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Music Review: Buffalo Springfield – Last Time Around

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After just over two turbulent, creative, and brilliant years, the members of Buffalo Springfield decided to call it quits. Neil Young would release a solo album four months after the group’s demise. Stephen Stills would move on to the successful and enduring Crosby, Stills & Nash. Richie Furay and Jim Messina, who had replaced original bass player Bruce Palmer, would form the country/rock band Poco. Drummer Dewey Martin would form Medicine Ball, retire to become a mechanic, and then form Buffalo Springfield Revisited with bass player Bruce Palmer.

Last Time Around was the third and last studio album by the group and was released after they had disbanded. It is unique, creative, diverse, and excellent which is probably an accurate description of their career.

It seems as if Neil Young could hardly wait to leave the band. He only contributed two full songs but his talent was such that both are superb. “On The Way Home” contains vocal harmonies with Richie Furay and guitar work with Stephen Stills which are top notch. There is an excellent version of this song on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s live album Four Way Street. “I Am A Child” did not include any other member of the band but is a classic Neil Young composition. He would recycle it for his Live Rust album.

Stephen Stills would contribute five tracks which can be considered the album’s foundation. “Four Days Gone” remains one of his strongest compositions. It has a country/rock feel and is another political statement by him. A bluesy rendition appears on Stephen Stills Live. “Pretty Girl Why”contains some nice guitar interplay with Young but it is the co-lead vocal with Furay that pushes it over the top.” Questions” is another country/rock composition with strong lyrics and stellar guitar riffs. “Uno Mundo” features some almost psychedelic guitar playing by Stills. “Special Care” is another track which would appear live throughout his career in various forms but here in its original incarnation it is precise and very laid back.

Richie Furay's “Kind Woman” can really be considered the first Poco song. Rusty Young was brought in to play the pedal steel guitar part and meshed so well with Young and Messina that they decided to start their own band. This is a gentle, romantic song that remains among his best. “Merry-Go-Round” would travel in a different direction as a light pop tune. “It’s So Hard To Wait” was co-authored by Neil Young who then abandoned the song and does not appear on it. Furay finished it as a slow ode of lost love.

Jim Messina managed to contribute one song before everything fell apart. “Carefree Country Day” is light and competent and furthered solidified his relationship with Richie Furay.

Last Time Around remains one of the better albums of the late sixties despite the group members being pulled in different directions during the recording process. It has stood the test of time well as a lasting testament to one of the masterful groups in American rock history.

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