Buffalo Springfield Again

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toomanyhatz
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Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby toomanyhatz » 26 Nov 2007, 10:40

Based on this exchange between myself and John Coan on the "best solo careers" thread:

Sir John Coan wrote:
toomanyhatz wrote:
Sir John Coan wrote:Neil Young's solo career so overshadows Buffalo Springfield's in every way it's almost unfair to compare him against the others.


You sell them short, John, you always have. That was a hell of a band. That's when Stills was a monster talent as well. Sure Young has a lot to do with them being special, but vice-versa. Top rhythm section too.


I wouldn't dispute any of that, but Young's career has shown infinitely more diversity, ambition, and fascination than that band. If we're talking about relative successes - comparing solo careers against those of the bands they came out of - I think you'd be hard pressed to find a starker contrast. BS were hardly the Velvets, were they?


toomanyhatz wrote:Buffalo Springfield Again is the very essence of diversity, ambition and fascination. It's where Stills and Young discovered that they could push each other to heights of guitar inspiration. Some of Young's greatest career achievements- "Expecting to Fly" and "Mr. Soul"- are right here. Stills' "Bluebird" and "Hung Upside Down" compare favorably with the best of that first Moby Grape album. They weren't the Velvets, no, but remember they lasted barely two years and the Velvets lasted five. They did pretty damn well for three albums, including one that wasn't finished. I urge you to re-listen to all their work, but particularly BSA. OK, there's a certain amount of proto-California country-rock that's more my taste (and Balboa's) than yours. But if Neil Young had retired at the end of it, and Stills dropped the ball afterwards as much as- well, he did, it would still be looked on as a classic record.



I think calling it anything other than a classic record sells it short. I think it's right up there with the first Moby Grape record, which it's actually quite similar to. I think this is Stephen Stills' peak as a songwriter. And I think Neil has his first truly great ones. I think it's one of the best records ever. I don't think it has a bad track on it.

1. "Mr. Soul" (Young) – 2:35
* Original recording January 9, 1967, Atlantic Studios, New York, New York. Additional recording April 4, 1967. Lead vocal: Neil Young. Backing vocal and guitar: Richie Furay. (Stills absent.)
2. "A Child's Claim to Fame" (Furay) – 2:09
* Recorded June 21, 1967, Columbia Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Richie Furay. Dobro: James Burton.
3. "Everydays" (Stills) – 2:38
* Recorded March 15, Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Stephen Stills. Bass: Jim Fielder. (Bruce Palmer absent.)
4. "Expecting to Fly" (Young) – 3:39
* Recorded May 6, 1967, Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Neil Young. Arrangement: Jack Nitzsche. (Rest of group absent.)
5. "Bluebird" (Stills) – 4:28
* Recorded starting April 4, 1967, Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Stephen Stills. Bass: Bobby West. Banjo: Charlie Chin. (Bruce Palmer absent).
6. "Hung Upside Down" (Stills) – 3:24
* Recorded June 30 & September 1-5, 1967, Columbia Recording Studios & Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Richie Furay (verses), Stephen Stills (choruses).
7. "Sad Memory" (Furay) – 3:00
* Recorded September 5, 1967, Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Richie Furay. Electric lead guitar: Neil Young. Acoustic guitar: Richie Furay. (Stills, Palmer, and drummer Dewey Martin absent.)
8. "Good Time Boy" (Furay) – 2:11
* Recorded August 1967, Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Dewey Martin. Reports differ on whether drummer Martin actually played drums on this track, or whether it was played entirely by session musicians, including the Soul Train horns.
9. "Rock & Roll Woman" (Stills/Crosby[uncredited]) – 2:44
* Recorded June 22-August 8, 1967, Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Stephen Stills. Background vocal: David Crosby (disputed; he is, however, an uncredited co-writer of the melody.) Guitar: Doug Hastings.
10. "Broken Arrow" (Young) – 6:13
* Recorded August 25 & September 5-18, 1967, Columbia Recording Studios & Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Neil Young. (Rest of group absent.) Piano, organ: Don Randi. Guitar: Chris Sarns. Backing vocal: Richie Furay (overdubbed).

OK, it's very much like the White Album in that it's each of them working separately rather than as a band, but I think similarly they were all bursting forth with ideas, and the diversity and range of the record is damned impressive.

Am I looking at it through rose-colored lenses, or is it as brilliant as I think it is?

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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby The Write Profile » 26 Nov 2007, 11:19

What's so fascinating about this record is the fact that it features three principal song-writers with very different approaches, but their contradictions seem to ironically, actually mesh together because of the gulf in styles. Stills' material is clearly the best stuff he ever wrote- the haunting "Bluebird" is his most melodically ineffable work, but "Hung Upside Down" is something else entirely. On the one hand, it's played with startling ferocity and zeal, yet there's something oddly intoxicating about the way the melody, such as it is, bursts through at unexpected moments. "Rock & Roll Woman" is just straight-up fierce though.

I suppose Furay could be seen as "the lukewarm water" member of the trio in the sense that there's something oddly wimpy about his songs, but you can't deny their charm, and his warbling tenor is something of a vocal midpoint between Stills's yowl and Young's tremulous quiver. Hell, I even think "A Child's Claim to Fame" breaks up the tone nicely, it's a neat little number that's goofy without being too ingratiating.

As for Young's contributions....well...they're startling aren't they, in their almost self-conscious grandeur. "Broken Arrow" is such a bizarre song in many ways, it's not only baroque, it's unapologetically self-referential and the 'circus carosuel' middle-eight only serves to heighten the offkilter vibe. "Expecting to Fly" might be the superior number, though, because there's a conciseness that stops the song merely, erm, drfiting off, that and that Young's vocals, which add some much-needed fragility, but as a song it's practically weightless. Meanwhile, "Mr Soul" just kicks, straight up. It's just hits where it hurts and gets the hell outta there. Perhaps hindsight (and received history) is a wonderful thing, yet to me Again actually sounds like the record a band on the point of fracturing. It's capricious, fracititous, they seem to be letting it all hang out and yet somehow it all hangs together.

Incidentally I think the s/t debut is just as consistent, even if the peaks aren't as great. Granted, the production somewhat deadens the impact of certain tracks (something Young complains about bitterly in the Shakey bio), but you can hear the first inferences of his very idiosyncratic approach, not least in the moody and horizontal "Out of My Mind" and the severe bummer that is "Burned." On that record, I think Stills might have the upper-hand as a songwriter, though it's a close one for sure.

Another point- they were so young, weren't they? Young and Stills were, what, 23 when the band disintegrated. Incredible, really.
Last edited by The Write Profile on 26 Nov 2007, 11:49, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby Bungo the Mungo » 26 Nov 2007, 11:46

Well, predictably, I think it's half a great album. I can't see how anyone could see this as a bona fide classic - especially with all the other phenomenal stuff coming out of the same area at the same time.

The NY tracks are astounding, 'Bluebird' is great - and then I can barely remember anything.

I'll play it again tonight.

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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby Bungo the Mungo » 26 Nov 2007, 16:59

Two responses in six hours?

Most people don't really care too much about Buffalo Springfield these days, truth be told - even here.

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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby Muskrat » 26 Nov 2007, 17:15

Some of us post just to see our names on the board; others don't.
I, for one, have nothing to say on this subject*, and so haven't posted on it.





* except they're one of my favorite groups ever, and I remember to this day the first time I heard the line "Who's putting sponge in the bells I once rung?"
A geniuine "What the hell is that?" moment.
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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby Molony » 26 Nov 2007, 17:22

I like it a great deal. This thread is making me want to dig out my MiniDisc copy!

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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby robertff » 26 Nov 2007, 18:19

Personally I think it's an excellent album and an album that I continue to play regularly. Shame the third didn't live up to its predecessor, great shame the band broke up - so much talent.

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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby Matt Wilson » 26 Nov 2007, 18:34

Well, I love it--a Matt album if ever there was one.
One of my favorite LPs by one of my favorite bands (it towers above Moby Grape for instance).

But I'm sure people are tired of reading me champion yet another LA group so I'll sit this one out.

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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby toomanyhatz » 26 Nov 2007, 18:59

Sir John Coan wrote:Well, predictably, I think it's half a great album. I can't see how anyone could see this as a bona fide classic - especially with all the other phenomenal stuff coming out of the same area at the same time.

The NY tracks are astounding, 'Bluebird' is great - and then I can barely remember anything.

I'll play it again tonight.


All the Stills tracks are great.

When listening to the Springfield box for the first time, I was struck by the fact that Young started out as a good songwriter and got better and better, whereas Stills started out as a great one and got worse and worse.

This is the record that finds their intersection at its closest point. I know a majority of us think Young is clearly the superior artist from pretty soon after this, and it's true. But it wasn't at this point. And Stills is the superior writer on the first record.

The fact that Furay's songs are, while being fairly light and inconsequential compared to the other two, pretty charming and influential, is gravy. Or, if you prefer, icing.
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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby The Modernist » 26 Nov 2007, 19:06

I've always been slightly underwhelmed by BS to be honest. They always seemed a band not that sure how to harness the talent they had, there's something slightly unformed about them. They're important because of the impact they made at the time, but I wouldn't say their music was any better than dozens of other US bands around at the same time.

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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby Piggly Wiggly » 26 Nov 2007, 19:10

TheModernist wrote:I've always been slightly underwhelmed by BS to be honest.


I'd recommend steering clear of Nextdoorland in that case.

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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby Matt Wilson » 26 Nov 2007, 19:22

toomanyhatz wrote: The fact that Furay's songs are, while being fairly light and inconsequential compared to the other two, pretty charming and influential, is gravy. Or, if you prefer, icing.


The only weak track on the album is Furay's "Good Time Boy" which they gave to Dewey to sing.
Everything else on the LP is either good or great.

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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby toomanyhatz » 26 Nov 2007, 19:27

Wilson Schmilson wrote:
toomanyhatz wrote: The fact that Furay's songs are, while being fairly light and inconsequential compared to the other two, pretty charming and influential, is gravy. Or, if you prefer, icing.


The only weak track on the album is Furay's "Good Time Boy" which they gave to Dewey to sing.
Everything else on the LP is either good or great.


Actually, I like "Good Time Boy." Inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but fun.

If that's as bad as it gets, I think it makes the album look pretty great.
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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby Charlie O. » 26 Nov 2007, 19:27

toomanyhatz wrote:All the Stills tracks are great.

When listening to the Springfield box for the first time, I was struck by the fact that Young started out as a good songwriter and got better and better, whereas Stills started out as a great one and got worse and worse.

This is the record that finds their intersection at its closest point. I know a majority of us think Young is clearly the superior artist from pretty soon after this, and it's true. But it wasn't at this point. And Stills is the superior writer on the first record.

The fact that Furay's songs are, while being fairly light and inconsequential compared to the other two, pretty charming and influential, is gravy. Or, if you prefer, icing.


Exactly.

My only problem with the album - and with so many riches on board, this is a minor quibble - is that it doesn't flow in quite the way a classic album ought to. Every time I play it, I program it, trying to find that magic sequence and it always seems to just elude me. (I'll understand if those who "grew up" listening to the album as is disagree with me on this point.)
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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby Matt Wilson » 26 Nov 2007, 19:54

It looks like I'm not going to be sitting this one out after all...

It's a masterpiece. The other day we had a Surrealistic Pillow vs Moby Grape thread (and then The Doors was thrown in for good measure). We could just as easily substituted Buffalo Springfield Again for any of those titles.

"Mr. Soul" is as good as anything Young would write for a few more years. It's still one of my favorite cuts ever of his.
"A Child's Claim to Fame" is as good as any Furay Poco song. Maybe better.
"Everydays" is a decent Stills tune. He would write better but this'll do. Yes later covered it.
"Expecting to Fly" Great collaboration with Jack N. Some of Young's solo experiments weren't so successful, in fact--some were horrendous. That's not the case here. It's become almost as much of a classic as "Mr. Soul" over the years.
"Bluebird" One of my favorite songs ever. Top ten in fact. I'll also say I like it better than any Neil Young song.
"Hung Upside Down" A bit better than "Everydays" and probably better regarded. One of Stills rare concessions to psychedelia (which didn't exactly fit him very snugly).
"Sad Memory" Minimalist little Furay Vignette. Again--he'd write Poco songs which remind me of this tune. I like it as much as "Hung Upside Down" anyway.
"Good Time Boy" Furay feux (sp) soul ditty for Deway Martin to have something to do (the Ringo cut if you will). Doesn't work for me.
"Rock 'n' Roll Woman" Another one of my favorite songs and that doesn't just mean Buffalo Springfield ones either.
"Broken Arrow" Another Jack N. experiment. Young's views on the plight of the American Indian I suppose (he dressed like one in those days) and another virtual classic.

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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby Bungo the Mungo » 26 Nov 2007, 20:40

Wilson Schmilson wrote:It looks like I'm not going to be sitting this one out after all...

It's a masterpiece. The other day we had a Surrealistic Pillow vs Moby Grape thread (and then The Doors was thrown in for good measure). We could just as easily substituted Buffalo Springfield Again for any of those titles.


You know, I back off from ranting here these days. I don't want to cause a fuss. I'm a wee bit calmer than I was, too.

But then I see stuff like this, which is absolute fucking nonsense of the highest order.

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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby Quaco » 26 Nov 2007, 20:50

Sir John Coan wrote:Two responses in six hours?

Most people don't really care too much about Buffalo Springfield these days, truth be told - even here.

I was waiting to see what you thought of it after listening to it again...
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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby C » 26 Nov 2007, 21:34

robertff wrote:Personally I think it's an excellent album and an album that I continue to play regularly. Shame the third didn't live up to its predecessor, great shame the band broke up - so much talent.


Spot on


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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby Bungo the Mungo » 26 Nov 2007, 21:42

Quaco wrote:
Sir John Coan wrote:Two responses in six hours?

Most people don't really care too much about Buffalo Springfield these days, truth be told - even here.

I was waiting to see what you thought of it after listening to it again...


I'm doing that right now. I'm underwhelmed, truth be told.

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Re: Buffalo Springfield Again

Postby Matt Wilson » 26 Nov 2007, 21:59

Sir John Coan wrote:
Wilson Schmilson wrote:It looks like I'm not going to be sitting this one out after all...

It's a masterpiece. The other day we had a Surrealistic Pillow vs Moby Grape thread (and then The Doors was thrown in for good measure). We could just as easily substituted Buffalo Springfield Again for any of those titles.


You know, I back off from ranting here these days. I don't want to cause a fuss. I'm a wee bit calmer than I was, too.

But then I see stuff like this, which is absolute fucking nonsense of the highest order.


No offense, Coan (oh, who am I kidding--take offense, you swine) but no one in their right mind would come to you for advice on the Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young, Steven Stills, Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane or even the Doors (and you :lol: like them).
This music is the complete opposite of the Fall or the Stooges or whatever else you dote on and since that's your brain-damage of choice your opinion on the Springfield ain't worth the hair on my ass.

If fact--I rather like you so I didn't want to bring this up but your California rock priviledges are hereby revoked. Ended. Kaput. The next time you start a thread on a California band/artist or even comment on someone else's thread you are banned from BCB for a week pending possible dismissal.

I'm sorry but it has to be this way.