Tag Archives: Stephen Stills

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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Who Knows Where The Time Goes?

17 Nov

CollinsWHoKnows

I’d heard of Judy Collins when I bought this, on vinyl, sometime in the late 1970s but, truth be told, the main reasons for acquiring it were the two songs by Leonard Cohen (‘Story of Issac’ and ‘Bird on a Wire’) and the title track (‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes?‘) by Sandy Denny, lately of Fairport Convention. I suppose, back then I thought of her as a cover artist (of Dylan, Joni Mitchell and, of course her hit single of Steven Sondheim’s ‘Send In The Clowns’).

It’s only as time has passed that I’ve grown to appreciate just what a powerful  and interesting figure she is.  There was clearly something in the water in the USA as the 1950s gave way to the 60s since that period not only saw the birth of the whole Greenwich Village scene that nurtured Bob Dylan, Dave van Ronk and Phil Ochs but also Joan Baez, Judy Henske and Judy Collins.

By 1968, when this album came out (on the Elektra label), Ms Collins had not only established herself as an interpreter of songs, she’d also shown a remarkably  eclectic taste in what to cover.

This album has has nine tracks. None are less than good and four are very good. Part of this is down to the instrumentation – which is pretty classy – featuring James Burton, (guitar/dobro) Stephen Stills (guitar/bass)  and  Van Dyke Parks (keyboards).

The first stand-out (for me anyways)is ‘Hello, Hooray‘ (which between this recording in 1968 and the time I bought it,  had been a big chart success for Alice Cooper – covers by two very different artists must be a feather in the cap for composer  Rolf Kempf)!   The second cracker is Sandy Denny’s ‘Who knows..?‘ which is up there with the composer’s own version.  Given Fairport Convention’s notorious inability to translate talent into cash around this time, one can only hope that royalties from this track helped out with Sandy’s income!

The third  stand-out is Ms Collins’ version of Dylan’s  ‘I Pity The Poor Immigrant’ which (just) avoid becoming too saccarine and the fourth is Cohen’s ‘Bird on a Wire’ (which, co-incidentally was part of the Fairport’s repertoire at the same time – someone should get them to book her for Cropredy!)  I like all the other five tracks too, especially ‘Someday Soon’, which may not be a great song but is the only other one in my collection by Ian Tyson – composer of  ‘Four Strong Winds’ which I have in differently beautiful versions by Neil Young and Johnny Cash!