Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pickin' Up The Pieces of Buffalo Springfield

Due to increased legal problems with bassist Bruce Palmer’s drug usage that led to his eventual deportation to his homeland of Canada in early 1967, Buffalo Springfield employed a number of substitutes to fill his shoes. Disguised as a Canadian businessman, Palmer reentered the States and rejoined the band in May 1967. His continued drug usage and a second deportation in January 1968 resulted in the band officially firing Palmer and replacing him with studio engineer Jim Messina.

Dewey Martin, Jim Messina, Neil Young, Richie Furay, & Stephen Stills

On May 5, 1968, Buffalo Springfield performed their last concert in Long Beach, California. One final album was required for the band to fulfill their contract with Atlantic Records’ subsidiary ATCO. Richie Furay and Jim Messina began compiling tracks that had been recorded over the previous year into their final LP: “Last Time Around.” While the album bears the Buffalo Springfield name, not one single track contains all five members of the band.

Bruce Palmer appears on half of the tracks; however he is neither credited nor is he depicted on the cover. In fact, the album’s cover was contrived – it contained a photo of Stephen Stills, Jim Messina, Richie Furay, and Dewey Martin that was overlaid with one of Neil Young from another session. In the pre-Photo Shop days, the art department at ATCO did an excellent job in melding the two photographs and the unsuspecting public was unaware that any photographic magic had occurred.

Despite the lack of continuity in the sessions and consistency of personnel, I will have to applaud Furay and Messina for a job well done. While the second LP is my favorite, I feel "Last Time Around" is far superior to their debut LP (sans "For What it's Worth") and comes in at a close second.

The final cut on the LP was a Richie Furay composition that contained 3/5 of the lineup of Poco that would rise like a phoenix from the ashes of Buffalo Springfield. “Kind Woman” included members Richie Furay on guitar and lead vocals and Jim Messina on vocals. Pedal steel guitarist Rusty Young was included on the cut along with session bassist Richard Davis and a pair of unknown and uncredited session musicians on piano and drums.

Kind Woman

Poco: Pickin’ Up the Pieces

Following the demise of Buffalo Springfield, Furay, Messina, and Rusty Young joined forces with bassist Randy Meisner and drummer George Grantham to form Poco. The band was signed to Epic Records and in a trade off like two sports teams, Epic traded Graham Nash who just left the Hollies to Atlantic Records for Richie Furay – in an effort to work out each individual’s contracts with their original label. Nash would join former Buffalo Springfield guitarist Stephen Stills in the newly formed Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

The debut album for Poco and its title cut, “Pickin’ Up the Pieces,” was inspired by Furay’s and Messina’s efforts to pick up the pieces of Buffalo Springfield and move on to another band and a new genre of country rock.

No comments:

Post a Comment