Buffalo Springfield’s self titled debut

Most everyone has heard of such artists as Neil Young, Crosby Stills & Nash, and Poco. The members of these groups are some of the most respected musicians of the 60’s and 70’s, but few people have taken time to listen the place where the groups had their beginnings. It was the group Buffalo Springfield that launched the careers of Neil Young, Steven Stills, Richie Furay and Jim Messina, and their eponymous debut album shows just why it was the members of Buffalo Springfield went on to have the careers that they did.
If you ask someone if they have heard of Buffalo Springfield, most people might think of the song “For What It’s Worth,” but this protest song wasn’t even included on the original release of their debut album in 1966 (although it replaced the song “Baby Don’t Scold Me” on a reissue the next year.) But there is a plethora of great songwriting on this groups first release. The talent of the group truly shows through with the diverse range of songs they produced. This might be one of the greatest examples of pure “Folk-Rock.” Some of the songs sound like your typical “oldies,” while others show a clear influence drawn from the Folk movement of the 1960’s.
Aside from the diversity, this album shows the developing styles of Stephen Stills and Neil Young as musicians. Neil Young’s, who is debatably the most successful of the Buffalo Springfield alum, unique song writing style is obvious in songs such as “Burned” and “Out Of My Mind.” In addition, his signature guitar playing is clear across the album, with the erratic and noisy style that would eventually earn him the occasional nickname as “godfather of grunge,” specifically the solo on the song “Leave.” Stephen Stills acted as the lead singer and songwriter on most of the songs, allowing him to stretch his wings and develop a style that would obviously influence his later work.
It seems to be a trend that people look at albums from late 60’s, such as Pet Sounds and Rubber Soul, and cite them as drastically changing the direction of music and influencing generations of musicians to come. Buffalo Springfield is not necessarily one of these albums. It is a great album of Folk/Rock pop songs that let some of the greats test the water before diving in, so to speak. The album is a fulfilling listen and has no low points, but perhaps the most impressive part of the record is what it led to. If you like to see the roots of some of the most treasured musicians of the last few decades, Buffalo Springfield is a good place to start.

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