Mr. Soul – Buffalo Springfield

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………on March 3rd of 1966 Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin created the group, Buffalo Springfield. Their stay on the Rock music scene would only last a couple of years before the group would fragment. Stills teamed up with David Crosby of The Byrds and Graham Nash of The Hollies to form Crosby, Stills and Nash, while Young released several solo projects before joining them. Furay got together with Jim Messina and Randy Meisner to create Poco in 1968. Palmer dropped out of the lime light while Martin toured as Buffalo Springfield with fill-in musicians. From 1967 from the LP “Buffalo Springfield Again” comes “Mr. Soul”. The song  was written and performed by Neil Young, the contested frontman for Buffalo Springfield, backed up by co-frontmen Richie Furay and Stephen Stills. One hardly knows where to begin with this song’s lyrics. In just three short verses with no chorus, Young practically flaunts his lyrical prowess at this early stage in his career. He invokes both Beatles and early proto-punk, in verses that manage to be both angry and whimsical at the same time. Like the team of Lennon-McCartney, Young and Stills experienced friendly rivalry with their equally matched talents that also inspired each of them to top the other, bringing their work to an edginess that drove them to brilliance. At the time of “Mr. Soul,” Young was wavering on leaving the band. His first departure was on the eve of Buffalo Springfield’s booking to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, which he was vehemently opposed to. Young later told British music magazine Mojo, “I thought it was belittling what the Buffalo Springfield was doing. That audience wouldn’t have understood us. We’d have been just a f–kin’ curiosity to them.” The book Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History says that this song “was likely more indicative of where his [Young’s] head truly was. Much like the songs from the Springfield’s debut, ‘Mr. Soul’ suggests that Young’s work was still razor-sharp, even when it was coming from a very unhappy place.”