The Buffalo Springfield returned with a new studio album in November of 1967. Despite infighting within the group and the absence of various members from recording sessions, Buffalo Springfield Again is recognized as the critical apex of the group and one of the best rock albums in history.
Stephen Stills and Neil Young would always have an uneasy relationship which was a tragedy as their talents and musical styles matched together so well. Young had already begun a withdrawal from the group and his contributions are more in line with his solo work, which would begin in the near future, than those of a united band. The other change was the emergence of Richie Furay as a third talented songwriter which meant fewer opportunities for Stills and Young.
Neil Young contributed three strong tracks. “Mr. Soul” is one of the first great rockers of his career. It featured his own lead vocal plus complimentary guitar work and backing vocals from Furay. “Expecting To Fly” was recorded without any other member of the group present. It is one of the more layered and complex songs of his career and was more ambitious than most of what was being produced during the late sixties. “Broken Arrow” is a six minute autobiography of the band and except for a short performance by Furay, it is another track without any other member of the group participating. In fact Stephen Stills does not appear on any of his original compositions.
I consider Richie Furay’s “A Child’s Claim To Fame” to be the most memorable track on the album. I remember playing this catchy country/rock song to death back in the day. His lead vocal is superb and it was one of the few true group performances. “Sad Memory” is a haunting love ballad. It is basically just him on electric guitar and vocal with Neil Young contributing some stellar acoustic guitar work in support. His “Good Time Boy” is a well structured song but the decision to have drummer Dewey Martin supply the lead vocal has always seemed a bit odd.
Stephen Stills had begun to leave his folk roots behind. “Rock & Roll Woman” was a joint effort with David Crosby who had been dismissed from the Byrds. It was an excellent rock track and would be the beginning of a too date, 42 year relationship between the two. “Bluebird” and “Hung Upside Down” are two more well crafted rock tracks. The only average song on the album is “Everydays” which has a jazzy element to it and feels out of place.
Buffalo Springfield Again may have been pieced together by a group which was beginning to fall apart but there is no denying its lasting brilliance. Listening to this album today makes it easy to understand why The Buffalo Springfield are members of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.