Buffalo Springfield Box Set

Compiled and produced by Neil Young, the long awaited Buffalo Springfield Box Set lives up to all expectations. Even without the inclusion of any live material from this definitive American folk-rock band, the four-CD collection is a completist's dream, featuring 36 previously unreleased tracks, including early unavailable demos, alternate takes and new mixes of old material. The first three CDs walk through the band's history chronologically, interspersing unreleased and album tracks, while the fourth CD repeats the material from the band's first two albums, Buffalo Springfield and Buffalo Springfield Again, remastered in their original running order. The accompanying book contains detailed liner notes, history, press clippings, photos, detailed live concert history and song-by-song recording details. Although all five of the original band members had plenty of previous experience before hooking up in Los Angeles in 1966, Buffalo Springfield provided the inspired jumping off point for all of their future careers. The band contrasted the distinctive songwriting of Steven Stills's folk pop with Neil Young's emotive and original roots-oriented material. Standout vocalist Richie Furay also began contributing songs on the band's second and third albums, while the Canadian-born rhythm section of Dewey Martin and Bruce Palmer rounded out the original line-up. Even with their wealth of subsequent recordings, Furay with Poco, Stills with CSN and Young's unmatched solo career, what they created in Buffalo Springfield stands with their best. Although the group's lifespan was short and tumultuous, the member's significant influence on one another is fairly obvious. The unreleased songs uncovered here foreshadow future problems, which resulted from too many cooks, and exceptional cooks at that. Young and Stills were such prolific songwriters that many of these newly available tracks stand up to the familiar material. Great songs, like Stills's pop nugget "Come On" and his folk harmonising with Furay on tracks like "Neighbor Don't You Worry," "We'll See" and "So You've Got A Lover" are superior. With early producers and Young himself still uncomfortable with his voice, Young's best newfound material includes the Furay-sung "Whatever Happened To Saturday Night?," the vocal-less "Falcon Lake" and the classic "Down To The Wire," as sung by Stills. We also get early views on Young material like "Down Down Down," which eventually became part of "Broken Arrow," and "The Rent Is Always Due," whose main melodic phrase reappears on the now well-known "I Am A Child." Although musical and business disagreements, deportations, drug busts and lack of national success ultimately pulled this band apart, their innovation cannot be denied, as their legacy as songwriters forged a road now well traveled, bringing together folk, rock, country, blues, pop and psychedelia. (Rhino)