[Review] Buffalo Springfield (1966)

Sure, you knew about The Byrds and The Beatles, but these early Buffalo tracks are definitely worth hunting down.

Kronomyth 1.0: Do I have to come right out and play it?

Battle lines were being drawn, somewhere between The Beatles and Bob Dylan, with bands like Buffalo Springfield and The Byrds leading the charge in the late ‘60s. Although their breakthrough was still months away (Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth”), it was clear that this Buffalo was a breed apart from the rest of the herd. The band had two talented songwriters (Stills, Neil Young), two distinctive lead guitarists (Stills and Young again) and three capable singers (including Richie Furay, who takes lead half of the time).

The album is split largely between Steve (side one) and Neil (side two), with Stills leaning more toward folk/blues and Young showing a real facility for psychedelic pop songs (“Flying On The Ground Is Wrong,” “Out of My Mind”). The end result is like finding The BeatlesRubber Soul on the bottom of cowboy boots. That’s not to suggest that Buffalo Springfield is so sure-footed as all that; there are times when The Monkees are an equally valid reference point. The social consciousness and acid wit would come with time, Stills and Young content here to write clever love songs like “Sit Down I Think I Love You” and “Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It” (my favorite track on here). The darkest moment may be “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing,” an ambitious but not wholly effective attempt at some sort of grand statement from Young (“Broken Arrow” from their next album didn’t fare any better).

Today, the music of Buffalo Springfield is relegated to a dusty corner of the great hall of rock & roll, a somewhat blurry snapshot of music as it mutated from pop to psychedelic folk to country rock. Note that in 1971, when the album was reissued in stereo, “For What It’s Worth” replaced the opening track “Don’t Scold Me.” That track, along with the entire original mono mix, was added in a 1997 expanded reissue.

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Original LP Version

A1. Don’t Scold Me
*A1b. For What It’s Worth (Stephen Stills) (2:37)
A2. Go And Say Goodbye (Stephen Stills) (2:19)
A3. Sit Down I Think I Love You (Stephen Stills) (2:30)
A4. Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing (Neil Young) (3:26)
A5. Hot Dusty Roads (Stephen Stills) (2:47)
A6. Everybody’s Wrong (Stephen Stills) (2:22)
B1. Flying On The Ground Is Wrong (Neil Young) (2:48)
B2. Burned (Neil Young) (2:14)
B3. Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It (Neil Young) (3:00)
B4. Leave (Stephen Stills) (2:42)
B5. Out of My Mind (Neil Young) (3:05)
B6. Pay The Price (Stephen Stills) (2:35)

* Replaced “Don’t Scold Me” for 1971 and later reissues.

The Players

Richie Furay (rhythm guitarist, lead and backing vocals), Dewey Martin (drummer, backing vocals), Bruce Palmer (bass guitarist), Stephen Stills (2nd lead guitarist, lead and backing vocals), Neil Young (lead guitarist, lead and backing vocals). Produced by Charles Greene and Brian Stone; recording engineered by “Doc” Siegel and Tom May.

The Pictures

Photos by Ivan Nagy. Album design by Sandy Dvore.

The Plastic

Released on mono and stereo elpee in October 1966 in the US (Atco, 33-200-A/SD 33-200-A) and in January 1967 in the UK (Atco, 587070); reached #80 on the US charts.

  1. Re-issued on mono and stereo elpee in March 1967 in the US (Atco, 33-200-A/SD 33-200-A) {gold-slate label} with different track #A1.
  2. Re-issued on compact disc and cassette on October 3, 1989 in the US (Atco, SD 33-200).
  3. Re-released on expanded compact disc in 1997 in the US (Elektra, 62080) with original album mix.

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