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Monday, May 30, 2011

Revisiting The Significance of The Buffalo Springfield Reunion

Neil Young, Rick "The Bass Player" Rosas, Richie Furay
Photo by Joe "The Drummer" Vitale

Last year, after witnessing the The Triumphant Reunion of The Buffalo Springfield, Pearl Jam and Neil Young @ 2010 Bridge School Benefit Concerts we wrote that "the significance of The Buffalo Springfield reunion is hard to understate ... and not just for Neil Young fans."

Buffalo Springfield - 10/23/10
Photo by Thrashette

With this week's kickoff of the Buffalo Springfield Reunion Tour, it seems like a good time to look back as we look forward.

After last year's rave reviews, we linked over to The Lefsetz Letter, where Bob Lefsetz explored the reunion's impact and meaning.


From the consummate music industry insider/outsider Bob Lefsetz -- one of the very few music writers today that begins to come close to understanding Neil Young -- on the The Buffalo Springfield reunion in Lefsetz Letter:
For What It’s Worth

It’s kind of surprising that there’s an act yet to get back together, but that’s the case with the Springfield, a band that had one hit and wasn’t recognized for its greatness until its successor act, Crosby, Stills & Nash, broke and everybody hungered for more of this sound and purchased Buffalo Springfield’s greatest hits album 'Retrospective' which included not only the CSN-similar 'Rock And Roll Woman', but Neil Young’s extended 'Broken Arrow' and 'Mr. Soul' and…

Interesting story…

If this were broadcast live on television, it would have been this week’s biggest entertainment story. Or a live show on HBO. Did Neil nix exploitation or did no one even think of it or were they waiting to see how it all turned out before they booked the obligatory tour?

There are a zillion YouTube clips. I’ll link to a few. But none of them are exactly like being there. And that’s what you wanted to be after viewing them. You truly felt like you missed out. And in today’s on demand/DVR/instant replay world you almost never feel that way.

And everybody is owning their age. Stills, in remarkably good voice considering the recent CSN dates, looks like he’s dressed to go to dinner, not play in front of thousands. In other words, it’s about the music, not the trappings.

And that’s a beacon to the rest of the world. Create something great and it lives forever. And you know what is being produced by the major labels is not built to last, hell, even a GM car will outlast one of today’s hits.

So we’re getting back to the garden. This performance was not built on hype. By time it happened, we were not already tired of it. It snuck up on us, passed by word of mouth like the need to attend Woodstock. The mainstream was out of the loop. But those who needed to know did. This is the way it used to be, and this is the way it is right now. Hype is not everything. If this show had been hyped, we’d have already forgotten it. But now people are still discovering it. It feels like we’re in the middle of something. Like Stephen sings, there’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.

Buffalo Springfield - 10/23/10
Photo by San Jose Mercury News

Buffalo Springfield - 10/23/10
Photo gallery by Nan Philpot | Facebook

ooo-hoo, ooo-hoo,ooo-hoo
"On The Way Home"
Richie Furay and Neil Young

Photo by Mary Hughes | Facebook

Buffalo Springfield... Again...

Setlist: Buffalo Springfield - 10/23/10
Photo by Thrashette

For What It's Worth Buffalo Springfield Bridge School Benefit 10-22-2010

From USA Today by Marco R. della Cava:
The surviving trio did their late friends proud. Opening with a slightly slowed version of the Furay-led On The Way Home, Stills and Young dutifully fell into supporting roles as harmony singers. The rendition was tight; close your eyes and you could almost be tuning into an AM station from yesteryear.

The Buffalo Springfield, v. 2010
Joe Vitale, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, Neil Young and Rick Rosas

Photo by Eleanor Stills (via Rick Rosas | Facebook)

Buffalo Springfield - circa 1967
Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay, Dewey Martin, & Bruce Palmer

"Like to see those guys again
And give it a shot
Maybe now we can show the world
What we got
But I'd just like to play for the fun we had"

"Buffalo Springfield Again" by Neil Young, 2000

The Buffalo Springfield Again lineup consists of original members Stephen Stills, Neil Young, and Richie Furay. Bassist Rick Rosas will fill in for the late Bruce Palmer, and CSN drummer Joe Vitale will fill in for the late Dewey Martin.

From Rolling Stone | "Buffalo Springfield’s Richie Furay Discusses Reunion" by Andy Greene:
Two weeks ago, Buffalo Springfield guitarist Richie Furay got a text message from Neil Young that simply said, “Call me.” “I called and he asked me if I’d be up for a reunion at the Bridge School Benefit,” Furay says. “He said, ‘If you’re into it, I think Stephen [Stills] will be into it.’ The three of us then arranged a conference call, chit-chatted for a few minutes, and planned it all out.

The last time I was onstage with them was the last Buffalo Springfield show at the Long Beach Arena back in 1968. Our lives have gone in different directions and I wouldn’t say that we’re close friends, but we’re friends and its an opportunity for us to get together again for a good cause. I’m very excited.”

For What It's Worth / Mr. Soul at the Hollywood Palace in 1967

The impact of Buffalo Springfield's brief but highly influential career still resonates today. Despite existing for just two years -- the notoriously volatile band folded in 1968 after just three albums -- the seminal Buffalo Springfield are considered one of the most influential groups of their era with their unique melange of melodic folk rock, trippy psychedelia and hip country sound. Along with the Byrds, The Buffalo Springfield country-rock sound spawned an entire genre from Poco to Loggins & Messina to Jackson Browne to The Eagles -- arguably the most successful American band of the last 40 years.


From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame "Program Book" 1997 by Michael Hill :
Buffalo Springfield begat CSN, Poco, Loggins and Messina, Crazy Horse, CSNY; inspired the Eagles and the early-Seventies Southern California scene; and, if you look at the roots of bands ranging from Sonic Youth to Son Volt, at least a part of them will stretch back to Buffalo Springfield."


From article "EXPECTING TO FLY" by Mat Snow:
"It was a Stills tune that in March 1967 took Buffalo Springfield to number 7 in the US singles charts and, when tacked on to the debut LP, reinvigorated its hitherto wan commercial performance. In August '66 the local citizenry had tried to clear the area around the Sunset Strip club Pandora`s Box, whose long haired clientele deterred legitimate tourism, by having the police enforce a curfew.

Protests followed, things turning ugly when the police weighed in with the night-sticks. Witnessing this upon return from a trip to Nicaragua , Stills was inspired: 'All the kids on one side of the street, all the cops on the other side - in Latin America that meant there'd be a new government in about a week. 'Both a warning and a barricade-manning counter-culture rallying cry, 'For What It's Worth' owes much of its power to Young's paranoid guitar. This creative contrast was seldom otherwise captured on record to Young's satisfaction.


From article "EXPECTING TO FLY" by Mat Snow:
Stills: 'When we got to our first session,we went into the studio and cut this one song, the voice came over the talk-back saying, 'No, that`s too long. Play it faster.' Neil and I looked at each other and said , 'We better learn how to work this shit ourselves. >From then on it was like a race to see who could learn the most about making records, about electronics and engineering, the whole nine yards.'

As Young told Nick Kent:' The real core of the group was the three Canadians - me, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin. We played in such a way that the three of us were basically huddled together behind whilst Stills and Furay were always out front. 'Cos we'd get so into the groove of the thing, that's all we really cared about. But when we got into the studio the groove just wasn't the same. And we couldn't figure out why. This was the major frustration for me as a young musician, it fucked me up so much. Buffalo Springfield should have recorded live from the very beginning. All the records were great failures as far as I`m concerned."

Rock'n Roll Woman at Live Popendipity in 1967 - Flip Wilson Show

In an interview with Stephen Stills by Cameron Crowe (September, 1974) on the Sunset Strip guitar duels with Neil Young:
STILLS: "Neil and I used to have guitar wars on stage that were really stupid.

It was really funny. I wouldn't play the game except every once in a while when I'd get in a mood. It was just pathetic. I started playing lead guitar in the Buffalo Springfield and it was okay. I never played anything that was really bad, other than that I played too loud. The fights started getting really good and I guess that fights started becoming a little too much to take or something.

'Cause it got weird."

Buffalo Springfield
Photo by Dennis Hopper

Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth (Monterey 1967)


For What It's Worth

The Buffalo Springfield open for The Rolling Stones
Hollywood Bowl, July 25th, 1966
Photo by Sue Michelson

Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth - Smother Bros show 1967

"Used to play
in a rock 'n' roll band,
But they broke up.
We were young and we were wild,
It ate us up.
Now I'm not saying
who was right or wrong."

"Buffalo Springfield Again" by Neil Young, 2000

On the song “Buffalo Springfield Again”, from his Silver & Gold album [2000], Young sang of how he’d “Like to see those guys again/And give it another shot.” The song was written just after Young had refused to appear at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame induction of Buffalo Springfield. Later, Dewey Martin remarked on Young's absence that he'd much rather have it that Neil would sing with them rather than about them.

Stephen Stills & Neil Young discuss Buffalo Springfield - Part #2

Stephen Stills & Neil Young discuss Buffalo Springfield - Part #3


The Richie Furay Band performing Neil Young songs that Richie sang on the first Springfield album. The songs include Flying on the Ground, Do I have to come right out and say it, and Clancy.

Buffalo Springfield on TV Program "Mannix" - Broadcast: October 28, 1967

More on The Buffalo Springfield and Neil Young. Also, see Bruce Palmer 1946-2004 and Dewey Martin-1940-2009.


Also, see complete reports on 2010 Bridge School Benefit Concert (24th Annual) with reviews, photos, YouTube videos and commentary.

Also, see The Triumphant Reunion of The Buffalo Springfield, Pearl Jam and Neil Young @ 2010 Bridge School Benefit Concerts.

More on 2010 Bridge School Concert Highlights: Pro Shot Video on YouTube.

Also, see Buffalo Springfield, Pearl Jam & Others: "Rockin' in the Free World" @ Bridge Concert.

Labels: ,


At 5/30/2011 10:17:00 AM, Blogger Raincheck said...

Good point. The Springfield is a way underrated band. I was at both Bridge shows, and the amazing thing was that, 42 years later, when they played together, these guys WERE the Springfield again.

But the crowd response was somewhat muterd, given what was going on in front of them. Even among Neil fans, the Springfield is, to many, long ago, far away and unknown or unappreciated. Like a "b" list CSN or something.

But the Springfield is so much more than that. And for Neil, it is a case of "It Might Have Been." this was his first great band. It is the only band where you really see Neil play the part of equal member. Neil's commitment to the backing vocals alone is worth seeing.

But the first album was badly recorded. The last album was posthumous. The breakthrough hit never came. And they were, in fact, a regional LA band 42 years ago. So as hot as the Springfield really were, as trail blazing as they were, as great as the songs were, they are not well known and they are not part of that collective consciouness. It's a shame.

It pains me to miss these shows. Bridge was perfect. A treasure. But these shows will offer a chance to see the Springfield go electric, and Neil and Stephen really go at it. I'll have to settle for You Tube. It ain't the same.

At 5/30/2011 02:51:00 PM, Blogger BecauseSoundMatters said...

Thanks Thrasher!
I am so happy for Neil that he enjoys the Springfield.
They are really good. The loner in a band isn't a bad idea after all. Really hope to see them playing together once in my lifetime. Have a good time BS! Love BSM.

At 5/30/2011 05:19:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

I think the Buffalo Springfield were more than just a "regional L.A. band" in that 'For What It's Worth' made the charts up here in Detroit on good old WKNR AM. Shortly there after when FM radio took off in Detroit, I remember Mr Soul and Bluebird getting regular airplay as well. As far as a reunion is concerned, I only wish that Neil would had acted on his premonition while writing 'Buffalo Springfield Again'. It would have seemed more 'complete' had Dewey Martin and Bruce Palmer been able to take part in this reunion. Although their contributions to the band were minimal considering they did not write nor did they sing lead vocals, their absence will be felt none the less. However, without even one of the remaining 'key' members, it would no longer be possible to have a reunion. I for one am so grateful that they can put their ego's aside so maybe now they can show the world what they got, although I'm sure it will be worth it just for the fun they'll have!

At 8/05/2011 09:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Bruce Palmer no longer around, why wasn't Jim Messina invited back? Or wasn't he interested?

At 4/26/2017 07:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi buffalo springfield group you look so wonderful!! Very handsome i lovrd your song for what its worth... Thanks linda


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