I thought I’d take the opportunity this week to return once again to examine something by my second favorite American band of the 60s, the mighty (and mightily underrated) Buffalo Springfield.
Though most serious heads will at least be familiar with the shrapnel/diaspora that followed the dissolution of the group (CSNY, Y(oung), Poco, Loggins and Messina) and the big hit ‘For What It’s Worth’, I find that few out there realize how deep, diverse and amazing the Buffalo Springfield catalog is.
One of the problems, is that the band were only “together” for a very brief period (scare quotes intentional to indicate how fractious a tenure they had, with rotating membership due to intra-band fighting and immigration problems).
During that roughly two year stretch, the songwriting/singing triumvirate of Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Richie Furay, aided by drummer Dewey Martin and bassists Bruce Palmer (who appears on this track) and Jim Messina, laid down some of the heaviest music of the day.
I think one of the reasons that the Springfield doesn’t get the shine they deserve is that the palette they were working with was so unusual. They managed to mix country, jazz, folk rock, fuzz, and dreamy psychedelia (occasionally in the same song) in a stew that on paper seems doomed by its diversity, yet in the ears (and that’s really where it matters, right?) worked sublimely.
Today’s selection is from the band’s final album ‘Last Time Around’, assembled largely when the Buffalo Springfield were for all intents and purposes gone their separate ways. None of the tracks feature the entire band, and like the Beatles ‘White Album’ it veers from creative pole to pole, with tracks that were heavily slanted in the direction of one of the main members or the other.
Stephen Stills’ ‘Uno Mundo’ (listen on this 45 as ‘Un-Mundo’) reflects his love of Latin sounds, developed during his youth spent in places like Costa Rica and the Panama Canal Zone.
‘Uno Mundo’also forms a bridge between Buffalo Springfield and CSNY, sounding like a practice run at the sound of ‘Everybody I Love You’, with it’s chugging rhythm, Hammond organ and Stills’ blazing lead guitar.
As is the case with a number of Buffalo Springfield 45s I’ve found, the mix on the ‘Un-Mundo’ 45 is different than the track on the album, especially toward the end of the song where the horns are higher in the mix and you can hear an acoustic guitar lead (absent on the LP) running underneath.
It’s a very groovy track indeed, and I hope you dig it.
See you next week.