Friday, December 7, 2007


Listen to WE'LL SEE by The Buffalo Springfield.

This week's series culminates with today's group, the Buffalo Springfield. This is probably the most underrated American band in existence, and certainly the greatest Folk Rock band. Don't get me wrong, I love the Byrds a lot...But there are explainable and intangible elements that make the Springfield the most exciting American group to come out of the 60's. Note the word group, as I can appreciate that many would take issue with me and say the Beach Boys take the above honors. Well, on another day I might agree with them, but thinking about the Beach Boys' history is an exercise in shifts of power within the group. From the early influence of Mike, to Brian's complete control of the band's classic period, and finally to Carl's taking the helm in more troubled times. Regardless, they were a group dominated by a single visionary at any given time. Buffalo Springfield, on the other hand, were a powder keg of equal talents, with each member champing at the bit to take the group to new heights or, alternately, to fight about taking it in his own particular direction.

By all accounts, two of the principal characters (Stills & Young) were notoriously difficult to work with--Steve in his bravado and dictatorial style and Neil in a more passive-aggressive way. The unsung hero of the group was Richie Furay who was able to unite this fiery group for long enough to record 3.5 of the greatest Folk Rock you've ever heard. I say 3.5 because some of their best material was recorded for a album to be called Stampede, but was later shelved due to label incompetence.

Thankfully, all of the material was released on the creatively named Box Set in 2001. Today's song, 1967's "We'll See", demonstrates all the characteristics that make the Springfield's sound so wonderful, exciting and unique, one that was to establish the template for all California rock to follow in its wake (until, uh, I guess hair metal bands, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and other bands who wear long shorts unfortunately became the new L.A. template). First, a base of acoustic guitars. Second, two distinctively weird lead guitar sounds and styles. Third, lots of tremolo. Fourth, great, great singing...Stills's gritty voice perfectly counterbalanced by Richie's beautiful tenor. Fifth, an amazing rhythm section. Finally, energetic--live-- playing. Wow. Enjoy it, then treat yourself to the best weekend ever by purchasing everything these guys ever recorded!

Have fun.

Photo: All over, La Jolla.



Bill said...

good stuff, mi amigo

soonergooner said...

Once again, well played, Corbett. Nice tune. Nice perspective, all week.

John said...

Richie Furay, unsung hero - spoken like a true Poco-naut!