Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo Springfield’

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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,


Let’s Eat Grandma  –  “

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.


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.


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.


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

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.

Fifty years ago this Saturday, Stephen Stills, then a member of Buffalo Springfield, was on his way into Hollywood to hear some live music on the Sunset Strip. But in one of those defining rock & roll moments, what he encountered was a rally: hundreds, if not thousands, of kids protesting about a new curfew and the imminent closing of one club, Pandora’s Box, by way of a fake “funeral” for it.

“The commercial merchants on Sunset Boulevard in a certain area decided that the element of young people on the street every night was not conducive to commercial enterprise,” Stills said in a 1971 interview. “A bunch of kids got together on a street corner and said we aren’t moving. About three busloads of Los Angeles police showed up, who looked very much like storm troopers. … And I looked at it and said, ‘Jesus, America is in great danger.'”

Within weeks of this event, Stills had written – and Buffalo Springfield had recorded a song inspired by that night, “For What It’s Worth.” With its emphasis on Stills‘ spooked voice, drummer Dewey Martin’s ominous snare drum and Neil Young’s warning-bell two-note guitar part in the verse, the track became the band’s only hit, peaking at Number Seven in the spring of 1967. Yet equally striking was its sound: The eerily quiet song captured the uneasy mood of the moment that extended beyond Los Angeles to Vietnam, and lyrics about “a man with a gun over there” and “young people speaking their minds/Getting so much resistance from behind” were the sound of the rock counterculture cementing its socially conscious voice.

“For What It’s Worth” has transcended its origin story to become one of pop’s most-covered protest songs – a sort of “We Shall Overcome” of its time, its references to police, guns and paranoia remaining continually relevant. The Staple Singers were among the first to cover it, in 1967, but since then, it’s been recorded by a mind-bendingly diverse number of acts: Ozzy Osbourne turned it into a grim stomper, Lucinda Williams into a ghostly ballad, Kid Rock into a classic-rock homage, Rush into a swirling soundscape, Led Zeppelin (in live bootlegs) into languid blues. (Robert Plant also cut a version with his pre-Zep band, Band of Joy.) Public Enemy even sampled it on 1996’s “He Got Game.”

According to BMI, the song’s publishing house, “For What It’s Worth” been played 8 million times on TV and radio since its release. In 2014, it came in at number three on Rolling Stone’s readers poll of the best protest songs. “The way it’s written, it’s so open to interpretation,” says Heart’s Ann Wilson, who released a cover last year on her first EP with side project the Ann Wilson Thing. “It’s so open that it’s brand new today. The main hook, ‘Everybody look what’s going down’ – you can apply that, to say, the current election. The song is going, ‘What the hell is this?’ You can apply the song to any situation in any decade.”

By 1966, the situation in Los Angeles was tense. An increasing number of club goers was descending on the Strip, irritating area residents and upscale boutiques, and the LAPD instigated a 10 p.m. curfew for anyone under 18. On the night of November 12th, a local radio station announced there would be a protest at Pandora’s Box. According to reports, a fight broke out for reasons having nothing to do with the curfew; a car carrying a group of Marines was bumped by another vehicle. Egged on by that fight, the protesters (some of whom carried placards that read “We’re Your Children! Don’t Destroy Us”) trashed a city bus and threw bottles and rocks at storefronts.
Approximately 1000 young music fans gathered at the Pandora’s Box club on Sunset Strip to protest a 10pm curfew imposed by local residents during the The “hippie riots” in L.A. on November 12th, 1966.
“It was really four different things intertwined, including the war and the absurdity of what was happening on the Strip,” Stills later told The Los Angeles Times. “But I knew I had to skedaddle and headed back to Topanga Canyon, where I wrote my song in about 15 minutes.” The folk-blues feel of the song harked back to Stills‘ days in the Greenwich Village folk scene.
As anyone who’s heard it knows, the phrase “for what it’s worth” appears nowhere in the song. According to one legend, Stills played it for one of the group’s managers, prefacing it with, “Let me play you a song, for what it’s worth.” Buffalo Springfield singer-guitarist Richie Furay recalls he, Stills, and Young playing new material for Atlantic’s Ahmet Ertegun, a major supporter of the Springfield. “Ahmet had come to Los Angeles and we were at Stephen’s house,” Furay recalls. “At the end of the day, Stephen said, ‘I have another one, for what it’s worth.'”
On December 5th, only a few weeks after the Strip mayhem, the Springfield went into an L.A. studio to lay down the song in a one-day session. Young credited engineer Stan Ross with the song’s spare, almost sinister arrangement. “Stan came in and said, ‘You gotta do this one thing to the drum, the snare,'” Young said in Jimmy McDonough’s bio “Shakey”. “Took a broom, a guitar pick and mixed that in so it’s got that sound – of a guitar pick going through a broom, on the straw. That was it.” Added Stills later, “Neil came up with the wonderful harmonics part with the vibrato. The combination of the two guitar parts, with my scared little voice, made the record.”
Furay admits he didn’t hear anything special in the song at first: “I was more into the electric work, like ‘Bluebird’ and ‘Rock & Roll Woman,’ that phase of where we were,” he says. “I didn’t hear it, but Stephen felt the pulse of it and there you go.”
Everyone else knew the song was special, and the single was rush-released with an amended title, “(Stop, Hey What’s That Sound) For What It’s Worth,” at Ertegun’s suggestion. The song was also added into new pressings of the band’s first album, replacing another Stills original, “Baby Don’t Scold Me.”

If there is a wandering minstrel for a generation, some would think it would be Stephen Stills. He was a founding member of Buffalo Springfield,Crosby, Stills & Nash, Manassas and has had a great solo career to date.

Stephen Stills is one of the few rock artists who can claim to have grabbed the elusive brass ring of critical and commercial success not just once or even twice, but three times.

The first time was as a group member of Buffalo Springfield and writer of their 1967 hit “For What It’s Worth,” taken from their acclaimed first record. After Buffalo Springfield folded, he formed one-third of supergroup Crosby Stills and Nash, whose definitive performance at Woodstock in 1969 helped rocket their debut album release into multiplatinum orbit. And finally, just to make it perfectly clear he wasn’t simply riding the coat tails of others, in 1970 Stills released his first solo effort, which went to No. 3 on the album charts and spawned a Top 20 single, “Love the One You’re With.”

All milestones for sure, but these three classics have tended to obscure the rest of Stephen Stills’ work. And that’s unfortunate, because in Stills’ canon is an often overlooked gem in many ways the equal of his other projects: an album called Manassas, made by a band of the same name.

This seven-piece aggregation was assembled by combining players from Stephen Stills’ road band with others from the last incarnation of the Flying Burrito Brothers, which included ex-Byrds’ bassist Chris Hillman. So, though Stills was the acknowledged leader, officially Manassas has always correctly been referred to as a band — one with a “benevolent dictator” perhaps, but a band nonetheless.

The musicians’ wide range of experience enabled them to move between various forms of American popular music, integrating rock, pop, country, blues, Latin rhythms and other bits as well. This was very much in evidence on the group’s 1972 self-titled release, an album with so much good material that it came out as a two-record set. Even the names of the songs gave clues as to the variety found in the grooves: “Cuban Bluegrass,” “Colorado,” “The Love Gangster,” “Blues Man.”

One could hear the influences weaving in and out of the mix, courtesy of: Al Perkins’ pedal steel; Joe Lala’s percussion work; the tight-but-loose rhythm section of bassist Calvin Samuels and drummer Dallas Taylor; the stellar presence of keyboard ace Paul Harris; and the tenor harmony voice and rhythm guitar of Chris Hillman.

And let’s not forget Stephen Stills himself, writing and singing the songs, and playing his distinct lead guitar style, tying it all together. Even the first side is cut together as a seamless medley like production, with the other sides thematically arranged for maximum effect. Overall, think the Eagles meets Santana meets Johnny Winter, with bits of the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies in places.

Still, you have to wonder why this went under so many people’s radar, especially with the gap left by the break up of CSN  (and Young) in 1970. There could be a number of reasons.

First, there might have been some confusion as to what this actually was: a third Stephen Stills album or something else? After all, even the cover sports Stills’ name large above the Manassas logo.

Second, it was released in April of 1972, and shortly thereafter the band went off to tour Europe. Some of the television appearances they made while over there show that when they got warmed up, they were as good as or better than most of their contemporaries. After returning to the U.S., Manassas had to make time to accommodate Chris Hillman’s commitment to prep for a Byrds’ reunion tour starting in October, which might have slowed their momentum. Finally, although Manassas did make the Top 10 in the album charts that year, it contained no successful single. But the Crosby and Nash duo effort released around the same time contained a Top 40 single, “Immigration Man.” Perhaps more significantly, Neil Young’s 1972 best-selling chart topper Harvest featured the singles “Heart of Gold,” which went to No. 1 in the charts, and “Old Man,” which reached the Top 40.

Eventually, various outside factors, including Hillman starting the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band and Stills and  reuniting Crosby Stills Nash and Young for a major world tour in 1974, would cause Manassas to officially call it quits in late 1973.

At least they left behind one great album to document their short existence, and maybe one day Manassas will take its place alongside Stephen Stills’ other, more famous contributions to rock ‘n’ roll.


Stephen has reached  71 on his last birthday. Stephen Stills is able to claim that he played at the 3 most important music festival of the 60’s. Monterey International Pop in 1967, Woodstock in August of 1969 and Altamont in December. of 1969.

On his first solo album “Stephen Stills”, he had both Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton play for him. And he’s ‘Still’ playing.

Is there anyone piece of his work that is your very favorite?