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Jeff Moehlis: Richie Furay Is Still Fine

Co-founder of Buffalo Springfield and Poco plays fabulous concert at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez

We’re really quite lucky that Richie Furay has made two visits to our part of the world in the past year. Last June, he was here for the reunion of Buffalo Springfield, which played two superb shows at the Santa Barbara Bowl. And last Wednesday, he played at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez as the headliner for the first show of the 10th anniversary of the concert series Tales From the Tavern, after a charming set by Gretchen Peters.

Furay was joined by the “multigenerational family band” made up of his daughter Jesse Lynch (vocals), the amazing Scott Sellen (guitar, banjo, lap steel, keyboard and vocals), Sellen’s son Aaron (bass) and Alan Lemke (drums).

To the crowd’s delight, there were Buffalo Springfield songs on the program from all three of the principal songwriters: Neil Young (the kickoff song “On the Way Home,” and a first-album medley of “Flying on the Ground Is Wrong,” “Do I Have to Come Right Out and Say It” and “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing” (Furay joked that they wouldn’t let him sing his own songs on that album); Stephen Stills (“Go and Say Goodbye,” which Furay described as one of his favorite Stills songs); and, of course, Furay himself (“Sad Memory,” which Furay sang beautifully despite a recent bout with laryngitis, and his signature song “Kind Woman,” dedicated to his wife as they approach their 45th anniversary).

Commenting on the recent reunion, Furay said, “We had a blast,” and it was a “good time reconnecting as people, as friends, as musicians.”

Furay also played a number of songs from Poco, the pioneering country rock band he co-founded after Buffalo Springfield’s demise, including “You Better Think Twice” dedicated to Poco co-founder and local resident Jim Messina, and the main set closer “A Good Feelin’ to Know,” which got people up on their feet.

Another was a show highlight for me: the “prog country rock” tribute to Gram Parsons called “Crazy Eyes,” which Furay joked took up “almost all of Side Two of the last Poco recording I had the pleasure to be part of.” This required Sellen to switch, deftly, between guitar, banjo, lap steel guitar and keyboard. Apparently Poco never played this song live, and it seems to be a relatively new addition to the Richie Furay Band’s repertoire. What a treat!

There were also some nice newer songs, including “Baby Why” sung by his daughter, the catchy “Wake Up My Soul” and the show closer “Still Fine.”

Between two songs, Furay recalled that the Maverick Saloon served as the rehearsal hall for the 2009 Poco reunion at the Stagecoach Festival in Indio. He told how original Poco drummer George Grantham wanted to sing a verse of “Pickin’ Up the Pieces” at that festival, a big deal after having had a stroke several years before. I’m happy to report that all went well for that, as can be seen by clicking here.

Overall, the Richie Furay Band put on a fabulous show! I think it’s safe to say that Furay would be most welcome back to these parts anytime.

Setlist

On the Way Home (Buffalo Springfield)
You Better Think Twice (Poco)
Crazy Eyes (Poco)
Medley: Flying on the Ground is Wrong / Do I Have to Come Right Out and Say It / Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing (Buffalo Springfield)
A Man Like Me (Poco)
Anyway Bye Bye (Poco)
You Are the One (Poco)
Baby Why
Go and Say Goodbye (Buffalo Springfield)
Wake Up My Soul
Sad Memory (Buffalo Springfield)
Falling Into Your Love (Alan Lemke)
Callin’ Out Your Name
A Good Feelin’ to Know (Poco)

Encore

Kind Woman (Buffalo Springfield)
Still Fine

Noozhawk contributing writer Jeff Moehlis is a professor of mechanical engineering at UCSB. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his Web site, music-illuminati.com.

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