Buffalo Springfield

Buffalo Springfield [Box Set]

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AllMusic Review by

The plainly named Box Set -- that's the actual title -- contains four CDs by a band that made only three albums in their brief lifetime. It goes without saying that this has a lot of great music, and is an essential purchase for fans of this phenomenal 1960s folk-rock-psychedelic band, containing no less than 36 previously unreleased demos, outtakes, and previously unissued mixes. It's the unreleased stuff that holds the most interest, especially since even on their outtakes, Buffalo Springfield were often superb. Songs like "Neighbor Don't You Worry," "Down Down Down" (which contains seeds of both "Broken Arrow" and the Neil Young solo standout "Country Girl"), "We'll See," and "My Kind of Love" are actually up to the standard of many of the songs that made it onto the official albums. Although acoustic demos of various Young, Stills, and Furay songs are not as strong, they are always at the least pleasant, and often show intriguing, unsuspected sentimental pop and folk leanings. Alternate versions of great songs, such as "Hung Upside Down" and a piano-only "Four Days Gone," are substantially different from the fully arranged familiar versions, yet worthwhile performances in their own right. At the same time, this box -- which, other than the last disc, sequences the material in the chronological order it was recorded -- is not all it could have been. First of all, for some reason, this does not have everything the band ever released. Not only are a few songs from Last Time Around missing (including one of Richie Furay's best moments, "In the Hour of Not Quite Rain"), but the nine-minute version of "Bluebird" (available on the two-LP Buffalo Springfield compilation) and the Neil Young-sung take of "Down to the Wire" (which came out on his Decade collection) are also absent. First-rate songs from Last Time Around, including "On the Way Home," "Pretty Girl Why," and "Four Days Gone," are represented by different demos and remixes, though it would have been easily possible to include the official final versions too. Worst of all, disc four is comprised solely of all the material from the group's brilliant first two albums -- which would not be cause for criticism, except that identical versions of every one of them (except for "Mr. Soul" and "Baby Don't Scold Me") also appear at some point in the course of the preceding three discs. This bizarre repetition is doubly galling both because that space could have been used for remaining Last Time Around absentees, and because other quality unreleased material, both studio and live, is known to exist, and is far more hungrily desired by fans eager to purchase a box set in the first place. Fortunately you can still (almost) complete the Springfield discography by buying Last Time Around itself. The sound is very good, and on the rarities, notably superior to bootlegs (such as the famous Stampede) on which some of the songs have previously surfaced. The 82-page booklet, primarily comprised of vintage clippings, is nice too, even if specific details and anecdotes about the unreleased songs in particular would have been good. As good as it is, though, this could have been one of the greatest rock box sets of all time, if only a saner approach to presenting the band's complete official albums, and more rarities, in one place had been employed.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:47
2 1:27
3 1:38
4 2:44
5 3:11
6 1:07
7 2:07
8 2:31
9 4:11
10 2:53
11 2:10
12 3:28
13 2:24
14 2:34
15 2:46
16 2:54
17 2:27
18 2:19
19 3:05
20 3:08
21 2:40
22 2:15
23 2:43
24 2:25
blue highlight denotes track pick