Buffalo Springfield – Buffalo Springfield Again (1967)

Buffalo Springfield Again is the second album by Buffalo Springfield, released on Atco Records in November 1967. It peaked at #44 on the Billboard 200. In 2003, the album was ranked number 188 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Unlike the band’s debut album, which had been recorded fairly quickly during the summer of 1966, recording for this album took place over a protracted nine-month span during 1967. Several factors may have contributed to this, including that bassist Bruce Palmer had been deported in January and had re-entered the United States illegally to continue working with the band, and guitarist Neil Young had quit and rejoined the group on several occasions, notably absent for the band’s appearance at the famed Monterey Pop Festival where David Crosby substituted in his place at the request of guitarist Stephen Stills.

The album features the first recordings of songs written by guitarist Richie Furay, who had not contributed any material to the band’s debut album. Also unlike the previous record, which had been recorded in its entirety by the band proper, session musicians appeared on various tracks as indicated on the album’s inner sleeve. Palmer’s deportation issues necessitated the contributions of outside bass players. During one of the times that Young had left the band, he had booked a studio to record “Expecting to Fly,” with the outside musicians under the impression it was for a Neil Young solo project rather than for Buffalo Springfield. Phil Spector Wrecking Crew associate Jack Nitzsche provided the musical arrangements for “Expecting to Fly”; it does not feature any members of the Springfield. Nitzsche would continue to work with Young through the early 1970s on both his solo debut album and his best-selling Harvest, also becoming a member of Young’s backing bands Crazy Horse and The Stray Gators.

Track Listing:

“Mr. Soul” (Neil Young) – 2:48
Recorded January 9 & April 4, 1967. Lead vocal: Neil Young. Backing vocal and guitar: Richie Furay, Steve Stills.

“A Child’s Claim to Fame” (Richie Furay) – 2:09
Recorded June 21, 1967, Columbia Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Richie Furay. Dobro: James Burton.

“Everydays” (Stephen Stills) – 2:38
Recorded March 15, Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Stephen Stills. Bass: Jim Fielder. (Bruce Palmer absent).

“Expecting to Fly” (Young) – 3:39
Recorded May 6, 1967, Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Neil Young. Arrangement: Jack Nitzsche. (Rest of group absent).

“Bluebird” (Stills) – 4:28
Recorded April 4, 1967, Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Stephen Stills. Bass: Bobby West. Banjo: Charlie Chin. (Bruce Palmer absent).

“Hung Upside Down” (Stills) – 3:24
Recorded June 30 & September 1–5, 1967, Columbia Recording Studios & Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocals: Richie Furay (verses); Stephen Stills (choruses).

“Sad Memory” (Furay) – 3:00
Recorded September 5, 1967, Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Richie Furay. Electric lead guitar: Neil Young. Acoustic guitar: Richie Furay. (Stills, Palmer, and drummer Dewey Martin absent).

“Good Time Boy” (Furay) – 2:11
Recorded August 1967, Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Dewey Martin. Reports differ on whether drummer Martin actually played drums on this track, or whether it was played entirely by session musicians, including the Memphis Horns.

“Rock & Roll Woman” (Stills) – 2:44
Recorded June 22, August 8, October 3, 1967, Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Stephen Stills. Background vocal: David Crosby (disputed; he is, however, an uncredited co-writer of the melody). Guitar: Doug Hastings.

“Broken Arrow” (Young) – 6:11
Recorded August 25 & September 5–18, 1967, Columbia Recording Studios & Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California. Lead vocal: Neil Young. Piano, organ: Don Randi. Guitar: Chris Sarns.

AllMusic Review: Due in part to personnel problems which saw Bruce Palmer and Neil Young in and out of the group, Buffalo Springfield’s second album did not have as unified an approach as their debut. Yet it doesn’t suffer for that in the least — indeed, the group continued to make major strides in both their songwriting and arranging, and this record stands as their greatest triumph. Stephen Stills’ “Bluebird” and “Rock & Roll Woman” were masterful folk-rockers that should have been big hits (although they did manage to become small ones); his lesser-known contributions “Hung Upside Down” and the jazz-flavored “Everydays” were also first-rate. Young contributed the Rolling Stones-derived “Mr. Soul,” as well as the brilliant “Expecting to Fly” and “Broken Arrow,” both of which employed lush psychedelic textures and brooding, surrealistic lyrics that stretched rock conventions to their breaking point. Richie Furay (who had not written any of the songs on the debut) takes tentative songwriting steps with three compositions, although only “A Child’s Claim to Fame,” with its memorable dobro hooks by James Burton, meets the standards of the material by Stills and Young; the cut also anticipates the country-rock direction of Furay’s post-Springfield band, Poco. Although a slightly uneven record that did not feature the entire band on several cuts, the high points were so high and plentiful that its classic status cannot be denied. — Richie Unterberger

Schill Score: 7/10

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