Tag Archives: Buffalo Springfield

Star Collection Buffalo Springfield

30 Nov

buffalo_springfield-star-collection_a

This compilation of Buffalo Springfield tracks came out on an anonymous budget label (Midi) in 1972 and I bought it (possibly from Woolworths), at around that time and despite the naff sleeve.  I’d already bought ‘Harvest’ by Neil Young (see April 27th post), had taped a copy of ‘After the Goldrush’ and wanted to hear more but was too mean to shell out for Mr Young’s two earliest solo records or his CSNY group recordings! This then was the cheapskate alternative – a collection of  work from his first band – which also featured Stephen Stills.

I’d never heard anything by Buffalo Springfield on UK radio and I think the original three albums ( from 1966, ’67 and ’68) had been deleted by the record company at that point so I was taking a gamble with £1.50 (maybe even less) but it turned out pretty good value for money!

The record contains eleven tracks – five by Young, three by  Stills and two by Richie Furay. All of them with that distinctively sixties sound when US rock music wasn’t ashamed of displaying its pop roots and  when pop music was flirting with psychedelia and a heavier sound. There’s plenty of Byrds-like jangling guitars among this collection. None of the tracks are bad at all and most have lasted very well over the years. The better of Furay’s pair is ‘A Child’s Claim to Fame’ , while the outstanding Stills track is the ominous ‘For What It’s Worth’ followed closely by ‘Rock’n’Roll Woman’.  It’s the Neil Young tracks that make it for me though: Both ‘Mr Soul’ and ‘Burned’ are up there among his best and ‘Out Of My Mind‘ is pretty good too.

Since buying this, I’ve acquired the band’s first two albums but haven’t seen the final one (‘Last Time Around’) to buy yet – but it’ll probably join them in due course.

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Harvest

27 Apr

Harvest

Neil Young’s ‘Harvest’ was one of the first dozen LPs I ever bought, on the Reprise label, way back in 1972. This was pretty much on the strength of the single ‘Heart of Gold‘ which was a top 10 hit in the UK and also the reputation of Crosby,  Stills, Nash and Young’s ‘Deja Vu‘ album which someone lent me.   And probably  also the fact that James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt were backing vocalists. I re-purchased it on CD last year as part of a good value boxed set of Mr Young’s first four solo albums (9362-494975 Reprise).

Between those times its drifted in and out of the soundtrack of my life.  Although it sold strongly it’s not an album I warm to – and I find it less satisfying than its predecessor, ‘After the Gold Rush’ . While the ten songs are OK or better it doesn’t really hang together as a collection. There’s one poignant live track (‘The Needle and the Damage Done’) which is just Mr Young and and an acoustic guitar; then there are two with the entire London Symphony Orchestra (‘A Man Needs A Maid’ and ‘There’s a World’) which don’t work for me. The studio tracks are the strongest though: as well as the hit single and the title track my favourites are ‘Are Your Ready For The Country?’ and ‘Alabama’  (which of course, along with ‘Southern Man’, prompted Lynrd Skynrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’).

Since ‘Harvest’ I’ve dipped into and out of Neil Young’s music in a  fairly random fashion (the next thing I bought by him was a Buffalo Springfield collection from the start of his career). Sometimes he’s awesome (especially the guitar work on tracks such as ‘Like a Hurricane’ and ‘Cortez the Killer’) and the best of this album is in the same league.