Following is a review of the Buffalo Springfield Box Set. I noted the news of the impending release and then did my review in parts over 4 days on my website Craig’s BookNotes. I included numerous links to Buffalo Springfield related websites. If you are interested you can check out the original posts. July 11, 2001 Music News, Part 1–July 18, 2001, Part 2–July 19, 2001, Part 3–July 20, 2001 and Part 4–July 21, 2001.
News of release
I am one of those “rare” Buffalo Springfield fans that actually became a fan when they were still together as a band. I remember seeing them at the Melodyland Theatre in Anaheim, California, back in the 1960′s. My friend and I had actually gone to see the British pop duo Chad and Jeremy. Buffalo Springfield was the opener. We were blown away. Chad and Jeremy were anticlimactic and they knew it.
Rhino is releasing later this week Buffalo Springfield (Boxed Set). “Compiled and produced by Neil Young, this first-ever complete career retrospective brings together the band’s first two albums, Buffalo Springfield (mono) and Buffalo Springfield Again (stereo)–both remastered in their entirety–along with 36 previously unreleased tracks, including demos, outtakes and alternate mixes. Deluxe packaging includes liner notes by Buffalo Springfield historian Ken Voila, plus tons of photos and rare memorabilia.”
Now, where can I get the cash?
The release was a little late. It didn’t show up at Waterloo Records until yesterday (July 17, 2001). I went down last night and plopped down my 50 bucks, came home and listened to the first disk. All of the tracks are from 1966 and most of them are demos. It’s revealing to hear a song as it was originally conceived–usually just a straight melody line with accoustic guitar accompaniment. ‘Out of My Mind’, ‘Flying on the Ground is Wrong’, ‘Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing’, ‘Sit Down I Think I Love You’, ‘Down, Down, Down’, the list goes on. There are several songs that never made it to an album. It’s an ear opener and it’s already worth the money.
I’ve now given the whole set a couple of complete plays. The unreleased mixes and demos are real gems. It’s a shame there are no known live recordings in existence.
Disc 2 starts out with the second unreleased version of ‘Down, Down, Down’, which will be most familiar to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young fans as part of the medley of Neil Young songs called ‘Country Girl’ on CSN&Y’s Déjà Vu album. Also on disc 2 is the demo version of Stephen Stills ‘Hung Upside Down’, which he apparently intended as a longer song than what finally ended up on the album Buffalo Springfield.
The weirdest track is ‘Kahuna Sunset’, a “surf” instrumental co-written by Stills and Young, complete with bird and wave sounds in the background, hawaiian sounding slide, heavy reverb and hypnotic tom-tom rhythms from Dewey Martin on drums.
There are various alternate song mixes and a couple of “dippy” love song demos, that, for good reason didn’t make it into release, but demonstrate the songwriters’ emerging styles. Disc 2 also features an interesting unreleased version of Still’s ‘Pretty Girl Why’ and an unreleased version of Neil Young’s ‘Down to the Wire’ featuring Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John, on piano.
What can I say? The set is great. Disc 3 includes several outstanding Neil Young demos, stuff that didn’t come out until Young started his solo career, including ‘Old Laughing Lady’. There is a Poco preview with an unreleased Buffalo Springfield version of the Richie Furay tune ‘What A Day’, and probably my favorite cut of the whole set, Stephen Stills demo version of ‘Four Days Gone’.
The fourth CD for the Buffalo Springfield Box Set is a remix of the band’s first two albums, Buffalo Springfield and Buffalo Springfield Again. This mix is cleaner, especially on Buffalo Springfield which was badly bungled by the band’s first producers Charlie Greene and Brian Stone.