Buffalo Springfield is the band that made Neil Young a household word. His songs with this band are so evocative – i.e. I Am A Child – I rarely hear recent songs, even by him, that have this power. But perhaps this is nostalgia speaking. I love these three albums: First two with no titles and Last Time Around – it’s hard not to singalong with ‘now a-days Clancy can’t even sing.’The first lp is sweet CaliPop with country folk tinges – harmonies for days, lyrics about love, loss, the urge to be experienced without paying the price. The second is the masterpiece – the angel on the cover, the muttonchops on the band members; who could ask for more? Superb engineering & superb song writing. Uno Mondo of genius.
The songs! ‘There you stood at the edge of your feather.’ Strings by Jack Nitzsche turns some of these tracks into lush dreams. Neil Young never sounded better. The rest of the band sort of fades. Internal creative struggles had already torn the band apart by the time they were recording that second lp. – leaving them hung upside down, as it were.
The finale Last Time Round with songs too sweet to be real, romantic, tender, but they rock out too. All I have to do is look at the names of the songs & I can hear them in my head. The band had ended well before this was released. Poco, with a rocking country vibe, was one of the results; Desert Rose another with a more country bent. Stills tried solo & never took off. Then of course CSN (& sometimes Y) took off from these ashes.
Individually & together all have produced good to great work – Young in particular – but none have surpassed the energy, range & resonance of those first three Springfield albums – then again very few other groups have come near them either – not even the Beatles, CCR, the Band or you name one.
‘Can you feel that?’ Dr Fell tapped along my spine. Gentle at first and then harder. I knew it was harder by the sound.
‘How about this?’
I wasn’t sure what he was doing.
‘Not even a tickle.’
He showed me a pin. ‘I was sticking you with this.’ He jabbed it in the back of my hand and I jumped. ‘At least there’s some feeling there.’
‘I’ll say,’ I shook my hand as if I should shake the pain off like a drop of water.
‘How long have you noticed this.’
‘A week or so. Maybe longer. It’s not as if I touch much with my back. The bed, my shirt.’
‘It is serious you know. You can feel here.’ He stroked my neck. ‘But from here down to here,’ I felt his hand at the crack of my butt. ‘You feel nothing. No reaction to any stimulus.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Try something wet.’
‘Yes. I know I can feel water on it when I shower. I can tell the temperature of water. Hot or cold.’
‘Hum. So you feel this.’ Something cold pressed my back.
‘Yes. Cool. But that’s all I can tell. I don’t know what part of the back you are touching or even the shape or size of what you are touching me with.’
‘How does it feel when there is nothing?’
‘Like …’ I tried to sense the flesh but couldn’t. ‘It’s like an empty space.’
‘No numb along the edges.’
‘No. Just nothing.’
‘We’ll need to do tests. Neurological damage of some sort. You haven’t fallen recently.’
‘Changed your sleeping pattern. I mean how you sleep on the bed.’
‘Not that I’m aware of.’
‘No trouble sleeping?’
‘Not really. Sleep like a log most nights. Mornings are a bit odd these days.’
‘I can’t feel the bed at my back, so I wake like I’m floating in some sort of warm pool. Very odd. To sense the sheets with my feet but then the rest of me doesn’t seem attached to the earth anymore.’
‘Any problems getting out of the bed.’
‘I have to roll over to my side to feel my way up. I suppose I can get used it. It’s not as if my head is going to fall off. Is it Doc?’
November 18, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – The Supermarket., Toronto
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