Buffalo Springfield – Last Time Around

Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Genre: Classic Rock, Rock, 60’s rock
Title: Last Time Around
Released: 1968
Label: Atco
Format: Vinyl
Musicians:Richie Furay – guitar, vocals, Dewey Martin – drums, Jim Messina – bass, vocals, Stephen Stills – guitar, piano, B3 organ, bass, clavinet, vibes, percussion, Handclaps, background vocals, vocals, Neil Young – guitar, harmonica, piano, background vocals, vocals, Bruce Palmer – bass, Buddy Miles – drums, Jimmy Karstein – drums, Gary Marker : bass, Jeremy Stuart – harpsichord, calliope, bells, Rusty Young – pedal steel guitar, Richard Davis – bass, unidentified – horns, saxophone, clarinet, drums, bass, drums, harpsichord, orchestra, piano, drums
Producer: Jim Messina
Engineers: Adrian Barber, Phil Iehle, Jim Messina

Last Time Around is the third and final studio album by the American folk rock band Buffalo Springfield.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Time_Around Last Time Around was released to fulfill contractual commitments. By the time it was completed the group had functionally disbanded, with the cover photo of the group consisting of a montage and the five original members only recording together on one track, “On the Way Home”.
Original bassist Bruce Palmer appears on one track: ‘On the Way Home’. His face is shown on the Last Time Around back cover photo montage with a humorous “mad” sign aligned, due to Bruce resembling Alfred E. Newman in the shot. (See it on top almost middle)?
The album contained songs that were very important to the authors. Neil Young has performed both “I Am a Child” and “On the Way Home” in concert throughout his career, the latter both solo and with CSNY, the Transband and the Bluenotes. “Kind Woman” became one of Richie Furay’s best known tunes; he performed it with Poco and throughout his solo career. Continue reading

Bob Dylan – Oh Mercy

Artist: Bob Dylan
Genere: Folk,Rock,Gospel
Title: Oh Mercy
Released: 1989
Label: Columbia
Format: CD
Musicians: Bob Dylan – vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, 12-string guitar, organ, Malcolm Burn – tambourine, keyboards, bass guitar, Rockin’ Dopsie – accordion, Willie Green – drums, Tony Hall – bass guitar, John Hart – saxophone, Daryl Johnson – percussion, Larry Jolivet – bass guitar, Daniel Lanois – dobro, lap steel, guitar, omnichord, Cyril Neville – percussion, Alton Rubin, Jr. – scrub board, Mason Ruffner – guitar, Brian Stoltz – guitar, Paul Synegal – guitar
Producer: Daniel Lanois
Engineers: Malcolm Burn, Mark Howard
Mastering Engineer: Greg Calbi

The sound of this CD is thin, but not too bad. This is one of those records that may well sound better on vinyl depending on source.

1. “Political World” – Bob Dylan was struggling to come up with the right arrangement for this tirade against the modern world when producer Daniel Lanois came up with a setting that he thought could make the song work. Guitarist Brian Stolz recalled to Uncut magazine: “Dan had an idea for a little groove, kind of a funkier groove. I remember we ran through it a few times before Bob got there. Bob came walking in the room when we were playing. He said, ”What’s that?’ Dan said, ‘It’s a little something we’re working up for ‘Political World.’ And Bob said, ‘Political World’? It doesn’t go like that! It goes like this.'”
“He picked up a guitar and started playing it and we all jumped in – and my memory is that’s the track you hear on the record,” Stolz added. “If you listen to ‘Political World’ you can hear how Willie (Green, drums) doesn’t even come in with the beat because he was jumping in after Bob.” http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=33854
This song covers some political and social ground and ironically, while written in the late eighties, it pertains that much more to 2016/2017. This up-tempo song despite it’s one chord and extreme simplicity musically, is one of my favorites.
2. “Where Teardrops Fall”- This ballad is almost country sounding, but not quite.
3. “Everything Is Broken” – This is another favorite of mine, the song’s lyrics describe Dylan’s detachment from his world at the time of its writing.
4. “Ring Them Bells” – In this gospel flavored song as in “Where Teardrops Fall” Dylan holds onto a faith that is millenarian but more generous than the one he has articulated on his more overtly Christian records.
5. “Man in the Long Black Coat” – This is another of my favorites on this album. No, it is not about Johnny Cash. It’s a chilling narrative ballad. Sung by Dylan in a husky, tormented whisper, the song tells of a woman who leaves her man for a demonic stranger, prompting a series of reflections on the nature of conscience, religious faith and emotional commitment. One of my favorite lines, Dylan sings, “There are no mistakes in life, some people say/And it’s true sometimes, you could see it that way/People don’t live or die, people just float/She went with the man in a long black coat.”
Side two:
1. “Most of the Time” – This a love song of taunting regret is much like U2’s “Your Blue Room” from the Passengers soundtrack.
2. “What Good Am I?” – This slightly gospel flavored song is one of self-examination in the vain of the previous song.
3. “Disease of Conceit” – This song, once again with a slight gospel bent is about just what the title says.
4. “What Was It You Wanted” – This song is seemingly about a former lover, it sets forth a series of chiding questions about expectations — expectations that the singer has failed to meet, implicitly because of their unreasonable nature. This is also another favorite of mine off this LP.
5. “Shooting Star” – This ballad is my least favorite on the album. It’s a kind of restless farewell.




America – Homecoming

Artist: America
Genre: Folk-Rock, Soft Rock
Title: Homecoming
Label:Warner Bros
Format: Vinyl
Musicians:Dan Peek – guitar, keyboards, vocals, Gerry Beckley – guitar, keyboards, vocals, bass guitar, Dewey Bunnell – guitar, vocals, percussion, Joe Osborn – bass guitar, Hal Blaine – drums, percussion, Gary Mallaber – drums and percussion
Engineer:Bill Halverson, Chuck Leary, Mike Stone
Mastering Engineer: Lee Herschberg

Homecoming is the second studio album by America. It is acoustic guitar-based, with a more pronounced electric guitar and keyboard section than their first album. This second effort helped continue the band’s success, and includes one of their best known hits, “Ventura Highway”. For this album and the next six throughout the next five years, the group traditionally chose titles beginning with the letter “H” (the self-titled debut album became unofficially included in this distinction when fans started referring to it as the “Horse with No Name” album when that track was added to later pressings).

My copy of this LP is in a tri-fold jacket and on the green Warner Bros label, which was known for being very good pressings and that continues here.

Side one begins with “Ventura Highway”. This hit is one of my favorites on this LP. From Wikipedia:Dewey Bunnell, the song’s vocalist and writer, has said that the lyric “alligator lizards in the air” in the song is a reference to the shapes of clouds in the sky he saw in 1963 while his family was driving down the coast from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California, where they had a flat tire. While his father changed the tire, he and his brother stood by the side of the road and watched the clouds and saw a road sign for “Ventura”. In the booklet for the boxed-set, Highway, he states that the song “reminds me of the time I lived in Omaha as a kid and how we’d walk through cornfields and chew on pieces of grass. There were cold winters, and I had images of going to California. So I think in the song I’m talking to myself, frankly: ‘How long you gonna stay here, Joe?’ I really believe that ‘Ventura Highway’ has the most lasting power of all my songs. It’s not just the words — the song and the track have a certain fresh, vibrant, optimistic quality that I can still respond to”. The song has a “Go West, young man” motif in the structure of a conversation between an old man named Joe and a young and hopeful kid. Joe was modeled after a “grumpy” old man he had met while his dad was stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi at Keesler Air Force Base. He also stated “I remember vividly having this mental picture of the stretch of the coastline traveling with my family when I was younger. Ventura Highway itself, there is no such beast, what I was really trying to depict was the Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 1, which goes up to the town of Ventura.” “That’s Gerry and Dan doing a harmony on two guitars on the intro. I remember us sitting in a hotel room, and I was playing the chords, and Gerry got that guitar line, and he and Dan worked out that harmony part. That’s really the hook of the song“.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventura_Highway

The second track “To Each His Own”, is a pop ballad and one of my favorite tracks on the LP.  “Don’t Cross the River” is a folk-rock style song and the banjo gives it a bit of country flavor, good song too. Track four gives us “Moon Song” with the signature America sound. Track five, “Only in Your Heart”, includes some keyboard/synth work, which is not the norm for this band. Yes, it is a good song too.

Side two begins with a good solid song titled, “Till the Sun Comes Up Again”“Cornwall Blank” is the second song on side two and a great song. It is similar in nature to the song “Donkey Jaw” from the band’s debut LP. Track three is “Head and Heart” and is somewhat similar in signature to the opening track on this LP, “Ventura Highway”.
“California Revisited” follows and “Saturn Nights” is the album’s closer, which is very appropriate.