The Man, The Myth, The Messina… Jim Messina, That Is
Today we celebrate the birthday of the man who’s played a part of a number of notable rock ‘n’ roll groups over the years, but we’re going to honor Jim Messina by shining a spotlight of five tracks from our catalog, because that’s just how we roll. Fortunately for you, they’re all pretty great, and if we’re lucky, maybe a couple of them have flown under your radar up this point. Either way, we hope you’ll give ‘em a listen and think fondly of Mr. Messina as you do so.
1. Buffalo Springfield, “Carefree Country Day” (1968): When Buffalo Springfield recorded their second album, BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD AGAIN, Messina worked as an engineer, which put in prime position to be selected as the band’s new bassist when Bruce Palmer’s vices got the best of him and led to his deportation back to Canada. Although Messina wasn’t in the band long – stay tuned for more details on that matter – he did at least manage to write this song and take the lead vocal on the track, which can be found on side one on Buffalo Springfield’s third album, LAST TIME AROUND.
2. Neil Young, “The Emperor of Wyoming” (1968): Fortunately, unemployment wasn’t a problem for Messina in the wake of Buffalo Springfield’s breakup, thanks to one of his fellow bandmates. When Young went into the studio to record his self-titled debut album, he took Messina with him, and when all was said and done, eight out of the LP’s ten tracks featuring bass work by Messina.
3. Casey Kelly, “You Can’t Get There from Here” (1972): This is the only track on Kelly’s self-titled debut album to feature Messina, but it’s worth noting primarily because Kelly isn’t generally known as a musician. Not that he’s not talented, mind you, but he’s made his bones over the years as a songwriter, scoring four top-10 country hits over the years: “Anyone Who Isn’t Me Tonight,” by Kenny Rogers and Dottie West; “Somewhere Down the Line,” by T.G. Sheppard; “The Cowboy Rides Away,” by George Strait; and “Soon,” by Tanya Tucker.
4. Jim Messina, “Money Alone” (1981): While it’s not exactly shocking to find that Messina played a major role in his own solo album, it’s quite possible that you never even knew he released a solo album in 1981, since it didn’t exactly shift major units. Still, this is the track that led off the LP, so now at least you have an idea what it sounds like.
5. Buffalo Springfield, “Kind Woman” (1968): Yes, we know this isn’t in chronological order, but it just seemed appropriate to bookend the piece with the only other Buffalo Springfield in which Messina had a hand. It’s also a notable track because it’s the last track on the last of the band’s three albums. Of course, even though he was a short-timer in the band and barely had a chance to spread his wings as a musician and songwriter before there was no more band to be had, but as history reveals, Messina more than landed on his feet.