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Buffalo Springfield | Box Set (Warner/Atco/Elektra/Rhino)
Do you read Q magazine? Go on, you can admit it; you're amongst friends here. Well, they reviewed this box set, mentioning some famous Buffalo Springfield songs and saying that the box contained some rarities. And that was about it - no detail, no insights, no review, basically. I suspect that the reviewer didn't even have the discs. Well, no such deception here. In front of me is a handsome tall box, with the rusty tractor name plate that gave the band their name, a booklet looking artily like it's made up of sellotaped cuttings, and four cds, less artfully packaged themselves, but containing all the Buffalo Springfield you could ask for...except the final album...and any live material.  The bulk of the set is three discs chronologically sequenced with unreleased demos, versions and mixes, mixed in amongst choice tracks from all three released albums. The fourth disc contains their first and second albums - 'Buffalo Springfield' and 'Buffalo Springfield Again' - the third not qualifying for full treatment as is was cobbled together after they split up. This last disc is a bit of an odd decision as it duplicates tracks from the main sequence but, what the hell: it's good to have the albums whole, if you haven't already bought them on CD that is. But enough of this buffy stuff - on to the music. Well, it still all sounds pretty strong and fresh. With bands like the Pernice Brothers and Belle Da Gama currently doing a 60s-pop-with-Neil-Young-guitar thing it's good to listen again to Neil's stuff from back when he made pop records. Sort of. The demos, too, are a pleasure, stripping away the pop stuff and sounding like they might have if they'd recorded them in later folkier years. And 'Buffalo Springfield Again' is still as wacky, spacey and impressive a piece of work as anything I'd forgotten to listen to for so many years. Stephen Stills's Bluebird and Rock & Roll Woman and Neil Young's Broken Arrow and Expecting to Fly would have shone from any album they later went on to make, but here they're all on the one pretty faultless album, that is so much of its time you find yourself momentarily inclined to give peace a chance. Do some long-overdue rediscovering, then, if you can afford it.

Jeff Cotton
June-July 2001