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Today’s post is another entry in the Evolution Series. This time focused on Stephen Stills’ “Bluebird.”
“Bluebird” was originally recorded when Stills was with the Buffalo Springfield. Another song supposedly written for Judy Collins (Suite: Judy Blue Eyes being the other), it was released in multiple versions. The first was on Buffalo Springfield Again (1967) and ran about 4½ minutes. It was also released as the follow up single to their big hit “For What It’s Worth” in a version edited down to 2 minutes. In 1973, the band released a 2 disc “greatest hits” compilation simply titled Buffalo Springfield that contained a longer 9 minute version. That’s the first SotW.
This is a vinyl rip because this version has never been released on CD and is currently out of print. The psychedelic Technicolor extended jam, and Stills and Young guitar solos (a preview of what would come from CSNY) begins right about where you would expect the banjo ending to start in the standard album version.
A couple of years later, in 1969, Joe Walsh’s James Gang released their first album, Yer’ Album. This disc contained a slowed down, dreamy 6 minute version of “Bluebird.”
As proof that you can’t keep a good song down, it was recorded again by Hookfoot and chosen as the lead off cut for their 1971 self-titled album. Hookfoot was a band featuring members of Elton John’s earliest touring band – guitarist Caleb Quaye, Ian Duck, Roger Pope and David Glover — all of whom also played on John’s Tumbleweed Connection, one of his best albums.
Their version is a little peppier, funkier and more guitar driven.
Other versions are also available for you to check out. Bonnie Raitt included it on her debut record and Stills, who has been known to recycle his own songs, closed Stephen Stills 2 with “Bluebird Revisited.”
One more thing… For kicks and giggles you should check out this YouTube video of a 1967 episode of the CBS detective show Mannix that features Buffalo Springfield playing “Bluebird” in a “hippy” nightclub scene.
Enjoy… until next week.