieces and carry on

and I forgive her, still not suspecting she could be wrong”


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