Flashback Album Of The Month
The Best of Buffalo Springfield
Most people think the hallmark of country rock began and ended with the Eagles. Though those guys are certainly one of the genre's most popular groups, Buffalo Springfield, along with the Byrds, are the ones who really got the ball rolling. That they were together just over a couple of years is a testament to the greatness of this greatest-hits collection, 1969's Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield. In the years since its release, more comprehensive collections have also been released, but it's this album that offers up one of the best musical snapshots of the group founded during a chance meeting among Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, and Neil Young. Group members Dewey Martin and Bruce Palmer were later joined by Jim Messina and they would go on to record three albums before egos got in the way. Young and Stills gravitated to successful solo careers before hooking up again in Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Group members Jim Messina and Richie Furay would go on to found Poco, but eventually split into other groups; Messina with Kenny Loggins and Furay with J.D. Souther and the Byrds' Chris Hillman in the Souther Hillman Furay Band.
Listening to Retrospective all these years later, it's immediately apparent the songwriting easily eclipses anything that passes for modern country these days. Their seminal track, "For What It's Worth," has been described as leftist propaganda but its lyrics remain even more relevant today for both sides of the political spectrum:
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
From the George Jones-inspired country of Furay's "Kind Woman," to the straight-ahead rock of Neil's "Mr. Soul," the album is a genuine cornucopia of well-travelled road music, a must-have companion for any biker journey.