Various Artists

Five Way Street: A Tribute to Buffalo Springfield

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Buffalo Springfield left behind a powerful and influential legacy for a band who only cut three albums during their two-year lifespan, and the variety of interpretations of their songs on this tribute album says a great deal about the lasting impact of their blend of folk-rock, psychedelia, country-rock, and blue-eyed soul. The 21 artists on Five Way Street: A Tribute to Buffalo Springfield contribute performances which, for the most part, are faithful in one way or another to the Springfield's original vision, though that's not to say they sound like the original recordings. The Riffbrokers' version of "Sit Down I Think I Love You" packs a lot more guitar raunch than the take on Buffalo Springfield, but it certainly follows the patterns of Neil Young and Stephen Stills' soloing in full flight, and the laid-back twang of Maplewood's "I Am a Child" adds a country influence that certainly made itself known elsewhere in the band's music, while in the hands of the Windbreakers "Expecting to Fly" is much more streamlined but still catches the ethereal vibe of the band's approach. Five Way Street seems designed to pay homage to Buffalo Springfield's creative breadth as well as the excellent songs Neil Young, Stephen Stills, and Richie Furay brought to the group, and it's the strength of those songs that makes this album truly shine. The array of pop-centric acts on board is impressive (including Western Electric, featuring Sid Griffin of the Long Ryders; Noctorum, with Marty Willson-Piper of the Church on guitar; and Byrds of a Feather starring Andrew Gold), but they all seem to know that they're working with first-rate material, and most any album that includes "For What It's Worth," "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing," "Rock and Roll Woman," "Go and Say Goodbye," and "Mr. Soul" is going to be worth a listen. Five Way Street gives you all that and throws in 16 more tunes played with soul and joy; it's a fine celebration of a great group who collapsed before their time.

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