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Ode To Buffalo Springfield / Neil Young
by Mark Guerrero

     Rock journalist Harvey Kubernik included my writings and comments from interviews in his 2014 books "Turn Up the Radio: Rock, Pop, and Roll In Los Angeles 1958-1972" and "It Was Fifty Years Ago: The Beatles Invade America and Hollywood."  In both of these books my contributions were prominent.  For Kubernik's 2016 book "Neil Young: Heart of Gold," he asked me to write as much as I wanted about Neil Young.  I turned in nine pages!  As it turned out, due to editors and space considerations only a couple of my quotes were used in the book.  Since I had put so much time, effort, and heart into writing about the Buffalo Springfield and Neil Young, I decided to put the entire piece on my website.  The Buffalo Springfield and Neil Young were an influence and inspiration to me when I was in my teens and early twenties making my way as a singer, songwriter, and musician.  Therefore, I thought I'd share my thoughts and opinions about them, as well as experiences I've had seeing them in concert and personal encounters with them.  I also include Neil Young's East L.A./ Chicano connection. Below is the piece that I wrote.

Buffalo Springfield

     I loved Buffalo Springfield in the ‘60s and still do.  They’re second only to The Beatles on my list of favorite bands of all time.  That’s really saying something because they were only together for a couple of years and made a mere three studio albums.  I liked “For What It’s Worth” when I heard it on the radio in 1966, but the first record I bought by the band was the album “Buffalo Springfield Again,” which I consider to be their “Sergeant Pepper.”  Words can’t describe how much I loved that album.  It was full of great songs that were unique and diverse in their musical styles, yet somehow seamlessly fit together.  The band had three great singer/songwriters whose different sounding voices and styles also magically blended together.  Here’s each singer/songwriter’s contribution to “Buffalo Springfield Again.” 

Neil Young: “Mr. Soul”- a rocking song with a Rolling Stones inspired “Satisfaction”-like guitar lick and drum groove, Neil’s frenetic raga rock lead guitar solo, and its Dylanesque poetic lyric about some of the pitfalls of rock stardom.  “Expecting To Fly”- a beautiful melody, with time changes, missing bars, key changes, and a heartfelt lyric which touched on Neil’s battle with epilepsy, atop Jack Nitzsche’s Phil Spectoresque dream-like arrangement and orchestration.  I think this is Neil Young at his best and most ingenious.  “Broken Arrow”- a suite of musical styles with time changes woven in that’s in a league with Lennon/McCartney’s “A Day In the Life.”

Stephen Stills: “Everydays”- a jazzy song with two different grooves (slow 4/4 time and mid-tempo swing) and featuring Neil Young’s simple, yet brilliant guitar part.  Neil played a single C note on the A string of his guitar through a fuzz tone.  At perfect moments, he put the guitar facing the speaker of his amplifier to get feedback which took the note up an octave and made it sound like an otherworldly violin, which he gave just the right amount of vibrato with his tremolo bar.  “Bluebird”- a great rocker with folk overtones that features a fantastic vocal and acoustic guitar solo by Stills and rocking electric guitar solos by Neil and Stephen.  When played live they would extend the song with longer solos and rock the house.  “Hung Upside Down”- a great song about being down and confused that features Richie Furay singing the slow verses with his incredibly smooth and clean voice and Stills coming in on the choruses at his rocking best.  Here were two of the best singers going in rock in their primes singing lead on the same track.  “Rock & Roll Woman”- shows Stills at his best as a singer and songwriter.  It features a repeating acoustic double stop guitar lick that is joined by a three part vocal harmony doing the same figure that becomes the background to Stills’ edgy lead vocal.  It’s a one of a kind song that also has great instrumental sections that typify the Buffalo Springfield’s unique style.

Richie Furay: “A Child’s Claim To Fame”- a great 2-beat country song with two part vocal harmony, acoustic guitar, and the legendary James Burton on dobro.  “Sad Memory,” a beautiful slow, sad song about a lost love featuring Richie alone on acoustic guitar and vocal, backed only by Neil’s tasty and beautiful electric guitar.  “Good Time Boy”- a Memphis-style R&B song featuring a horn section and a great vocal by drummer Dewey Martin.  This track shows Richie’s versatility as a songwriter to write such a good song in a style many would think would be out of his stylistic range.  I remember seeing the Buffalo Springfield perform this song live in 1967 and it was a show stopper. 

     During this period, I had a band called The Men from S.O.U.N.D who was very popular in East Los Angeles.  We regularly played “Mr. Soul,” Rock & Roll Woman,” “Hung Upside Down,” and “Bluebird,” which we would extend to 20 minutes or a half hour at times.  We absolutely loved doing these songs.  In 1967, my bass player Rick Rosas and I saw the Buffalo Springfield perform at Cal State Los Angeles in the gymnasium.  It was an awesome concert with Stephen Stills standing out as the one with the most talent.  His singing voice and guitar playing were at a peak partly due to his youth and energy.

     Once I had digested “Buffalo Springfield Again,” I bought their first album, “The Buffalo Springfield.”  This album didn’t have the fidelity or production values of “Buffalo Springfield Again” and they were a little raw and not as good in the studio yet, however there are a lot of great songs and vocals on the album.  Here are my favorites on the album: Neil Young’s “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing” is still one of my favorite Neil Young songs and I think one his best.  It was sung by Richie Furay with Stephen Stills on the low harmony.  Neil Young’s “Flying On the Ground Is Wrong” and “Do I Have To Come Right Out and Say It” are incredibly beautiful and well-crafted songs.  Both songs, although written by Neil, were beautifully sung by Richie Furay.  Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth” was on the album I purchased at the time, but wasn’t included on the original release.  After “For What It’s Worth” became a top ten hit, it replaced Stills’ questionable “Baby Don’t Scold Me.”  The following songs on the album were also written by Stephen Stills: “Sit Down I Think I Love You”- a good song which was also a hit for the Mojo Men at the time; “Hot Dusty Roads”- a mid-tempo bluesy song with an infectious melody and Steve and Richie in two part harmony; and “Go and Say Goodbye”- a great up tempo two-beat country song with Steve and Richie on two part harmony throughout.  Years later Richie covered the song with Poco.

     Buffalo Springfield’s third studio album, “Last Time Around,” was akin to The Beatles “White Album” in that it was recorded at a time the band was breaking up so many of the songs were not recorded as a band.  It was like three solo artists coming in and doing their thing.  However, it’s still a really good album with some great songs.  Here are my favorites by each songwriter:  Neil Young- “On the Way Home,” sung by Richie and the acoustic gem “I Am a Child”; Steven Stills- his bluesy “Four Days Gone” in 3/4 time with his great piano accompaniment; “Questions”- one of my favorite Stills songs; “Pretty Girl Why”- a kind of Latin jazz song with nice two part harmony on the choruses; and “Uno Mundo”- a Latin-style song with full blown Latin percussion that was later covered by the East L.A. band El Chicano.  Richie Furay- the beautiful “It’s So Hard To Wait,” “Merry Go Round,” and his timeless, classic country song, “Kind Woman.”  Rick and I also saw the Buffalo Springfield’s farewell performance at the Long Beach Arena in 1968.  It was a great show with one of its highlights being a hot version of “Uno Mundo,” but it was sad to know it was the end of the road for the band.  Little did Rick and I know that one day Rick would play with Neil Young and be part of the Buffalo Springfield reunion in 2010.

     In 1977, while going to college at Cal State L.A., I was doing cover gigs with various bands.  One such band hired a substitute drummer for a gig at a restaurant in Pasadena.  To my surprise and delight it turned out to be none other than Dewey Martin.  Being a major Buffalo Springfield fan, I was thrilled to be playing and singing with the same drummer that backed Stephen, Neil, and Richie on all those great records.  At the same time it was sad to know that such a great drummer was now in a position that he had to take a four hour cover gig for $100.

     Around 1998, I had a steady gig at an outdoor night club in Palm Springs, California.  One night Dewey Martin happened to show up.  I talked with him quite a bit during breaks about Buffalo Springfield.  After the gig he played me an audio cassette in my car of an album he had recorded but was never released.  It was R&B in style with his great vocals and a kick ass horn section.  He expressed frustration that the record company didn’t release it for some reason.  A few months later, he came to my gig again and brought a new snare drum he had developed, which he showed to my drummer.
  He gave me his phone number, but I never had occasion to call it.  I was saddened when I heard he passed away in 2009.

     The Buffalo Springfield were an extraordinary band with great vocals and songs with a fine rhythm section, Dewey Martin on drums and Bruce Palmer, and later Jim Messina, on bass.  They were a seminal band that influenced many future bands, including America and The Eagles.  Their influence, talent, and the special alchemy they had together deservedly got them into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

 Neil Young Solo

     I bought Neil Young’s first solo album, “Neil Young,” as soon as it was released.  I loved the album.  One could tell from this album what his contribution was to the style and sound of Buffalo Springfield.  Standout songs for me were “The Loner,” “I’ve Been Waiting For You,” “Here We Are In the Years,” and “I’ve Loved Her So Long.”  The songs on the album showed his rock, country, pop, and folk styles.  Despite the fact that it was a very good album, it didn’t sell very well or chart that high.  I think Neil decided to go in a harder direction for his next effort so he went out and recruited the band Crazy Horse, who’s members included the basic and solid rhythm section of Billy Talbot on bass and Ralph Molina on drums and a great singer/guitarist, Danny Whitten. 

     “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” was the result.  Many believe this album marked the birth of grunge.  It was rock & roll; “Cinnamon Girl,” “Down By the River,” “Cowgirl In the Sand,” and country rock; “The Losin’ End” and “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.”  Sandwiched in there were the slow folky song with beautiful violin accompaniment “Runnin’ Dry (Requiem For The Rockets)” and the beautiful acoustic laden song “Round and Round (It Won’t Be Long),” with vocal harmony by Robin Lane.  I saw Neil Young with and without Crazy Horse many times at the Troubadour during this period of 1969-‘70.  It was great, particularly fantastic in such a small venue.  It seemed every band in Los Angeles, including my own, were playing “Cinnamon Girl” and “Down By the River.”  At the time I had a gig with an unrehearsed pick up band at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California.  I thought it was going to be a dance, but it turned out we were in concert opening for Rick Nelson and the Stone Canyon Band with Randy Meisner on bass.  Randy had recently left Poco, Richie Furay’s band that I also loved at the time.  Two of the songs I pulled out of the hat with Nelson and Meisner watching were “Cinnamon Girl” and “Down By the River.”  After our set Randy complimented me, but I was still mortified and embarrassed by the unexpected situation.

     In 1970, Neil Young was invited to join up with Crosby, Stills & Nash for their first concert tour.  Neil said he would do so, but smartly and boldly said he had to have equal partnership and billing.  This was ballsy because CSN had the #1 album at the time.  Neil’s “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” had done better than his first album, but wasn’t exactly burning up the charts having peaked at #34.  CSN wanted Neil because they needed a second lead guitarist for their live shows.  David Crosby and Graham Nash are great acoustic guitarists and electric rhythm guitarists, but they’re not going to tear up a show with guitar solos.  What CSN got from Neil was a second lead guitarist and a fourth great singer-songwriter.  What Neil got from CSN was a major platform, touring with the number one band in the country in large venues where he and his music could get gigantic exposure.  I saw many of those early shows, including several of their inaugural shows at the Greek Theater in 1969 and a memorable show at U.C. Santa Barbara.  Neil would be featured in his own acoustic solo part of the show and some of his songs would be part of the electric show.  This visibility was of great help when Neil came out with his third album, “After the Gold Rush.”  Due to Neil’s greater fame from recording and touring with CSNY, along with the fact that it was a great album, “After the Gold Rush” cracked the top ten so he no longer needed CSN.  From then on he played with them only when he wanted to.

     “After the Gold Rush” had acoustic songs and electric band songs.  My favorites on that album were “Tell Me Why,” “After the Gold Rush,” “Southern Man,” “Don’t Let It Bring You Down,” and “I Believe In You.”  By this time it seems Neil was fully comfortable with his voice and knew how to use it with confidence and to full effect.  His vocal on the song “After the Gold Rush,” which was sung in a high register and strongly went up even higher on the “all in a dream” phrase is a great example of that.  During this period I was in a very good East L.A. band called The Emeralds.  We played at a Rock & Roll Show at East Los Angeles College that featured about a dozen East L.A. bands.  Part of my contribution to the show were rousing all-out versions of “Southern Man” from “After the Gold Rush” and “Ohio,” which had just been released as a single by CSNY.  Both songs went over very well even in the barrio.

     Neil’s next album was “Harvest” with the Stray Gators, which went to number one on the charts.  Highlights for me were “Harvest,” “Heart of Gold,” “Old Man,” and “The Needle and The Damage Done.”  The album had a great overall sound and style and is still one of my favorite Neil Young albums.  Around this time I saw Neil perform solo at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.  This was a fancy venue for a rock artist at the time, similar to Lincoln Center in New York.  Neil put on a great solo show with just acoustic guitar and piano.  I particularly remember him doing “A Man Needs a Maid” on a grand piano.

     In the summer of 1970, I ran into Neil Young on the street in Greenwich Village and walked along with him for a few blocks talking with him.  I was in New York City visiting my older brother who had been living there for about eight years.  CSNY was playing at the Fillmore East.  It was sold out and I didn’t have a ticket, but I went anyway.  I showed up after the show by the backstage door and lo and behold Crosby, Stills, Nash, &Young came out and were hanging out there for a while.  It was a treat to see them up close when they were in their prime.  They were all dressed in their inimitable style and looked great.  After that I walked alone from the East Village to the West Village and happened to run into Neil who was amazingly also alone.  We were walking in opposite directions so I just turned around asked “what are you doing here?” and started walking with him.  While we talked, he was knocking on doors of clubs like the Bitter End hoping something was still going on but they were all closed.  I told him that I was recording an album at the time and offered him some California herb, which he politely declined.  We walked for three or four blocks and went our separate ways.  I remember being very excited about meeting him and having a little talk.  The next day I called my bass player Rick Rosas long distance to L.A. and told him I had just met Neil Young.  He was pretty amazed about it too.

     In late 1973, I was rehearsing with my A&M band, Tango (which also included Rick Rosas on bass), at Studio Instrument Rentals (S.I.R) on Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood.  We were preparing for our upcoming shows at the Roxy Theater on Sunset Blvd.  Neil Young was also there recording his “Tonight’s the Night” album.  We often saw him playing pool there with his band during breaks.  We rehearsed some of my songs in one of the rooms near where he was playing pool.  At one point someone opened our door from the inside and Neil was outside the door listening to us.  I think he probably liked what he was hearing.  We were a tight band playing music that was definitely akin to what he was doing.  I recall we were playing one of my songs, “Walk On Down,” when he was listening.  On his next album, “On the Beach,” he had a song called “Walk On.”  I’m not suggesting that my song gave him an idea, his song was nothing like mine in style or lyric content, but you never know. 

     After having done a solo single produced by Lou Adler on his Ode Record label in 1971, followed by two solo singles on Capitol Records in 1972, and an album and single with my band Tango on A&M Records in ’73 and ‘74, I went back to school and got a B.A. degree in Chicano Studies.  This led my music in another direction, my version of Chicano rock, which contained some Latin rhythms and styles with lyrics which dealt with Chicano culture.  Because of my new direction and discovering some new and different artists and music, I would occasionally buy a Neil Young album throughout the years.  It was like visiting an old friend from time to time.  I would always find gems I liked such as “Don’t Be Denied,” “See the Sky About To Rain,” “For the Turnstiles,” “Cortez the Killer,” “Long May You Run,” “Like a Hurricane,” “Comes a Time,” “Hey Hey My My,” “This Note’s For You,” “Rockin’ In the Free World,” “Unknown Legend,” and “Harvest Moon.”  On a cultural level I particularly appreciated “Cortez the Killer” because Cortez is reviled by me and most other Mexican-Americans and Mexican nationals for his “conquest” of the Aztecs and the brutal rule Spain held over Mexico for 300 years.

     In 1988, Rick Rosas, who had been my bass player for ten years, was bassist on Neil Young’s “This Note’s For You” album.  He got the hook up from members of the horn section Neil was using, old friends of ours, Steve Lawrence and Tom Bray.  We knew them as two-thirds of the Elijah horn section, who I’d used on several recordings of my songs in the ‘70s.  Elijah was a funky horn band from East L.A. that had a couple of albums out in the ‘70s, one on United Artists, the other on Al Kooper’s Sounds of the South label.  Rick and I had known them since high school days and our bands often played on the same bill throughout the ‘60s and early ‘70s.  (I’d heard the following story when it happened, but recently got the details from Tom Bray.)  During the “This Notes For You” period, Neil and the band had just finished doing a photo session in Hollywood when Neil said he felt like playing somewhere.  Steve Lawrence said “I’ve got the perfect place.”  Steve had been doing a gig at a local restaurant/night club called La Casita in Montebello, which is in East L.A.  Without hesitation Neil and the band caravanned to the venue.  Steve’s band who was playing the gig that night were alerted that Neil was coming so word began to spread.  By the time Neil and the band arrived, the place was packed.  Neil and the 10-piece band set up in a very small space with no stage and did a set of songs from the album which was well received by the crowd.  Rick Rosas, Steve Lawrence, and Tom Bray can be seen in Neil’s video for the song “This Note’s For You.”  Rick went on to play on Neil’s next album, “Freedom,” which included the anthem “Rockin’ In the Free World.”  Rick invited me to come to the video shoot of the song, which was done at a junk yard in San Fernando, California.  I was there for the duration of the taping, but didn’t get a chance to meet Neil.

     After recording and touring with Neil Young in 1988 and ’89, Rick Rosas didn’t play with Neil again until a string of albums and tours starting with “Prairie Wind” in 2003 and continuing with “Living With War,” “Chrome Dreams,” and “Fork In the Road.”  I particularly liked the “Prairie Wind” album, my favorite songs being “The Painter,” “No Wonder,” Falling Off the Face of the Earth,” and the humorous song about Elvis, “He Was the King.”  Rick was also a band member in Neil’s 2006 concert film “Heart of Gold” and its 2009 sequel “Neil Young Trunk Show.”  Also in 2006, he played bass on the “Freedom of Speech” tour with CSNY.  Rick invited me to their show in Irvine, California.  Neil performed many of the “Living With War” songs on that tour on which our old friend Tom Bray, from the aforementioned Elijah horn section, played trumpet on a couple of songs.

     Before playing with Neil, Rick had recorded and toured extensively with Joe Walsh in the ‘80s.  It pleases me to know that Rick Rosas’ time as my bassist from 1964-1974, performing live and recording for GNP Crescendo Records, Kapp Records, Capitol Records, and A&M Records, gave him the tools an experience necessary for his later opportunities with Joe Walsh and Neil Young.  Our mantra was to lock the bass in with the bass drum, get in the right groove, and keep in simple.  This formula served Rick well, especially when working with Neil.  When Buffalo Springfield reunited for a short tour in 2009, Rick was the bass player.  He invited me and Ernie Hernandez (the drummer who played with us throughout the ‘60s and early ‘70s) to their concert at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles.  It was mind blowing to see my former bass player playing with the band we loved so much when we were growing up in East L.A.  Rick introduced us to Richie Furay backstage before the show and he couldn’t have been nicer.  I was very happy to meet Richie and talk with him a bit.

     Neil Young is an exceptional electric guitar player.  He’s not a shredder or technically proficient like Carlos Santana or Eddie Van Halen.  He doesn’t have to be.  He has a unique style, which is very melodic and has an identifiable sound.  He also plays with great confidence and passion.  Some of my favorite Neil Young guitar parts and solos can be heard in the following songs; “Mr. Soul,” “Down By the River,” “Woodstock,” “Almost Cut My Hair,” “Southern Man,” and “Ohio.”  On most of these songs he uses a whammy bar to great effect.  It’s a major tool in his arsenal.  He also often plays without a pick, which gives the guitar a smoother, more organic sound.  Most of his electric guitar work in his post-Buffalo Springfield career features his guitar known as “Old Black,” a 1953 Gibson Gold Top, which was painted black at some point in time.  With this guitar and his rig there’s some distortion and a lot of sustained notes.  With the use of his tailpiece Bigsby whammy bar, he makes his guitar sing.  Neil plays lead guitar freely, letting the heart, soul, and spirit of the music take him where it will.  You can tell his solos are not mapped out or pre-planned.  He just takes off and lets it fly.  On the softer side he can play with great sensitivity and beauty like he did backing Richie Furay on “Sad Memory” or the way his simple electric guitar with amp vibrato served “For What It’s Worth.”

     Neil’s a real artist using the acoustic guitar to accompany his singing.  He usually plays acoustic without a pick.  Neil comes up with great signature guitar parts on songs like “Tell Me Why,” “Old Man,” and “The Needle and the Damage Done.”  He often uses D modal tuning on electric and acoustic.  Examples of songs using this tuning on electric songs are “Ohio,” Cinnamon Girl,” and “When You Dance.”  On acoustic he uses it on “Don’t Let It Bring You Down,” his acoustic version of “Mr. Soul,” and “The Old Laughing Lady.”  Bringing the high and low E strings down a step to D gives the guitar a droning sound because they ring through many of the chord changes.  Check out his guitar work on “The Old Laughing Lady” in the movie “Heart of Gold” and you’ll see and hear an impressive example of his use of D modal tuning.  On the early versions of “Don’t Let It Bring You Down,” including on the “After the Gold Rush” album, Neil tunes his whole guitar down a step and then detunes the E strings down another step.  This puts the song in the key of C while still using the D modal tuning and fingering and makes the guitar sound incredibly deep and husky.  In addition to his guitar playing, Neil accompanies himself beautifully on piano, banjo, and harmonica. 

     Neil Young is a great songwriter who never seems to run out of ideas or inspiration.  He’s incredibly prolific and hasn’t slowed down since he came on the scene almost 50 years ago!  One would think with all his success he would rest on his laurels for a spell, but he keeps on writing and recording.  He’s one of the few artists who emerged in the 1960s who is still relevant.  Each new generation discovers and embraces him and his music.  He’s not afraid to try new things and explore musical genres, such as his rockabilly album and electronic albums of the ‘80s.  He’s also not afraid to take on the establishment, even presidents.  The song “Ohio” and his album “Living With War,” which includes the songs “Mission Accomplished” and “Impeach the President,” attest to this.  He also has a great and unique sense of melody.  His songwriting can be musically simple; “Cinnamon Girl,” “Helpless,” “Heart of Gold,” and “Lotta Love,” or more complex; “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing,” “Broken Arrow,” “Expecting To Fly,” “Here We Are In The Years,” and “Country Girl.”

     Lyrically, Neil almost always is very abstract and poetic, using a stream of consciousness way of writing.  Like Dylan, I think he starts writing what he feels and sees where it goes.  This is unlike many songwriters who have a song mapped out with maybe a title or storyline before they start writing.  On his “After the Gold Rush” album Neil wrote the great lyric “Sailing heart ships through broken harbors out on the waves in the night, still the searcher must ride the dark horse racing along in his fright.”  I would bet Neil wrote those words not knowing the “tell me why” chorus was coming.  I’m still not sure what the song is about, but I like it a lot and it works.  He paints visual pictures with his lyrics.  With Neil it’s more about feeling and emotion than clarity and logic.

     Neil Young made the most of his musical abilities to become a perennial rock star and rock & roll hall of famer.  There are many who are better guitarists, better singers, and even better songwriters than Neil, but the way he passionately delivers his songs with full commitment, along with his enormous body of work, fearless activism, and unique sound and style sets him apart and makes him one of the most popular and greatest singer/songwriters in rock history.

Neil Young’s East L.A. / Chicano Connection

In 1990, Neil Young covered “Farmer John” on his “Ragged Glory” album with Crazy Horse.  The song was originally recorded by the R&B duo Don & Dewey, but Neil’s version is definitely derived from The Premiers’ hit version of 1964.  The Premiers’ chord changes and groove are recognizable and different from Don & Dewey’s.  I also read somewhere that Neil used to play the song with Neil & the Squires back in Canada around the time The Premiers’ version was on the charts.  The Premiers were a teenage Chicano garage band from East L.A. when their version of “Farmer John” was a hit which reached #19 on the national charts.  They were managed and produced by Billy Cardenas, who also managed and/or produced other East L.A. bands such as Cannibal & the Headhunters, The Blendells, and my teenage band Mark & the Escorts.  I also noticed when I first heard Neil’s guitar solo on the short reprise of “Mr. Soul” in the intro of “Good Time Boy” on “Buffalo Springfield Again,” that it sounds like the ‘60s East L.A. style of guitar playing.  Once I learned that Neil had played The Premiers’ version when he was a teenager, I thought he may have gotten the style he used on that song from the Premiers’ record.  The Premiers’ lead guitarist, Lawrence Perez, definitely played that East L.A. style of the period.  Considering Neil Young’s recording and performing of The Premiers’ version of “Farmer John,” his aforementioned impromptu show in East L.A. in 1988, working with members of the Elijah horn section on his “This Notes For You” and “Freedom” albums, extensively using Rick Rosas on bass, and singing “Cinnamon Girl” backed by East L.A.’s Los Lobos at the Bridge School Benefit in 2005, and Los Lobos opening for Neil on tour in 2012, one can see, whether he's award of it or not, Neil Young has a definite Chicano/East L.A. connection.


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