‘Perhaps You Just Been Bought . . .’

A week ago, while discussing Glenn Yarbrough’s cover of “The French Girl,” a song first recorded by its writers, Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker, I noted that Yarbrough, specifically on his 1967 album, For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her, did me a major favor. Yarbrough, I wrote, “introduced me, in those days when I was not listening to pop and rock, to the work of some of the finest folk and folk-rock songwriters of the day. The songwriter credits on Yarbrough’s For Emily album alone contain some impressive names: Paul Simon, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Stephen Stills, Phil Ochs [and] Bob Dylan.”

And I wondered for a moment which cover on Yarbrough’s album might be the least likely. The tune that came to mind right away was “Everybody’s Wrong,” a Stephen Stills’ song that was on the first album by the Buffalo Springfield, a self-titled release from 1967. I’ve got the Springfield version, though I admit I haven’t paid much attention to the track since I got the LP during the mid-1990s.

The song is “one of Buffalo Springfield’s (and Stephen Stills’) lost early masterpieces,” says Matthew Greenwald at All Music Guide. Greenwald calls the song, “a minor folk-rock tour de force containing many classic elements of the form, yet maintaining a wholly original approach.” He goes on to say that in the song, “Stills captures emotions of confusion and uncertainty without sounding overly downcast – slightly lost and confused (and maybe a little depressed) at the state of things, yet very strong of constitution at the same. All this is not too far removed from Bob Dylan’s songs of the mid-’60s, yet ‘Everybody’s Wrong’ is by no means an imitation.”

Pretty high praise. I wondered what AMG had to say, if anything, about Yarbrough’s version, so I went looking. After generally dissing the entire album’s production as not doing justice to either Yarbrough’s voice or the songs, Richie Unterberger writes, “the clash of orchestration, country-ish folk-rock, and raga-tinged guitar on ‘Everybody’s Wrong’ rank(s) as the LP’s oddest venture.”

As I dug, I recalled another review of the For Emily album – I cannot lay my hands on it this morning – that said something to the effect that Yarbrough’s covering “Everybody’s Wrong” was the most eccentric choice on an album full of eccentric choices.

Well, maybe.

I know that my affection for Glenn Yarbrough’s catalog is itself eccentric. My pal jb of The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ noted during a crate-digging session a few years ago that I am the only Yarbrough enthusiast he knows, and he knows many people who love many types of music. But as is clear to any music lover of any age, it is the music we listen to during our teen years that stays with us most vividly for the rest of our lives. And I spent many quiet afternoons and evenings during my mid-teen years absorbing the sounds of Yarbrough’s For Emily and The Lonely Things, so it’s no wonder that his music, especially those two albums, has come along with me through the years.

Anyway, here’s Yarbrough’s version of Stills’ “Everybody’s Wrong.”

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3 Responses to “‘Perhaps You Just Been Bought . . .’”

  1. Larry Grogan says:

    That’s a great find. The Buffalo Springfield are one of my favorite 60s bands, and ‘Everybody’s Wrong’ is one of my fave songs of theirs. I had no idea anyone had covered it.

  2. […] This is a very special edition of the ILRS, with lots of groovy new arrivals and an extra long set in middle of the show devoted to cover versions of Buffalo Springfield songs (thanks to Echoes In the Wind for the inspiration). […]

  3. […] few years back the Echoes In the Wind blog posted a clip of Glenn Yarbrough performing the Stephen Stills-penned tune ‘Everybody’s […]

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