Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo Springfield’

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Let’s takes a look at the best songs of Stephen Stills including a few chestnuts from all aspects of his career. Look at Stephen Stills’ solos albums his work with Manassas, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, and his earlier band Buffalo Springfield. This is by no means a definite list of Stephen Stills songs but rather just a sort of soundbite at some of the most essential songs Stephen Stills has released throughout his 50 plus year career. Neil Young gets far more attention for his contributions to Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young but two-time former bandmate Stephen Stills has created his own niche as a stirring singer, songwriter and instrumentalist. Unfortunately, a sporadic, up-and-down solo career hasn’t always helped his profile.

Our classic Stills songs list is a tough thing to do because Stephen Stills had so much success in the late 1960s and early 1970s with Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and his solo career. I suppose you could have filled a top 50 listing of Stephen Stills songs list from just that early five years period. However Stephen Stills has continued to write and record songs up to 2017 as of this writing. So we have spread this list out over the years the best we could while still limiting it to ten. Every song in this list was written by Stephen Stills.

For What It’s Worth

We open our Essential Stephen Stills songs list with a legendary song written by Stephen Stills when he was a member of Buffalo Springfield. The great Stephen Stills song “For What It’s Worth,” was released on Buffalo Springfield’s second pressing of their debut album entitled Buffalo Springfield. The album was released in 1966. The song “For What It’s Worth,” was originally released as a single and then added to the album on the second pressing.

“For What it’s Worth,” was a huge hit for Buffalo Springfield in 1966 as the song became a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Interestingly, every song on Buffalo Springfield’s debut album was either written by Stephen Stills or Neil Young.

Four Days Gone

Buffalo Springfield released three studio albums before the band broke up. In 1968, Stephen Stills left the group to form Crosby Stills and Nash, Richie Furay formed POCO with Jim Messina who would later join with Kenny Loggins as part of Loggins and Messina. Neil Young became essentially solo Neil Young. We would have loved to have chosen more Stephen Stills songs from Buffalo Springfield for our Stephen Stills songs list, but we had so much more to cover which limited our choices. Our second choice was released on Buffalo Springfield’s final album entitled Last Time Around. The great song “Four Days Gone,” also featured great lead guitar work by Neil Young.

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes

If you had to pick one Crosby Stills & Nash sons that you could ever listen to again, tell me it would not be “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” This incredible piece of music was written by Stephen Stills and released on the band’s debut album simply titled Crosby Stills & Nash. The album was released in 1969. the song “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” was released as the second single from the album after the release of “Marrakesh Express,” as the band’s debut single. Another deft amalgamation – as the title implies, this is a suite of four short songs written by Stills and seamlessly interwoven. Lyrically it refers to his relationship with folk singer-songwriter Judy Collins. Opening with glistening acoustic guitars, it builds to a searing, Latin-flavoured climax, ending on a repeated ‘doo-doo-doo-da-doo’ refrain of life-affirming joy.

Stephen Stills “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” was exceptionally long for a single,clocking in at over seven minutes. Nonetheless, the song was a top 40 hit peaking at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also became a staple on fm radio becoming one of the most played classic rock songs of all time.

Helplessly Hoping

Stephen Stills’ song “Helplessly Hoping,” was also released on the Crosby Stills & Nash debut album. The song was placed as the b side to the album’s debut single “Marrakesh Express,” which was written by Graham Nash. From an arranging point Stephen Stills dominated that album as he was responsible for almost all the guitar, bass and keyboard parts on the record. Dallas Taylor played drums and Crosby & Nash added some guitar parts here and there, but in the end, most of the instrumentation on the album was performed by Stephen Stills.

Carry On

Neil Young joined Crosby Stills & Nash in 1970 to form the quartet Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The four brilliant musicians would record their first album together entitled Déjà Vu.It must have been really tough choosing whose songs got recorded and released between these four brilliant musicians and songwriters. Stephen Stills got three of his songs recorded for the album including one he co-wrote with Neil Young. Here Stephen Stills brings elements of three different songs into one concise package. He draws on Questions from his old band Buffalo Springfield, plus there’s a jam session with drummer Dallas Taylor tagged on as a delightful free-form coda. And, of course, the yearning harmonies are to die for. The album’s opening track was written by Stephen Stills entitled “Carry On.” The song was released as the fourth single from the record.

Love The One You’re With

While Crosby Stills Nash & Young were enjoying tremendous success with their work together on record, the four talented musicians were also celebrating the releases of their solo albums. In 1970, Stephen Stills released his first solo album entitled Stephen Stills. The album’s leadoff track and first single “Love The One You’re With,” became Stephen Stills most successful solo single. The song reached all the way to number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. One could not turn on the radio in the early 1970’s without hearing Stephen Stills “Love The One You’re With.”

Stephen Stills’ biggest hit and focus instead on how this one song collects everything that can sum up his career. From its island-inflected percussive elements and utterly irresistible chorus to a vocal so full of unfettered longing and those chunky organ fills (played by Stills), “Love the One You’re With” is the sound of a performer at his tour-de-force peak.

Stephen Stills’ first solo album featured an incredible cast of musicians. Two of the greatest guitar God’s of all time performed on the album. Both Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton played on some of the albums songs. Ringo Starr, Booker T. Jones, Rita Coolidge, David Crosby and Graham Nash also performed on the record.

It Doesn’t Matter

The great Stephen Stills song “It Doesn’t Matter,” was released on the album Manassas which was also the name of the new band Stephen Stills band in 1972. The group recorded two albums from 1972 to 1973. While hardcore Stephen Stills and Crosby Stills Nash & Young fans are familiar with Manassas,the groups has not gotten the recognition it deserved on a more mass scale in classic rock history. The group consisted of Stephen Stills, Chris Hillman, Al Perkins, Paul Harris, Dallas Taylor, Calvin Samuels and Joe Lala. The lilting opening track to the Stills-led side project Manassas, “It Doesn’t Matter” was co-written by the Byrds‘ Chris Hillman. But it serves as a sturdy showcase for Stills‘ hoarsely emotive vocal and ringing guitar.

“It Doesn’t Matter,” was released as the album’s single. It registered on the Billboard top 100 but peaked at number 61. The song was written by Stephen Stills, Chris Hillman and Rick Roberts. “It Doesn’t Matter,” opened side three of the two record set.

Dark Star

In 1977, Crosby, Stills & Nash released their second album as a trio. It had been eight years since the band released their debut album in 1969. Of course there was Déjà Vu.with Neil Young in 1970, but the release of CSN in 1977 was surprisingly only the second album the trio had released together. Stephen Stills song “Dark Star,” opened side two of the record. It was never released as a single, but it was a firm fan favourite instantly.

Isn’t It So

Stephen Stills song “Isn’t It So,” is the first Stephen Stills song on this list that was not released in the 1960’s or 1970’s. That’s not to say that Stephen Stills did not continue to release great music from the 1980’s on. It just defines the incredible body of work that Stephen Stills was responsible for in the 1960’s and 1970s.

“Isn’t It So,” was released on the Stills “Alone” album. The record was released in 1991. While bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were releasing dark music that captivated the rock and roll scene, Stephen Stills was going it alone. Just Stephen Stills on a guitar with a handful of great songs sung in that legendary voice. Keeping it real, keeping it simple and keeping it great.

Judy

We close out our classic songs of Stephen Stills songs list with a great song from his album Everybody Knows. The album was released and billed as Stills & Collins. It was the first time that Stephen Stills and Judy Collins ever released an album together. The album was released in 2017. The song “Judy,” represented the second time Stephen Stills composed a song about Judy Collins, the first being Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.

Treetop Flyer

The darkly intricate “Treetop Flyer” is a rumination by a free spirit, presented in a suitably raw setting featuring only Stills and his imaginative guitar. The album-closing song from 1991’s Stills Alone includes a narrative twist: He’s not flying so close to the ground because he’s some kind of daredevil; he learned that trying to avoid anti-aircraft fire in Vietnam. And it arrives like a punch in the chesthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opBe5z0qwRE

Also check out Bluebird or Southern Cross, Black Coral , Rock N Roll Woman, Colorado, Black Queen, As I Come Of Age also from the first Manassas album. So begins the Task.

Thanks to classicrockhistory

By 1972, what we call classic rock was pretty much at its peak though nobody at the time knew it. Except maybe Stephen Stills. The band and the double-album he piloted and released that year both named Manassas now seem pivotal. Manassas brilliantly summed up the remarkable 1960s creative surge that revitalized rock’s roots and encouraged experimentation just when it was at its crest. Predominantly a vehicle for Stills‘ artistic vision, the band released two albums during its active tenure, 1972’s Manassas and 1973’s Down the Road. The band dissolved in October 1973.

The top-flight outfit Stills assembled in late 1971 and named for a bloody two-part Civil War battle (the album’s cover shot was taken on that battlefield) could nimbly navigate damn near every polyglot style rock was evolving– from blues “Jet Set” to bluegrass “Fallen Eagle”, country rock “Don’t Look At My Shadow” to Caribbean beats “Medley”, folk-rock “Johnny’s Garden” to metal “Right Now”. Jamming out complex, textured arrangements in the studio, they successfully translated them to stages in Europe and the US. But Stills always felt that Manassas struggled for recognition because his handlers wanted him back in the gold rush that Crosby Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young) had generated.

Whatever the reason, Manassas remains one of rock’s half-forgotten treasures. But it’s arguably the best album and band Stephen Stills ever helmed.

Stills was Born in Texas, raised in Florida, Costa Rica, and the Panama Canal Zone as his military family rotated through duty stations. He absorbed all sorts of music along the way, and learned to play them on guitar, keyboards, bass, banjo, and assorted percussion instruments. The rootless kid found his mooring in sound. He beat up his family’s furniture until his dad finally got him drums to go with his drumsticks. After a week of college, he quit to be a musician.

His scuffling path through the folk revival introduced him to dozens of players, like Richie Furay and Neil Young, who would become his creative network. It also put him into play at the onset of rock’s 1960s creative surge. He was in Los Angeles trying to peddle his songs when he turned down a slot with the corporately manufactured Monkees (he recommended Peter Tork instead), and jumped headlong into the exploratory waves with his tempestuous band Buffalo Springfield. The Springfield surfed onto the national Top 40 charts with Stills’s brooding track For What It’s Worth. In the studio, on tracks as radically distinct as Kind Woman, Rock and Roll Woman, and Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing, they probed the new ideas firing young musical imaginations from London to California. Live, the band crackled with guitar-hero firepower, when Stills and Young opened up in redoubtable jams.

His songs were innovative, superbly crafted, stylistically diverse; Bluebird is a stellar example of his fondness for complex structures. His lyrics could be elliptical or nakedly autobiographical; often infused with dark romance (Hung Upside Down, Questions) his confessional story-telling updated his beloved blues. Onstage, he hurled himself at the microphone, when he wasn’t prancing or dancing; he was so intense, his full-throated vocals seemed to come somehow from his entire body. Bandmate Richie Furay called him “the heart and soul of Buffalo Springfield.” Others, in a nod to his multi-instrumental chops, called him “Captain Many Hands.”

The unstable chemistry and battling egos that fired the Springfield’s creative ambitions inevitably blew it apart. But the band had barely disintegrated before Stills was off solidifying his guitar-hero credentials on Super Session, with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield. On Season of the Witch, Stills dialed up a distinctive voice on the wah-wah pedal Jimi Hendrix had turned him onto, floating sweet nothings and yearnings tinged with acerbity.

Thanks to his network, a series of accidents drew Crosby Stills and Nash together. Their 1969 debut met with critical hosannas and gold-record status, and marked the dawn of that record-industry supergroup, with high-powered handlers and big-ticket arena tours.

Graham Nash said, “Stephen had a vision, and David and I let him run with it.” Or maybe he just steamrolled over them. A year after Déjà Vu, what was now CSN&Y exploded, and its members released solo albums. Stephen Stills went gold, scored a hit (Love the One You’re With), and was the only album ever to feature both Eric Clapton (on Go Back Home) and Jimi Hendrix (on Old Times Good Times). But it and its followup drew ho-hum reviews; so did his tours. Critics and fans wondered if Stills was yet another self-indulgent rock star running out of gas.

Stills describes himself as “aggressive,” “obnoxious,” and the like, all meaning he’s a control freak—an auteur, if you like. In those days, he was usually packing an enviable pocketful of new tunes. He could out-sing almost anyone and play one-man band if he wanted. You can see how he’d be a hard guy to face off with about creative issues.

Yet he knew he needed feedback. He wanted to improvise with players whose ideas and chops stood up to his own. Then he could let jamming unleash creative interactions to enrich his ideas. That was how he worked during the Springfield’s best days.

A twist of fate gave him his shot. In 1971, he was coasting along on a lackluster but lucrative tour when he happened to cross paths with Chris Hillman. As Hillman recalls, “Stills was playing a concert in Cleveland with the Memphis Horns. I was sitting in the audience, going, ‘Jesus Christ. They’re making 25,000 bucks and they’re shitty. The Burritos are better than this.’ I went backstage, and that’s when we renewed the friendship.”

Their bond dated back to 1960s LA, when Hillman—among the most catalytic figures in rock history—got Buffalo Springfield the gig as the Whisky A Go Go’s house band. That launched them to stardom.

Besides, Stills knew that Hillman was far more than a catalyst. After a whiz-kid run as a bluegrass mandolinist, he played innovative bass, doubled on guitar, sang lead and harmony, and co-wrote songs with the Byrds. When Roger McGuinn unceremoniously dumped his friend Gram Parsons after Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Hillman left, and the Flying Burrito Brothers were born. Parsons and Hillman penned a few matchless songs that other composers would likely swap body parts for, like Sin City and Wheels.

But the Grievous Angel was riding hard on the road to ruin; sloppy business dealings, erratic performances, and over-the-top drug use and boozing got him fired from his own group before Burrito Deluxe was released in early 1970. Hillman tried steering the band, but its personnel kept changing; the near-chaos made the Burritos musically unpredictable and financially disastrous.

So when Hillman and Stills accidentally crossed paths in Cleveland, they both glimpsed opportunity. Stills’ bounteous talents and fierce competitive drive almost ensured he would overshadow nearly any setting he was in, but he was discouraged by his solo ventures. He needed a creative ally he respected, someone who’d push back but not combust or split.

Hillman, who may be rock history’s best-ever second banana, firstly dealing with McGuinn and Parsons were hard-to-beat baptisms of fire was secure enough in his own creativity to deliver. He would co-write two songs for Manassas (Both of Us, It Doesn’t Matter), help Stills wrangle others into shape, and supply his subtle, pure-toned harmonies throughout.

As Stills explained, “I basically wanted a partner, somebody who had a sense of songs. Chris invented the phrase ‘lyric police,’ and was a tremendous help. But I was still on that real powerful, energetic ‘Let’s go, I know what I’m doing’ kinda thing. Chris realized it was my band, and that was OK for him.”

A few weeks later, Stills called Hillman and invited him down to Miami’s famed Criteria Studios, where engineer-producer Tom Dowd had shepherded Derek and the Dominos‘ monumental jam-fuelled Layla sessions the year before. As it happens, the producers for what would become Manassas worked on it too.

The stage was set to replace the sterile studio feel Stills hated with the onstage improvising looseness he loved. He had his co-pilot. So who else would joust with Captain Many Hands? .From the shambling Burritos came two key other talents for the band, Violinist Byron Berline was a bluegrass vet who’d clocked time with stars like Bill Monroe and Dillard and Clark. Fallen Eagle, a breakneck bluegrass protest song against ranchers killing our endangered national symbol, puts his dazzling, keening fiddle and Hillman’s virtuoso mandolin in the forefront.

Al Perkins had learned to play Hawaiian steel guitar at nine, mastered the dobro and pedal steel, performed with country and western bands, then shifted gears to tour his native west Texas as a rock guitar slinger. He supports or duels with Stills on all his axes. On Jesus Gave Love Away For Free, his aching steel solos swell and sigh; on Don’t Look at My Shadow, they glide with glee. On “Jet Set,” he plugs into effects to go grungy and deliver slashing, whiplash blues in Duane Allman fashion to counter Stills’ gurgling wah-wah. He plays both steel and guitar on Song of Love.

Perkins, Stills, and Hillman take their guitar army acoustic for Johnny’s Garden, where their loosely braided, ever-shifting lines gently nudge Stills‘ yearning vocal. The rest of the cast came from Stills‘ solo albums and tours.

Bassist Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels brought the Caribbean feels Stills craved, as the burbling line on “Song of Love” demonstrates. But he could nail the bottom hard on blues-rockers like “Jet Set.”

Keyboardist Paul Harris, a session vet, could play almost any style; with Hillman’s adept rhythm guitar, his keys became the session’s sonic glue.

Latin percussionist Joe Lala co-founded Blues Image (Ride Captain Ride) and sang with gritty, soulful conviction. He vocally challenges Stills on Cuban Bluegrass, and delivers the pulsating Latin rhythms Stills adored throughout.

Drummer Dallas Taylor was Stills’ running buddy—and a wild card. He played on CSN(and sometimes Y)’s first two albums and tours; they fired him because his substance abuse rivaled the Grievous Angel’s. But this bad boy had exactly what Stills wanted on drums: he could float, dance, or slam it home.

The musicians quickly gelled in the studio, and within several weeks had recorded enough material at Criteria to fill a double-LP album release. The band was capable of a wide musical range, with a repertoire including blues, folk, country, Latin, and rock songs. Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, a friend of both Hillman and Stills who visited Criteria during the sessions, was an early fan of the band, at one point expressing an interest in joining. (Wyman would contribute to the sessions by helping Stills re-write his to-date unrecorded song from 1968, “Bumblebee,” as the blues/funk tune “The Love Gangster,” with Wyman also playing bass on the track.) The band christened itself Manassas after Stills, who had a strong interest in American Civil War history, orchestrated a photo shoot for them in Manassas, Virginia, the site of the First and Second Battles of Bull Run.

What was slated to be Stills’ third solo album had morphed completely. The band’s chemistry clicked almost instantly, and its boundless energy and chops meshed with Stills‘ vision and discipline. A few weeks of jamming out arrangements fused the wildly diverse material and sounds into a sum greater than its parts. They came out of it as a fierce, tuned machine. (See for yourself on this high-quality German TV recording, where Stills wails on wah-wah for “Jet Set” and “Treasure of the Oneness.”)

No wonder Bill Wyman, who co-wrote Love Gangster with Stills and played bass for the track, said he’d leave the Stones to join Manassas. Hillman understood why: “We were always more of a band than people thought. Stills wouldn’t have been the same without us, that’s for sure. Manassas was the best band Stills ever played in.”

The album ends with a final stark jolt. Blues Man finds Stills alone with an acoustic guitar, like the host of a wild party sitting amid the wreckage after it’s over. He channels everything he ever absorbed from his revered blues masters into his gritty, anguished vocal and nimble fingerpicking to sketch a raw, painfully dark elegy for three of his friends. Jimi Hendrix, Al Wilson (Canned Heat), and Duane Allman had all recently died.

They weren’t the only ones: Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison were among the others. Many were wondering if rock’s creative surge had run its course. Did Stills? Who knows? But an era was indeed ending. And nothing Stills has done since approaches the epic scale and artistic heights of Manassas.

After the European leg of Manassas’ 1972 tour, Chris Hillman took several weeks away from the band to record a reunion album with his pre-Burritos band the Byrds, an effort that also included Stills’ ex-CSNY bandmate David Crosby, Manassas then regrouped and quickly completed their second album, Down the Road. Initial sessions for the album were again convened at Criteria Studios, but the band moved the sessions in midstream to Caribou Ranch in Colorado and the Record Plant in Los Angeles after Criteria staff engineers Ron and Howard Albert expressed concern that the sessions were not producing quality results. Down the Road was completed in January 1973. After completing Down the Road, Manassas became dormant for several months. During the break, Stephen Stills married Véronique Sanson, whom he had met in Paris during Manassas’ 1972 European tour.

Stills was greeted by several sources of turmoil upon returning  to regroup Manassas, as, in addition to Hillman’s future commitment to work with Furay and Souther, Dallas Taylor had become severely addicted to heroin, and Calvin Samuels had left the band for personal reasons. Stills dealt with these issues by securing the services of Jefferson Airplane drummer John Barbata (who had previously replaced Taylor in CSNY during their 1970 tour and Kenny Buttrey during Young’s 1973 tour) as a backup for Taylor, and bassist Kenny Passarelli of Joe Walsh’s band Barnstorm to replace Samuels. Samuels would return to the band for the last leg of its 1973 tour. Following the tour’s completion in October, Manassas’s dissolution was complete.

One of Manassas’ last shows, at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom in early October 1973, was made notable by the band’s being joined onstage by first David Crosby and Graham Nash, and, later in the show, by Neil Young. When later asked about this occurrence, Chris Hillman would comment “I could smell a CSNY reunion.” CSNY would, in fact, regroup for a world tour in early 1974. Following this tour, Stephen Stills would start a new band in 1975 with Kenny Passarelli and Joe Lala, but this was short-lived; Passarelli would soon depart to join the Elton John Band, and Lala would subsequently leave as well. Chris Hillman’s Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, which would also include Manassas members Al Perkins and Paul Harris (and eventually Joe Lala, who would later join Chicago), released its first album in early 1974.

That initial double album, along with Eric Clapton’s Layla stand as the most important and best albums we’ve ever been a part of.” Of the band’s prowess on stage, Stephen Stills has said “Manassas was such a terrific band. It really had some structure and reminded me of [Stills‘ previous band] the Buffalo Springfield at its best. Manassas could play anything.

  • Stephen Stills, vocals, keyboards & guitar (CSNY, ex-Buffalo Springfield)
  • Chris Hillman, vocals, mandolin & guitar (ex-Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers)
  • Al Perkins, steel guitar & guitar (ex-Gram Parsons and Flying Burrito Brothers)
  • Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels, bass, backing vocals (ex-CSNY and John Sebastian)
  • Paul Harris, keyboards (performed sessions and toured with John Sebastian during 1968-71, and sessions for B.B. King during 1969-70)
  • Dallas Taylor, drums (ex-Clear Light, CSNY and John Sebastian)
  • Joe Lala, percussion, backing vocals (ex-Blues Image and Pacific Gas & Electric)

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Richie Furay’s, Rock history career is a smorgasbord of tales of the lost and forgotten, of things that went awry and never quite were. But Richie Furay’s long and winding story jumps out.

Furay, now 72, stood at the epicenter of musical and cultural change from the 1960s into the 1970s. Onstage, he literally stood at the center of the Buffalo Springfield, the short-lived quintet that foreshadowed and implemented so many of the rapid, diverse musical changes then unfolding. Offstage, Furay played the talented buffer between the explosive egos of Neil Young and Stephen Stills. They were bigger, flashier artists who would keep driving the music’s evolution in then-undreamt-of directions—and in the process overshadow Furay’s own pioneering artistry.

What happened to Furay with Poco. The Springfield’s ashes were still warm in 1968 when he founded that band, with fellow Springfield refugee guitarist-producer Jim Messina. The quintet forged a model for the country-rock hybrid that would dominate airwaves and sales for decades, scored a few moderate hits and critical raves, and wowed crowds with their showmanship. But Gram Parsons, the Grievous Angel, aiming in his own ways at that target with the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, soon loomed larger: for starters, Furay wasn’t getting blasted with Keith Richards, and the Stones weren’t covering his songs. Messina left Poco to team up with Kenny Loggins, and others followed, including Furay in 1973.

In that era of “supergroups,” Furay joined forces with old pal Chris Hillman (Byrds, Burritos) and singer-songwriter J.D. Souther in the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band for two uneven albums. The first went gold; the second tanked. To many, Furay, like the tired concept of supergroups, was starting to seem like a historical footnote.

That’s when pedal steel genius Al Perkins (Burritos, Manassas) started talking with him about Christianity. Worn out by record-biz bullshit, frustrated and disappointed by his career, his marriage on the rocks, Furay left L.A. for Colorado and became a believer. In 1976, he cut an early Christian rock album, ‘I’ve Got A Reason’; hardly anybody cared. In 1983, he quit music to become the culturally conservative pastor of Calvary Chapel, halfway between Denver and Boulder. Until 2007, he rarely performed. Then he formed a band, released a fine live two-CD set, toured briefly, and lapsed back into silence. Two years ago, he put out another solid album, and has been touring pretty steadily ever since.

Richie Furay wasn’t some sort of Zelig, luckily standing in the right places as the right times. His talents made him crucial to how events unfolded. He has a great, underrated voice and a high-energy, exuberant presence (two talents as important to a preacher as to a musician); has written a couple dozen classic tunes that clearly evince his complex musical craft and deft, surprising word play; and plays one helluva rhythm guitar. He deserves to be more than a footnote in the bands history he helped shape.

Our story begins in early 1960s New York City, where two young singers, Furay from Ohio and Stills from Texas, met in the folk-revival scene. Soon they worked together in a short-lived hootenanny group called Au Go Go Singers. On their album, against a pallid period-piece backdrop, Furay sings a Tom Paxton tune, “Where I’m Bound”

After the Au Go Go Singers fell apart on the road, Stills lit out for L.A., and discovered a fascinating scene in flux. Almost immediately, he was pushing Furay to follow him; the Monkees’ producer told Stills he’d find work once he assembled a band, so he went at that goal hard. Next came the fabled accidental meet-up with Neil Young and Bruce Palmer. Unable to locate Stills and Furay in L.A., the duo was heading to San Francisco in the 1953 Pontiac hearse they’d driven down from Canada, but got stuck in a traffic jam on Sunset Boulevard. Somebody spotted somebody else—who did what when in this oft-told origin story depends, as in Rashomon, almost entirely on who’s talking—and the foursome managed to get together. It was the birth of the Herd, soon to become the Buffalo Springfield—a name they all agree was copped from a sign on a steam roller.

Following their incredible sold-out six-week run at the Whisky A Go Go and record company offers and counteroffers, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, looking for a handhold in this bustling L.A. scene, flew in from New York and signed the band for $12,000.

Initially, Furay was the Springfield’s front man. Young wrote the eccentric “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing” their first single, but Furay, who’d learned it from Young months earlier back in New York, sang it. He also did the vocals for Young’s “Do I Have to Come Right Out and Say It?” and “Flying On The Ground Is Wrong”
Young likes to say the producers didn’t like his odd voice and he was paranoid about singing, and no doubt that’s true. After all, these particular producers’ chief claim to fame was discovering Caesar and Cleo, later known as Sonny and Cher; the Springfield unanimously hated the way their first album sounded, and afterwards basically produced themselves. But Furay delivered Young’s lyrics with characteristic nuance and conviction. “Clancy,” the band’s debut single in July 1966, became a regional hit and set them up for stardom.

Their stint in the Au Go Go Singers allowed Stills and Furay to work together more naturally. They easily shared and traded off vocals on early Stills tunes like “Sit Down I Think I Love You” and “Go and Say Goodbye” . That kept up through later Buffalo Springfield classics, like the raw, powerful “Hung Upside Down” from Buffalo Springfield Again.

In a telling musical and psychological touch, their contrasting vocals here personify two sides of the narrator’s mental anguish. A Child’s Claim To Fame Furay put his own pen to work too, on tasty tunes like “Sad Memory Can’t Keep Me Down, Words I Must Say My Kind of Love” and “Nobody’s Fool”.

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But what every Buffalo Springfield fan surely remembers are the brilliant, wistful country-rock “A Child’s Claim to Fame” and the immortal country-soul ballad “Kind Woman” If he’d only written and sung these two songs, Furay would probably have earned his 1997 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In mid-1968, Young left the band for the last time. Furay and Messina, who’d barely just joined the group when it disintegrated for good, pretty much pieced together the last Springfield album, compiled the excellent Retrospective and then launched Poco.

Now, of course, the whole idea of country-rock seems stupifyingly obvious, what with everyone from the Eagles to Waylon Jennings and 40 years’ worth of descendants working the vein everywhere from New York to Nashville to L.A.. So you have to go back to grasp how strange it seemed, in the context of the multiplying cultural rifts across America.

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Poco, reflecting Furay’s personality, set out to establish country-rock as a neutral zone for story-telling and musical experimentation. Furay outlined these themes in “Pickin’ Up The Pieces” the classic title track from their 1969 debut which, despite its seminal brilliance, wasn’t reissued on CD until 1995. The task brought out the best in Furay’s songwriting and confirmed his talents as one of rock’s most compelling front men; he wrote and sang almost all the songs on the band’s first two albums. Poco turned out to be ridiculously agile stylistically, a true child of the Springfield; it could rove easily from shit kicking twang to lovely ballads to heavy grunge. Messina dropped in tasty guitar licks from the books of James Burton, Albert King, and Steve Cropper. George Grantham’s drums could rock out and country-shuffle with the best, and his harmonies gave Poco’s vocals the Everly Brothers sound their material craved. Randy Meisner (who defected to the Eagles, to be replaced by Timothy B. Schmit, who’d do the same) contributed in-the-pocket, hard-driving bass and harmonies. Last but far from least was musical maniac Rusty Young on dobro, banjo, and pedal steel, which he often fed through add-ons like his organ pedal to yield spectacular sonic effects; as for showmanship, well, he set his axe on fire during their sole 1971 Carnegie Hall show. Yee-hah! with Furay’s carefully crafted songs unleashed Poco’s musical range to maximum advantage. The best Poco tunes bristle with interwoven parts: deceptively sly and sophisticated lyrics with textured vocal arrangements, endless hooks and catchy riffs, all layered so richly even a casual listen is likely to drop your jaw.

“What A Day” recycled and re-energized from its Buffalo Springfield days, kicks off their debut album with deliberate optimism and joy—and insistent rhythmic shape-shifting to get blood and feet moving. “Nobody’s Fool” a gorgeous bit of white boy soul; First Love and Tomorrow typically touching Furay ballads; and Short Changed a raunchy rocker—all showcase the band’s ability to genre-shift with the best.

But for unexpected twists are “Make Me Smile” and “Consequently So Long”. Then came the Souther-Hillman-Furay band with a Furay-penned hit, Fallin’ in Love the flight to Colorado and Christianity and bouts of silence until “Alive” in 2007. That double-album serves up a surprisingly good retrospective of many of Furay’s best songs, including Child’s Claim to Fame

In 2009, Furay’s past and his old-time fans started catching up with him when he rejoined Poco for scattered dates. In 2010, thirty years of on-then-off Springfield rumoured reunions were capped when Furay, Young, and Stills (minus the deceased Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin) actually came together at Young’s annual benefit for the Bridge School, which serves children with severe physical and communication issues. The following year, they managed a few shows in Oakland, L.A., and Santa Barbara. Furay apparently had high hopes for an ongoing run. But Young—seriously, what’d you expect?!—bailed. After that, Furay performed only sporadically again.

Last year’s album, “Hand in Hand” seems to have reinvigorated the rock and roller in him. Maybe he worked through some demons via this song about the Springfield and/or Poco. Or maybe doing this Neil Young medley with a few choice comments is cathartic. Maybe it’s that he’d hit the big 70. Whatever the reasons, he reissued ‘Alive’ in a deluxe edition and is on the road again. Good news: his touring band has serious chops, and his voice—unlike Stills’ sadly husk, can still deliver on greatest hits like “Good Feelin’ To Know”.

Over a year ago on November 16th, 2018 the Poco “DeLIVErin’” album was recreated, recorded and filmed at the legendary Troubadour in West Hollywood. There is a forthcoming audio & concert film release of this show in early 2020 including 10 additional songs, totaling 23 in all.

There are so many ironies turning in Furay’s career that following them can make you feel like a skydiver caught in a whirlwind. But I can’t resist closing with this one: a YouTube video of the Buffalo Springfield at Monterey Pop. The credits list Neil Young, who wasn’t there, and David Crosby, who filled in for Young, and the Monkees’ Peter Tork, who introduced the band. But you won’t see the name Richie Furay, although you can’t miss him even in these blurry shots, standing center stage just like he did in Buffalo Springfield shows.

Out today, a dynamic cover of Buffalo Springfield’s iconic song, “Go and Say Goodbye,” originally on the group’s debut album and on the flip side of the “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing” single in 1966. This new edgy country-rock cover is from the Ohio group, Red Wanting Blue. The song features the group’s labelmate, Poco co-founder, Rusty Young, who guests on the song in addition to various Blue Élan artists including Car Astor, Amy Wilcox, Phil Solem of The Rembrandts, and Gina Sicilia among others.

Rusty Young, along with former Buffalo Springfield member Richie Furay singing lead, covered this tune in 1972 on Poco’s fifth album, A Good Feelin’ to Know. It was Poco’s version that Red Wanting Blue connected with.

Lead singer, Scott Terry said, “Getting the chance to collaborate with Poco’s Rusty Young was a really special moment for us as a band. It’s a beautiful thing to get to share in an experience with an artist that you’ve looked up to and been inspired by. Our drummer Dean grew up listening to Poco with his Dad and so he brought their album A Good Feelin’ To Know on the road with us. Once he pressed play, we all received a fast education in Poco. Everybody was hooked! I have a lot of memories from those tours that are tied to that album. Poco had become a large part of our band’s tour soundtrack. ‘Go and Say Goodbye’ got played on repeat I don’t know how many times. Then we found ourselves getting the chance to be in a North Hollywood studio with Rusty Young re-recording that song with him. It was a little mind-blowing. We are so grateful that we all were able to share that experience with Rusty. I love the new version of the song and I hope we made him proud.”

Rusty Young , “It was so much fun to play with the guys in Red Wanting Blue on a Buffalo Springfield song that’s a classic. I’m sure was recorded before most of them were born. I love those guys! Great songs live on!”

Band Members
Scott Terry – vocals, tenor guitar, ukulele
Mark McCullough – bass, chapman stick, vocals
Greg Rahm – guitar, keyboards, vocals
Eric Hall – guitar, lap steel, vocals
Dean Anshutz – drums & percussion

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Echo In The Canyon celebrates the explosion of popular music that came out of LA’s Laurel Canyon in the mid-60s as folk went electric and The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield and The Mamas and the Papas gave birth to the California Sound.  It was a moment (1965 to 1967) when bands came to LA to emulate The Beatles and Laurel Canyon emerged as a hotbed of creativity and collaboration for a new generation of musicians who would soon put an indelible stamp on the history of American popular music. Featuring Jakob Dylan, the film explores the beginnings of the Laurel Canyon music scene.  Dylan uncovers never-before-heard personal details behind the bands and their songs and how that music continues to inspire today.  Echo in the Canyon contains candid conversations and performances with Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Michelle Phillips, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Roger McGuinn and Jackson Browne as well as contemporary musicians they influenced such as Tom Petty (in his very last film interview), Beck, Fiona Apple, Cat Power, Regina Spektor and Norah Jones.

Release Date: May 24, 2019 Director: Andrew Slater

Echo in the Canyon 
by director Andrew Slater

I did not set out to make a film about the Laurel Canyon music scene. In fact, I didn’t set out to make a “film” at all. I was looking to record some music.

Growing up in New York in the 1960s, AM radio transported me to places I wanted to be. Of course The Beatles defined mod London, and Bob Dylan defined New York. But the songs by The Byrds, The Beach Boys, The Mamas & The Papas and Buffalo Springfield painted an idyllic picture of life in bohemian Los Angeles. As a young adult I was drawn to move to Los Angeles by these groups and the lifestyles they expressed in song.

Throughout my career in the music business, this earlier music of my adopted hometown was an obvious part of the bedrock of my generation’s cultural place in the universe. But I was also aware of how it remained part of the foundation of the musical palette for generations of musicians that followed.

Whether through nostalgia or some other force I cannot quite account for, as we neared the 50th anniversary of the advent of this revolutionary period in rock and roll, I was struck with the need to explore the music of this era through the eyes, ears and souls of musicians who were born into a culture where this music was always a part of the world as they knew it.

I enlisted the help of Jakob Dylan, along with a few artists of his generation, to join me, and we journeyed to places where the music was made and to the people who made it. Jakob had known many of these people his whole life, and they began telling him the stories behind the songs. And the stories we heard echoed all the things I thought I knew but never was able to articulate in a way that clearly captured what was happening at this fantastic creative moment in time.

We recorded the music that is now the Echo in the Canyon album, and luckily I must have always known this project would be more than just a record, as I began filming our experiences early on, whenever and wherever it was possible. It was not long before it became clear through our conversations with the original artists that this needed to be more than album. The stories and insights, told by my heroes, “primary sources” from this magical period of time, were too compelling to be buried in “research.” That is how this movie, which has now taken on a life of its own, came to be made.

What was happening here in the mid-‘60s, before the onset of psychedelia and the era of the singer-songwriter was obvious to me—but no one had ever told the story of this legendary place from the standpoint of how deeply and richly the artists impacted and collaborated with one another, and how the waves of influence traveled across the ocean to England and back, with The Beatles claiming The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” as a precursor to much of the musical landscape of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Personally, I embarked on the Echo in the Canyon project because these songs defined what I couldn’t say about the places that I had yearned to see. And these bands changed the way I thought about music—electrifying folk and trading ideas amongst each other that not only inspired The Beatles but inspired generations of artists to this day. And I wanted to film and record it to be experienced in a state-of-the-art movie theater, to try to recapture the magic I felt so many years ago. Thank you Landmark for helping me bring this dream to life.

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Some amazing reissues this week and an awful lot. We have Guns ‘n’ Roses, Wire, Aphex Twin, Guru and that LOST Coltrane album, I would happily have any of them as my record of the week.

The reissues of the first three Wire albums on vinyl are upon us, and not before time. Wire emerged from the ghetto that is St. Albans in October 1976, inspired by the punk explosion. Harvest Records, a label which had up to that point had a roster comprised almost completely of acts punks would have spat on decided it needed to get in on the act and signed them, not realising they were not, despite an exquisite talent for melody and inventiveness, going to furnish them with hits, and so they parted company in 1979. As it happens, “Pink Flag”, “Chairs Missing” and “154”, spanning playful art punk, new wave and post punk in a seamless line between 1977 and 1979 are about as good as any of those genres get. The three are all indispensable artifacts of the era.

Let’s Eat Grandma follow up the much vaunted “I, Gemini” with the equally beguiling “I’m All Ears”, while the Gorillaz enthusiastic genre bending mission continues unabashed with the excellent “The Now Now”.

Record Of The Week goes to Numero Groups stunning compilation of the first 4 albums by Happy Rhodes. Pure dream pop, I instantly fell in love with this. Its like a more stripped back Kate Bush, which brings in some lovely synth as it progresses.
Its the kind of album that I wish I had received a promo for as I have massively under ordered! You can stream on Numero’s bandcamp page,

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Let’s Eat Grandma return with their newest edition, ‘I’m All Ears’ which an even greater revelation than Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth’s globally acclaimed debut, I, Gemini. The second act from the British teenage vocalists, multi-instrumentalists and songwriters, is the most startling, infectious, innovative and thrilling record you’ll hear this year. It is alive with furious pop, unapologetic grandeur, intimate ballads; with loops, Logic, outrageous 80s drum solos, as well as production from David Wrench (The XX/Frank Ocean/Caribou), Sophie (famed for her own material and work with Madonna, Charli XCX and Vince Staples) and Faris Badwan (The Horrors). Their sound has developed a stronger electronic tone while remaining their upbeat young vocals throughout. It’s an album that cements Let’s Eat Grandma as one of the most creative and exciting bands in the world right now.

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Florence + the Machine  – High As Hope

Florence + the Machine announces new album, ‘High As Hope’. For perhaps the first time, ‘High As Hope’ is a record that is as intimate as it is epic, with the more restrained sound relatively speaking; Florence knows herself well enough now to declare “I’m never going to be minimal” -mirroring this sense that happiness doesn’t always have to be big and dramatic:There’s a lot of love in this record, loneliness too, but a lot of love.”

An album that mixes high and low–from a tribute to Patti Smith one minute to being ghosted over text by a date the next –‘High As Hope’ is made up, says Florence, “of joy and fury”…

“Towering performer twirls back with power and poetry” – Evening Standard,
“A euphoric return by a singular talent” – Telegraph,
“an appealingly visceral force” – Guardian.

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Happy Rhodes – Ectotrophia

The first authoritative compilation of American dream pop artist Happy Rhodes, whose singular songwriting and four-octave vocal range emanated from the pastoral confines of upstate New York in the 1980s. Her melding of classical music influences with synthesizer and acoustic guitar, and her enchanting and idiosyncratic singing, are favorably compared to heralded English chanteuse Kate Bush. Fans of such artistic pop music would be remiss to overlook Rhodes’s similarly remarkable and otherworldly sonic transmissions, traversing tales of dreamers, outsiders, lovers and other lovely and terrifying creatures born of a wellspring of wild creativity and bold imagination. Affectionately remastered from the original tapes, Ectotrophia gathers essential songs from Rhodes’s mid-’80s salad days, many written when she was just a teenager – wildly ahead of her time and unafraid to bare her soul to regional audiences, the ectophiles who’d eventually coin an entire subgenre of pop music in her honor. Dive deep into ecto, with the woman who started it all.

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Dawes – Passwords

On the group’s sixth album, Passwords, inspiration pulls guitarist / singer Taylor Goldsmith, drummer Griffin Goldsmith, bassist Wylie Gelber, and keyboardist Lee Pardini into their most universal, topical territory to date. This is a record about the modern world: the relationships that fill it, the politics that divide it, the small victories and big losses that give it shape. Taylor’s writing is personal at points – the result of his recent engagement, which lends a sense of gravity and self-reflection to album highlights like Time Flies Either Way and I Can’t Love – but it also zooms out, focusing not on the director himself, but on everything within the lens.

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The Alarm  –  Equals

Equalsis The Alarm’s first album since 2010’s Direct Action. It is a barnstorming collection of 11 songs that act as a retrenchment of old values and a poignant reflection of the tough times Mike Peters and his wife Jules have been through in recent years. Produced by George Williams (who previously worked on 2005’s Under Attack), Equals opens with a torrent of epic rock numbers such as Two Riversand Beautiful, which see Peters singing about coming to terms with the past before moving to enjoy life to the full. With Mike and Jules joined by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros drummer Smiley and guitarist James Stevenson, who cut his teeth with Chelsea, Gen X and The Cult, the album encompasses twin harmony guitars, pounding drums and electronic layering, while guest guitarist Billy Duffy (The Cult) helps Peters and Stevenson blend acoustic and electric sounds on Coming Backwards.

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Ryan Adams –  Baby I love You

A ONE TIME pressing on PINK COLOURED vinyl with backed on the B-Side by “Was I Wrong”.
No, it isn’t a cover of the Ronettes classic of the same name, but it’s “A song to one’s baby, whom they love – a unique twist on Ryan Adams’ classic recipe, with key ingredient ‘sad’ replaced by ‘happy,’” according to the press release.

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Graham Nash – Over the Years

Two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Graham Nash burst on to the scene during the British Invasion with The Hollies before he formed the legendary supergroup Crosby, Stills and Nash in 1968 with David Crosby and Stephen Stills. As Nash prepares to launch a European tour in July, he looks back at some of his best-known recordings from the past 50 years in a new anthology featuring more than a dozen unreleased demos and mixes. Over The Years… features 30 tracks has been painstakingly curated by Nash and longtime associate Joel Bernstein and includes extensive credits and liner notes. The anthology highlights songs from the iconic CSN debut album (Marrakesh Express) and its successor album Déjà Vu, for which Neil Young joined forces with CSN (Our House and Teach Your Children) as well as songs from subsequent CSN albums (Just A Song Before I GoandWasted On The Way). In addition, the collection highlights songs that Nash recorded for his 1971 solo debut, Songs For Beginners, including Military Madness and Simple Man, and includes unreleased mixes for two other songs from that album: Better Daysand I Used To Be King. The most recent recording on the compilation is Myself At Last from Nash’s 2016 solo album This Path Tonight. Two tracks from his enduring albums with David Crosby (Immigration Man and Wind On The Water) are also included in the collection.

2CD – The CD version includes 15 demo recordings, 12 of which have never been released. Standouts include the 1968 London demo of Marrakesh Express, rejected by the Hollies and setting the stage for Nash’s relocation to Los Angeles and the next chapter of his life. The set contains early versions of CSN classics like Our House, Wasted On The Way, Pre-Road Downs, andTeach Your Children. Other unreleased gems include: I Miss You and You’ll Never Be The Same — both from Nash’s 1974 solo album Wild Tales — and Horses Through A Rainstorm, originally intended for Déjà Vu.

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Buffalo Springfield  – What’s That Sound? Complete Albums Collection

Before playing its final show on May 5th, 1968, Buffalo Springfield released three studio albums on ATCO during an intense, two-year creative burst. Those albums – Buffalo Springfield, Buffalo Springfield Again, and Last Time Around – have been newly remastered from the original analog tapes under the auspices of Neil Young for the new boxed set: What’s That Sound? The Complete Albums Collection. Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin played their first show together as Buffalo Springfield in 1966. The same year, the band recorded and released its self-titled debut, which included the iconic protest song, For What It’s Worth, featuring lyrics as poignant now as they were then, in addition to standouts like Burned, Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It, and the band’s first single, Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing. The group spent the first half of 1967 making Buffalo Springfield Again, which was the first album to feature songs written by Furay (A Child’s Claim To Fame.) Stills and Young both contributed some all-time classics with Bluebird and Rock And Roll Woman from Stills, and Mr. Soul and Expecting To Fly from Young. When Last Time Around came out in July 1968, the band members were in the midst of transitioning to new projects: Stills famously joined David Crosby and Graham Nash in CSN; Young went solo; and Furay started Poco with Jim Messina, who produced Last Time Around and played bass on two of the songs. Highlights abound on the album with Young’s I Am A Child, Furay’s Kind Woman and Stills’ Uno Mundo.

5CD – Five CD Box Set, Clamshell with Five Wallets. The 5-CD set includes Buffalo Springfield and Buffalo Springfield Again in mono and stereo, as well as the stereo version of Last Time Around.

5LP – Five LP Box Set. The 5-LP set includes Buffalo Springfield and Buffalo Springfield Again in mono and stereo, as well as the stereo version of Last Time Around.

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Wire  –  Chairs Missing

Wire’s first three albums need no introduction. They are the three classic albums on which Wire’s reputation is based. Moreover, they are the recordings that minted the post-punk form. This was adopted by other bands, but Wire were there first. These are the definitive re-releases. Each album is presented as an 80-page hardback book – the size of a 7-inch, but obviously much thicker. After a special introduction by Jon Savage, Graham Duff provides insight into each track. These texts include recording details, brand-new interviews with band members, and lyrics.

This stunning set of presentations also includes a range of images from the archive of Annette Green. Wire’s official photographer during this period, Green also shot the covers for Pink Flag and Chairs Missing. Promotional and informal imagery – in colour and black and white – is featured throughout the books. Most of the photographs have not been seen for 40 years – and many have never been published anywhere before.

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With “Pink Flag” Wire tapped happily into punk’s energy and iconoclastic tendencies, “Chairs Missing” is, perhaps, a little truer to their own instincts. They didnt completely shed the past completely; the joyful “Sand In My Joints” and grinding “Mercy” have more than a hint of “Pink Flag” about them, but their 1978 offering is moodier and much more textured than its predecessor, the addition of swathes of electronic sounds moving them firmly into post punk territory, a genre they helped to spawn. There is pure pop beauty on here too, of which “Outdoor Miner”  and “French Film Blurred” being the most gorgeous examples.

Pink Flag was very much Wire’s punk rock album, and while they fully embraced it’s revolutionary spirit, they came at it from their own obtuse angle. unhindered by talent (any kind of prior musical schooling) they gleefully took a baseball bat to Rock’s overblown torso with humour and irreverence, producing classic, unsurpassed razor pop brilliance and a joyful antidote to the pomposity of their forerunners.

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“154”, released in 1979, is perhaps the most overlooked of the first trio of classic Wire L.P.s, before a ten year haitus interrupted only by esoteric solo releases. It develops further on the electronic and experimental direction of “Chairs Missing”, and while guitars are not entirely done away with, keyboards and often unsettling vocal harmonies are the dominant mode of expression here. That’s not to say they abandoned their talent for an exquisite harmony, it is very much still there; just bent a bit. That said it is given undiluted free rein during “Map Ref…”, and elevates the sublime “The 15th” into the realm of the gods.

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Golden Smog – Down By The Old Mainstream

Golden Smog, the alternative-country super group from Minneapolis, released this debut album on Rykodisc in 1995 and this is the first time it will be repressed on vinyl since the original release in 2010. The loosely connected, interchangeable group has comprised members from the Jayhawks, Wilco, Soul Asylum, Run Westy Run and Big Star. This new deluxe ROG package will come in a gatefold, old school tip-on Stoughton jacket with printed inner sleeves.

‘Down by the old mainstream’, was recorded in 1994 in only five days. it was made up mostly of original songs written specifically for the project. the songs on the album revealed a fun, spirited sensibility …allowing the band members to let loose from their day jobs. Golden Smog first appeared in 1992 with the release of their ep, On Golden Smog. a side project for members of whose true identities of the band members were veiled by the use of pseudonyms david spear, michael macklyn, raymond virginia, scott summitt, jarret decatur-lane and leonardson saratoga. each name was a deliberate clue that included an actual middle name and part of the address of each band member.

All This Weeks important Releases….

John Coltrane – Both Directions At Once – The Lost Album – Impulse
Guru – Jazzmatazz – UMC (3LP Box set)
Happy Rhodes – Ectorophia – Numero Group
Arp – Zebra – Mexican Summer
Guns ‘N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction – UMC (2LP)
Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92 – Apollo
Wire – Pink Flag – Pink Flag
Wire – Chairs Missing – Pink Flag
Wire – 154 – Pink Flag
Florence & The Machine – High Hopes – Virgin (Indie Exclusive)
Lena Platonos – Lepidoptera – Dark Entries
The Orb – No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds – Cooking Vinyl (Indie Exclusive)
Eddie Harris – Plug Me In – Get On Down
Various Artists – Disques Debs International – Strut
Ryan Adams – Baby I Love You 7″ – Paxam (Indie Exclusive)

Buffalo Springfield Album Art

Before playing their final show on May 5th, 1968, Buffalo Springfield released three studio albums on ATCO during an intense, two-year creative burst. Those albums – Buffalo Springfield, Buffalo Springfield Again, and Last Time Around have all been newly remastered from the original analog tapes under the auspices of Neil Young for the new boxed set: WHAT’S THAT SOUND? THE COMPLETE ALBUMS COLLECTION.

The set includes stereo mixes of all three albums, plus mono mixes for Buffalo Springfield and Buffalo Springfield Againand all  will be available on June 29th from Rhino Records as a five-CD set. High resolution streaming and downloads will be available through www.neilyoungarchives.com.

On the same date, the albums will also be released for the first time ever on 180-gram vinyl as part of a limited-edition set of 5,000 copies . The 5-LP box features the same mono and stereo mixes as the CD set, presented in sleeves and gatefolds that faithfully re-create the original releases.

Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin played their first show together as Buffalo Springfield in 1966. The same year, the band recorded and released its self-titled debut, which included the iconic protest song, “For What It’s Worth,” featuring lyrics as poignant now as they were then, in addition to standouts like “Burned,” “Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It,” and the band’s first single, “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing.”

The group spent the first half of 1967 making Buffalo Springfield Again, which was the first album to feature songs written by Furay (“A Child’s Claim To Fame.”) Stills and Young both contributed some all-time classics with “Bluebird” and “Rock And Roll Woman” from Stills, and “Mr. Soul” and “Expecting To Fly” from Young.

When Last Time Around came out in July 1968, the band members were in the midst of transitioning to new projects: Stills famously joined David Crosby and Graham Nash in CSN; Young went solo; and Furay started Poco with Jim Messina, who produced Last Time Around and played bass on two of the songs. Highlights abound on the album with Young’s “I Am A Child,” Furay’s “Kind Woman” and Stills’ “Uno Mundo.”

By 1972, what we call classic rock was pretty much peaking . Stephen Stills along with the band and double-album he piloted and released that year both named “Manassas” brilliantly summed up the remarkable 1960s creative surge that revitalized rock’s roots and encouraged experimentation just when it was at its crest. Manassas marked a critical comeback for Stills, calling it a “sprawling masterpiece” with Rolling Stone magazine saying it was “reassuring to know that Stills has some good music still inside him  .Who knows? But an era was indeed ending. And nothing Stills has done since approaches the epic scale and artistic heights of Manassas.  The four suites of music correspond to the four sides of the album’s original LP release , The Raven , The Wilderness, Consider, and Rock and Roll is Here To Stay. The songs are thematically grouped: part one (side one on the original vinyl release) is titled “The Raven” and is a composite of rock and Latin sounds that the group would often perform in full live. “The Wilderness” mainly centers on country and bluegrass with Chris Hillman and Al Perkins  talents coming to the forefront , with the track “So Begins the Task” later covered by Stephens Stills old flame Judy Collins . Part three, “Consider” is largely folk and folk-rock. “Johnny’s Garden,” reportedly for the caretaker at Stills English manor house and not for Lennon as is often thought, is a particular highlight. Two other notables from the “Consider” section are “It Doesn’t Matter” (later redone with different lyrics by the song’s uncredited co-writer Rick Roberts on the first “Firefall album and “Move Around “ which features some of the first synthesizer used in a rock context. The closing section, titled “Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay,” is a rock and blues set with one of the landmarks of Manassas short life, the epic “The Treasure.” A sort of Zen-like meditation on love and “oneness,” enlivened by the band’s most inspired recorded playing it evolves into a bluesy groove washed in Stills fierce electric slide playing.

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A lot had changed since that surge began. Rock went from being a marginal sideshow for major record labels to a billion-dollar industry. Freewheeling entrepreneurs with “big ears” yielded to corporate types focused on market share and growing profits. “Supergroups” manufactured by producers and agents who headlined arena shows became the standard of success. The top-flight outfit Stephen Stills assembled in late 1971 and named for a bloody two-part Civil War battle (the album’s cover shot was taken on that battlefield) could nimbly navigate damn near every style rock was evolving– from blues “Jet Set” to bluegrass “Fallen Eagle” , country rock “Don’t Look At My Shadow” to Caribbean beats “Medley”, folk-rock “Johnny’s Garden” . Jamming out complex, textured arrangements in the studio, they successfully translated them to stages in Europe and the US. But Stills always felt that Manassas struggled for recognition because his handlers wanted him back in the huge selling rush that Crosby Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young) had generated.

Whatever the reason, Manassas remains one of rock’s half-forgotten treasures. But it’s possibily the best album and band Stephen Stills ever helmed.

Born in Texas, Stephen Stills was raised in Florida, Costa Rica, and the Panama Canal Zone as his military family rotated through duty stations. He absorbed all sorts of music along the way, and learned to play them on guitar, keyboards, bass, banjo, and assorted percussion instruments. The rootless kid found his mooring in sound. He beat up his family’s furniture until his dad finally got him drums to go with his drumsticks. After a week of college, he quit to be a musician.

His scuffling path through the folk revival introduced him to dozens of players, like Richie Furay and Neil Young, who’d become his creative network. It also put him into play at the onset of rock’s 1960s creative surge. He was in Los Angeles trying to peddle his songs when he turned down a slot with the corporately manufactured Monkees (he recommended Peter Tork instead), and jumped headlong into the exploratory waves with his tempestuous Buffalo Springfield.

The Buffalo Springfield surged into the national Top 40 charts with Stills’s brooding track “For What It’s Worth” . In the studio, on tracks as radically distinct as Kind Woman, Rock and Roll Woman, and Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing , they probed the new ideas firing young musical imaginations from London to California. Live, the band crackled with guitar-hero firepower, when Stills and Young opened up in redoubtable jams.

His songs were innovative, superbly crafted, stylistically diverse “Bluebird” is a stellar example of his fondness for complex structures. His lyrics could be elliptical or nakedly autobiographical; often infused with dark romance his confessional story-telling updated his beloved blues. Onstage, he hurled himself at the microphone, when he wasn’t prancing or dancing; he was so intense, his full-throated vocals seemed to come somehow from his entire body.

Bandmate Richie Furay called him “the heart and soul of Buffalo Springfield.”

The unstable chemistry and battling egos that fired the Springfield’s creative ambitions inevitably blew it apart. But the band had barely disintegrated before Stills was off solidifying his guitar-hero credentials on Super Session, with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield. On “Season Of The Witch”, Stills dialed up a distinctive voice on the wah-wah pedal Jimi Hendrix turned him onto, floating sweet nothings and yearnings tinged with acerbity.

Thanks to his network, a series of incidents drew Crosby Stills and Nash together.  Their 1969 debut release met with critical hosannas and gold-record status, and marked the dawn of that industry the supergroup, with high-powered handlers and big-ticket arena tours. Ironically, today it can sound like an almost-solo Stills album, so completely did his songwriting and talents he played nearly all the instruments dominate it.

Graham Nash said, “Stephen had a vision, and David and I let him run with it.” Or maybe he just steamrolled over them. A year after the second album “Deja Vu” , what was now CSN&Y exploded, and all its members then released their solo albums. Stephen Stills went gold, He also scored a big hit “Love The One You’re With”and was the only album ever to feature both Eric Clapton guesting on “Go Back Home” and Jimi Hendrix on Old Times Good Times.

Stills even describes himself as “aggressive,” “obnoxious,” and the like, all meaning he’s a control freak—an auteur, if you like. In those days, he was usually packing an enviable pocketful of new tunes. He could out-sing almost anyone and play one-man band if he wanted. You can see how he’d be a hard guy to face off with about creative issues.

Yet he knew he needed feedback. He wanted to improvise with players whose ideas and chops stood up to his own. Then he could let jamming unleash creative interactions to enrich his ideas. That was how he worked during the Buffalo Springfield’s best days.

A twist of fate gave him his shot. In 1971, he was coasting along on a lackluster but lucrative tour when he happened to cross paths with Chris Hillman. As Hillman recalls, “Stills was playing a concert in Cleveland with the Memphis Horns. I was sitting in the audience, going, ‘Jesus Christ. They’re making 25,000 bucks and they’re shitty. The Burritos are way better than this.’ I went backstage, and that’s when we renewed the friendship.”

Their bond dated back to 1960s LA, when Hillman—among the most catalytic figures in rock history—got Buffalo Springfield the gig as the Whisky A Go Go’s house band. That launched them on the road to stardom.

Besides, Stills knew that Hillman was far more than a catalyst. After a whiz-kid run as a bluegrass mandolinist, he played innovative bass, doubled on guitar, sang lead and harmony, and co-wrote songs with the Byrds. When Roger McGuinn unceremoniously dumped his friend Gram Parsons after “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” , Hillman left, and the Flying Burrito Brothers were born. Parsons and Hillman penned a few matchless songs that other composers would likely swap body parts for, like “Wheels” and “Sin City” .

But the Grievous Angel was riding hard on the road to ruin; sloppy business dealings, erratic performances, and over-the-top drug use and boozing got him fired from his own group before the album “Burrito Deluxe” was released in early 1970. Hillman tried steering the band, but its personnel kept changing; the near-chaos made the Flying Burritos musically unpredictable and financially disastrous.

So when Hillman and Stills again crossed paths in Cleveland, they both glimpsed opportunity. Stills’ bounteous talents and fierce competitive drive almost ensured he would overshadow nearly any setting he was in, but he was discouraged by his solo ventures. He needed a creative ally he respected, someone who’d push back but not combust or split. Chris Hillman, who may be rock history’s best-ever second in charge dealing with McGuinn and Parsons was secure enough in his own creativity to deliver. He would co-write two songs for the Manassas “Both Of Us” and “It Doesn’t Matter” , help Stills wrangle others into shape, and supply his subtle, pure-toned harmonies throughout.

As Stills explained, “I basically wanted a partner, somebody who had a sense of songs. Chris invented the phrase ‘lyric police,’ and was a tremendous help. But I was still on that real powerful, energetic ‘Let’s go, I know what I’m doing’ kinda thing. Chris realized it was my band, and that was OK for him.”

A few weeks later, Stills called Hillman and invited him down to Miami’s famed Criteria Studios, where engineer-producer Tom Dowd had produced the Derek and the Dominos’ monumental jam-fuelled “Layla” sessions the year before. As it happens, the producers for what would become Manassas worked on it too.

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From the shambling Burritos also came two key talents. Violinist Byron Berline was a bluegrass vet who’d clocked time with stars like Bill Monroe and Dillard and Clark. The Track “Fallen Eagle” , a breakneck bluegrass protest song against ranchers killing Americas endangered national symbol, puts his dazzling, keening fiddle and Hillman’s virtuoso mandolin in the forefront.

Al Perkins learned to play Hawaiian steel guitar at nine, mastered the dobro and pedal steel, performed with country and western bands, then shifted gears to tour his native west Texas as a rock guitar slinger. He supports or duels with Stills on all his axes. On “Jesus Gave Love Away For Free”, his aching steel solos swell and sigh; on “Don’t Look At My Shadow” , they glide with glee. On “Jet Set” he plugs into effects to go grungy and deliver slashing, whiplash blues in Duane Allman fashion to counter Stills’ gurgling wah-wah. He plays both steel and guitar on “Song Of Love”.

Perkins, Stills, and Hillman take their three guitar army acoustic for “Johnnys Garden”, where their loosely braided, ever-shifting lines gently nudge Stills‘ yearning vocal. The rest of the band came from Stills‘ solo albums and tours. Bassist Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels brought the Caribbean feels Stills craved, as the burbling line on “Song of Love” demonstrates. But he could nail the bottom hard on blues-rockers like “Jet Set”.

Keyboardist Paul Harris,was a session vet, he could play almost any style; with Hillman’s adept rhythm guitar, his keys became the session’s sonic glue. Latin percussionist Joe Lala co-founded Blues Image “Ride Captain Ride” and sang with gritty, soulful conviction. He vocally challenges Stills on the song “Cuban Bluegrass” , and delivers the pulsating Latin rhythms Stills adored .

Drummer Dallas Taylor was Stills’ running buddy—and a wild card. He played on CSN first two albums and tours; they fired him because his substance abuse rivaled the Grievous Angel’s. But this bad boy had exactly what Stills wanted on drums.

What was slated to be Stills‘ third solo album had morphed completely. The band’s chemistry clicked almost instantly, and its boundless energy and chops meshed with Stills‘ vision and discipline. A few weeks of jamming out arrangements fused the wildly diverse material and sounds into a sum greater than its parts. They came out of it as a fierce, tuned machine. No wonder Bill Wyman, who co-wrote “Love Gangster” with Stills and played bass for the track, said he’d leave the Stones to join Manassas. Hillman understood why: “We were always more of a band than people thought. Stills wouldn’t have been the same without us, that’s for sure. Manassas was the best band Stills ever played in. Image result for stephen Stills ManassasThe album ends with a final stark jolt.  “Blues Man” finds Stills alone with an acoustic guitar, He channels everything he ever absorbed from his revered blues masters into his gritty, anguished vocal and nimble fingerpicking to sketch a raw, painfully dark elegy for three of his friends. Jimi Hendrix, Al Wilson (Canned Heat), and Duane Allman had all recently died. They weren’t the only ones: Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison were among the others. Many were wondering if rock’s creative surge had run its course.

Who knows? But an era was indeed ending. And nothing Stills has done since approaches the epic scale and artistic heights of Manassas.

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I see and hear that in this clip Doug Hastings from the band Daily Flash replaced Neil Young at Monterey Festival . If Monterey had been two months earlier, it may have been different. Doug is playing the harmonics and the lead guitar on this tune, the Daily Flash who were popular and well known locally (west coast; San Francisco up thru Vancouver BC) and often billed as an opening or middle act in the hey day of the San Francisco concert / ball room years.

Stills and Crosby were already friends from back to the Whiskey gigs, they had really been close during those past weeks or so just before Monterey. In fact I think the Rock and Roll Woman sessions were going on just before and after the Monterey weekend and Crosby was in there for those too since he came up with the riff idea. With Neil Young gone and Doug a not-so-sure-bet as a replacement, and everything pretty ragged with the band anyway, hey, why not have Crosby jam in. He was up in Monterey for the weekend too so why not.The other guys are playing rhythm and singing.
LIne-up: David Crosby guest who sat in the whole set, Richie Furay,Stephen Stills,Bruce Palmer,Dewey Martin,Doug Hastings on lead.

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Neil Young: “Don’t Be Denied”.…BBC documentary charting Neil’s career from his first experiences in Canada through his trip south and his time with Buffalo Springfield, CSNY and Crazy Horse. Whilst he is claiming it is just about the music, the film shows Neil as a man of great integrity both musically and politically. Fascinating stuff.

Neil Young grants rare and unprecedented access to the BBC for a documentary in which he traces his musical journey in his own words.

The film was made from three hours of interview shot in New York and California, and uses previously unseen performance footage from the star’s own extensive archives. It also features cohorts Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Nils Lofgren and James Taylor.

From his early transcontinental American quest for recognition, through the first flush of success with Buffalo Springfield, to the bi-polar opposites of mega-stardom with Crosby, Stills and Nash and the soulful rock of Crazy Horse, Young’s career has enjoyed many guises.

Perhaps his most famous period was as a 1970s solo artist making albums that became benchmarks. “After The Goldrush”, recorded in his Topanga Canyon home, and “Harvest”, part-recorded on his northern Californian ranch, saw Young explore the confessional side of song-writing. But never one to rest on his laurels, he would continually change direction.

In the mid-seventies, two of Young’s closest friends died as a result of heroin abuse. What followed was music’s answer to cinema verite, with Tonight’s The Night a spine-chilling wake for his dead friends.

As New Wave arrived, Young was keen to explore new ideas. A collaboration with Devo on what became his art-house epic, Human Highway, saw the genesis of Rust Never Sleeps, a requiem for the seventies. In the eighties, Young explored different genres, from electronica to country, and in recent times he has returned to Crazy Horse and Crosby, Stills and Nash, but only when it has suited him. The film ends with Young still refusing to be denied, on tour in the USA with CSNY, playing anti-Bush songs to a Republican audience in the South.

Don’t Be Denied – “a documentary film about the life and times of Neil Young” – makes a sometimes brilliant attempt at telling Neil’s story in the aforementioned hour and is full of fascinating moments and boasts some great archive footage of Buffalo Springfield, Crazy Horse and solo performances. The film was made from three hours of interview shot in New York and California, and uses previously unseen performance footage from the star’s own extensive archives. It also features cohorts Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Nils Lofgren and James Taylor. There’s also terrific interview content with the legendary contrarian, filmed over nine months in New York and California, Neil living up entirely to his reputation as someone you would be ill-advised to mess with, on any level you might care to consider. The film ends with Young still refusing to be denied, on tour in the USA with CSNY.