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Archive for the ‘Buffalo Springfield’ Category

With A Little Help From His Friends: James Burton Anthology Features Everlys, Nelson, Hazlewood and Buffalo Springfield

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When James Burton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, no less a legend than Keith Richards delivered his induction speech.  Richards was just one of the many guitarists influenced over the years by Burton, a talent whose C.V. boasts names like Rick Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Joni Mitchell, John Denver, and oh yeah, Elvis Presley.  Burton’s talent has transcended genre and classification, and at the age of 72, he continues to contribute musically to selected projects.  U.K. compilation experts Ace Records have turned the spotlight on this longtime sideman and occasional solo artist with the October 4 release of James Burton: The Early Years 1957-1969, the first of two volumes showcasing the guitarist’s titanic body of work.

A mainstay of Elvis Presley’s TCB Band and the lead guitarist on nearly all of Ricky Nelson’s classic recordings, Burton first appeared on record in 1956 on the small Ram label, backing Carol Williams on “Just For a While,” and that track appears on The Early Years.  It wasn’t long before Burton was an in-demand session musician, playing the famous and influential solo on Dale Hawkins’ “Susie Q” in 1957.  Within a year, Burton had taken his place alongside Ricky Nelson, building up a body of work that still endures; of his Nelson collaborations, “My Babe,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Stop Sneakin’ Around” and “Blood from a Stone” all appear.  His association with Nelson lasted until 1967; two years later, he would take the stage in Las Vegas with Elvis Presley, where “Play it, James” became a familiar catchphrase of The King’s.

Burton’s recordings of “Fireball Mail” and “Daisy Mae” as Jim and Joe (with fellow session stalwart Joe Osborn of the L.A. “Wrecking Crew”) have been included, as well as other solo tracks including “Cannonball Rag” and “Jimmy’s Blues.”  He appears as “Jimmy Dobro” on both sides of a 1963 single, “Swamp Surfer” b/w “Everybody Listen to the Dobro.”  Other familiar names making an appearance on the compilation include Lee Hazlewood, The Everly Brothers, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard and the recently-reunited band Buffalo Springfield.  Even David Gates, later of Bread, is represented with the 1962 single by “David and Lee,” “Tryin’ to Be Someone.”

While touring with Presley in the 1970s, Burton found time to play with Emmylou Harris as a member of her “Hot Band,” and also began to work with John Denver that lasted 16 years and produced 12 albums.  A promised Volume 2 will collect Burton’s later years, including his work with Elvis Presley, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons and others.

Hit the jump for the complete track listing with discographical annotation, plus a pre-order link, for James Burton: The Early Years 1957-1969, which is due on October 4 from Ace Records! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 31, 2011 at 10:29

Back Tracks: Buffalo Springfield Reunion Special

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“Used to play in a rock ‘n roll band, but they broke up. We were young and we were wild, it ate us up,” lamented Neil Young in the song “Buffalo Springfield Again” from his 2000 album Silver and Gold. “I’d like to see those guys again, and give it a shot. Maybe now we can show the world what we’ve got. But I’d just like to play for the fun we had.” Some 11 years later, Young’s wish may be coming true. On February 10, Rolling Stone carried a headline for which fans had waited years: “Exclusive: Buffalo Springfield Plans to Reunite for Fall Tour.” Encouraged by the success of a one-off reunion at last year’s Bridge School Benefit, it appears likely that Neil Young (who picked up his first Grammy as a musician last night), Stephen Stills and Richie Furay will once again appear as Buffalo Springfield. The group (consisting of that trio, plus Bruce Palmer on bass and Dewey Martin on drums, now both deceased) formed in 1966 and was history before the end of 1968, after only three LPs had been recorded. Yet the band managed to blaze a trail that broadened the sound of rock. And thanks to a “trade” that would have made George Steinbrenner proud, the band served as a launching pad for three superstar careers. Welcome to today’s Back Tracks, spotlighting the incendiary and influential folk-rock of Buffalo Springfield!

Most stories, alas, end with a hearse. But the legend of Buffalo Springfield begins with one. As the story goes, Stills and Furay were caught in Los Angeles traffic (some things never change!) when they noticed the 1953 black Pontiac hearse belonging to Stills’ old friend Neil Young, former member with Bruce Palmer of Motown’s Mynah Byrds. The fact is, Young had been unsuccessfully attempting to find Stills since relocating to California. After an illegal U-turn and much excitement, the seeds of Buffalo Springfield were planted, with Dewey Martin soon joining the newly-united Stills, Young, Furay and Palmer. Whether the traffic sighting is truth or mere apocrypha, Buffalo Springfield was born. The band made its debut at the famed Troubadour on April 11, 1966, and its debut LP arrived that December, a 12-track set produced on Atco by Charles Greene and Brian Stone. Hit the jump for a full exploration of each release in Buffalo Springfield’s small but potent catalogue! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 14, 2011 at 11:41