Friday, July 27, 2012

188 Buffalo Springfield Again. Clever person overload



Album: Buffalo Springfield Again
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Genre: Rock
Year: 1967

Tracks

  1. Mr. Soul
  2. A Child's Claim to Fame
  3. Everydays
  4. Expecting to Fly
  5. Bluebird
  6. Hung Upside Down
  7. Sad Memory
  8. Good Time Boy
  9. Rock & Roll Woman
  10. Broken Arrow

Most bands are lucky to have one really talented songwriter. There are groups who have managed to forge entire careers with a single half-talented song creator and others who have basically got by on cover versions. The Beatles had three (eventually) and only needed one of them to be half as brilliant  to be twice as good as anyone else was. Buffalo Springfield had three talented songwriters which is why Buffalo Springfield Again is so weird but so damn good.

Least lauded of the trio is Richie Furay who formed country Rockers Poco after Springfield collapsed. He contributes the countrified A Child's claim to fame and Sad Memory to the album and gives it an authentic country twang along with Good Time Boy which adds a strange element of funk.

More famous is Stephen Stills, who had previously given Springfield their biggest hit in For What It's Worth ("Stop children what's that sound everyone look what's going down"). Buffalo Springfield Again catches Stills laying the groundwork for Crosby Stills and Nash, his next band. He even cowrote one track with David Crosby, who had to keep his contribution secret as he was still under contract to The Byrds at the time. Stills contributes Rock and Roll Woman, Bluebird, Everydays and Hung upside down which are the most conventional rockers on the album and all feature his under-rated guitar talents.

And one further step up the fame ladder is Neil Young who at the time was in full experimental mode and playing with orchestras and big sounds on Mr Soul and Expecting to Fly and sound collages on Broken arrow.

Sometimes when differing musical styles collide the results compliment each other and the end result is greater than the sum of its parts. In this case the three differing styles don't work together at all. Furay's country, Stills' rock and Young's experiments don't really sound like an album they sound your MP3 player spewing out random tracks.

The whole thing should be a total disaster but it's saved (White Album style) by the fact that the three writers are all really good at what they do. Every song on BSA is fantastic and it's easy to look past the disjointed nature to appreciate a thoroughly enjoyable listen. It even works on random, since the song order makes no sense anyway and can be enjoyed if you program your player so you hear Furay's tracks first, Young's last and the Stills penned songs as a nice bridge between the two.

Buffalo Springfield managed to squeeze out one more album that was even more disjointed than this one before they went their seperate ways. Furay went from this to form the insufferably tedious Poco, Young became a hugely successful solo star and Stills formed the magnificent CSN and vowed never to work with Young again (but did immediately afterwards). The band reunited in 2011 for some incredibly well received shows which I would love to have seen.

Highlight: Mr Soul
Lowlight: Sad Memory

Influenced by: Dylan, country and the wonders of the studio
Influenced: Three different future directions

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "AS THE CALIFORNIA DEMOCRAT PARTY BUYS UP GREENDAY AND FOO FIGHTERS DISCS AND MICHAEL MOORE MOVIES IN BULK TO PUT THEM ON THE 'CHARTS' AND MAKE THEM SEEM HIP, POPULAR, AND WOW NOW, WELL,...I WOULD JUST RECOMMEND YOU IGNORE THE SPIN OUT OF MTV AND CNN AND JUST GET INTO COOL OLD STUFF LIKE BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD"

-I've heard of managers buying up records to improve a record's sales but a political party? From one state? Tin foil hat time.

-So are you happy to see Buffalo Springfield again or do you wish you'd never seen them the first time? Let me know below.

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