"I'm Not Sayin'" was one of Gordon Lightfoot's better early songs, and one of the better ones on his debut album, an effort that included several outstanding compositions (such as "Early Morning Rain," "The Way I Feel," and "Ribbon of Darkness"). "I'm Not Sayin'" boasted his characteristic somber yet appealing melodic sense, with a touch of country longing coloring what was essentially a romantic folk ballad. For a romantic song, however, "I'm Not Sayin'" boasts some uncommonly reserved distance. Most of the song, indeed, is Lightfoot warning -- albeit in about as gentle a tone as possible -- that he isn't quite able to say he loves his woman, or cares, or will be there, or can give his heart to her, or will be faithful, or will be sorry for making her cry. But, he adds as some small consolation, he'll try. Since that amounts to a checklist of what most of us would value most highly in a partner, his frank unwillingness to commit to any such emotions might seem disagreeable, to say the least, if the lyrics are examined in the cold light of day minus Lightfoot's musical accompaniment. But it did fit in with the '60s image of the folk troubadour as footloose and wanderin', and not beholden to the usual standards of straight society. Lightfoot's recording was, like everything on his debut LP, basic, with only acoustic guitar and bass. It had actually been preceded in 1965 by a cover on the debut single by Nico, recorded in Britain and produced by then-sessionman Jimmy Page, well before she joined the Velvet Underground. Nico's version is given light orchestration and a pop-folk arrangement, much in the style often used by Marianne Faithfull on her mid-1960s recordings. It's a nice record, if a little odd given Nico's low and accented moon goddess vocals, but was a flop when originally issued. It's become fairly well known, though, as Nico's sole pre-Velvet Underground recording after being reissued several times.