Buffalo Springfield were a great band, and it is such a shame that they were so short-lived. A combination of egos, poor management and an inability to break out from their Los Angeles base curtailed a very promising career. Ironically enough, however, even though they never consistently cracked the upper echelons of commercial success, they rank alongside The Byrds and The Band as an abiding influence on contemporary Alternate Country music.
If you read the Buffalo Springfield biography by the writer John Einarson, he fairly squarely bases the band's break-up as a breakdown between Stephen Stills and Neil Young, with the other principal songwriter in the band, Richie Furay, as the piggy in the middle who tried to hold it all together. Young's indecision - he split and rejoined the band on a couple of occasions - one which resulted in the band having to pull out of an appearance on the huge Johnny Carson TV show - coupled with a combination of Young's disillusionment and solo yearnings - meant that the band were fatally flawed from quite early on. The fact that they produced three enduring, excellent albums - of which this is probably the best, and presented three great songwriters to the world is amazing in itself.
'Buffalo Springfield' is an at times utterly beguiling record that stands up as a pointer for the way ahead in Country Rock, more so than The Byrds 'Sweetheart Of The Rodeo', in some respects (to me, at least), and contains many fine gems such as the Stills protest item 'For What It's Worth', and Young's mesmerising 'Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing' and 'Flying On The Ground Is Wrong', and in 'Burned', showed that Young was not without a sense of what made a commercial record. The playing and vocal harmonising is excellent throughout, and at thirty-odd minutes, it never outstays its welcome. If you're a fan of the West Coast rock sound, then tune into this - it shows where it all (or much of it, anyway) came from.