Buffalo Springfield

Sell Out

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There just isn't much high-grade unreleased Buffalo Springfield material that didn't make it onto their 2001 box set, but this CD gamely assembles some of the more notable scraps that haven't made it onto wide availability. Just two of these 16 tracks saw official release. One's the nine-minute version of "Bluebird" that opens the disc, which was on the 1973 double LP Buffalo Springfield anthology; the other's a 45 mix of "Mr. Soul." Of the handful of other studio items here, by far the most notable is the 1967 outtake "Sell Out," a hard-rocking Neil Young tune that, while reflective of his generally anxious and jumpy style of songwriting from the time, isn't up to the level of the Young compositions that made it onto Buffalo Springfield's LPs. In addition, there's a 1965 Young solo demo of "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing," from his 1965 solo session for Elektra that has long been circulating on bootleg; the minute-and-a-half version of the psychedelic instrumental "Raga," which has again long been making the rounds on bootleg; and an "extended version with Neil Young overdubs" of "Bluebird," though this poor-sounding acetate lasts just half a minute longer than the relatively well-known, nine-minute version from the Buffalo Springfield anthology, and whatever Young overdubs are present are superfluous. Most of the disc, however, is given over to live material, mostly from either a live 1967 show at Huntington Beach or a 1968 one from Dallas (the location of one live version of "For What It's Worth" isn't given). The recording quality of all of these is imperfect but listenable, though the liner notes say that the Huntington Beach and Dallas songs are taken from an "upgraded source." The band does perform pretty well on these, though they're more prone to improv indulgence, particularly in the guitar soloing, than the studio versions, and the vocals can be more ragged. Still, where else are you going to hear live versions of "Bluebird," "For What It's Worth," "Rock and Roll Woman," "Go and Say Goodbye," "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing," "Uno Mundo," and "A Child's Claim to Fame"? Accepting the fact that there don't seem to be any good-quality live Springfield recordings in existence, it's a good supplement for major fans of the band, though not something that less-devoted listeners are likely to enjoy too much.