BRUCE PALMER (Buffalo Springfield) The Cycle Is Complete (1971) – Two Very Different Versions Of The Bassist’s Only Solo Album

The Cycle Is Complete (LP)The Cycle Is Complete (CC)
The Cycle Is Complete (Vinyl) (1971)
The Cycle Is Complete (CD) (2010)
Two Vastly Different Versions Of The Same Album

Competing with Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Richie Furay for creative space within Buffalo Springfield, it’s not surprising that bassist Bruce Palmer never wrote or sang any material for the short-lived super-group (before they knew they were super). Post Springfield, after years of dealing with pot busts and Canadian deportation issues, Palmer would eventually channel his individuality into his only solo album, The Cycle Is Complete – an esoteric, meandering, slightly psychedelic instrumental LP featuring 4 folky/jazzy, multi-layered jam improvisations, backed by members of the 60s group Kaleidoscope… and funkster Rick James (before he knew he was Rick James). The All Music Guide, giving it 4-1/2 stars, posits “the end result is something along the lines of latter-era Traffic and the psychedelic soul of Rotary Connection.” But that description suggests coherence, which Cycle rarely trafficks in. The album was, as you might imagine, totally ignored back in the day. In 2010, Collector’s Choice would re-issue the LP on compact disc, but… in a vastly different form, featuring totally different mixes for much of the material – while substituting around 11 minutes of the LP with unreleased material. Julian Cope’s Head Heritage explains: “The majority of the album consists of a pair of tracks cut from the same hours-long cloth of improvisation that was excerpted and stitched together into two sprawling instrumentals, “Alpha-Omega-Apocalypse” and “Oxo.” However, both of these tracks on the CD reissue do not match those found on the original Verve-Forecast album. Although “Oxo,” from the original album, is present in its entirety on the CD, it’s as the final 7 minutes of “Alpha-Omega-Apocalypse,” while conversely: “Alpha-Omega-Apocalypse” (from approximately 4:20-9:00) is used as the first 4:40 minutes of the CD version of “Oxo.” Outside of these two overlapping transpositions, about 11 minutes of previously unreleased material is present on the CD version while much of the album version of “Alpha-Omega-Apocalypse” (remains) unique to the LP. So, The Cycle Is Complete on CD is not…complete.” Further… the CD’s liner notes offer no explanation for the missing/additional music (though the track times are relatively similar). Palmer would disappear from the radar after this album’s release, resurfacing in the 80s for a brief time with Neil and a couple different Springfield revival bands in the 90s. Too bad… he had a lot to offer creatively, which both of these albums make clear. Hear the CD version of “Interlude,” below. Find both versions of The Cycle Is Complete – Vinyl (HERE) & CD (HERE) – at Amazon.

Alpha-Omega-Apocalypse (16:43)/(16:42)
Interlude (1:58)/(1:58)
Oxo (7:08)/(7:57)
Calm Before The Storm (9:55)/(10:12)
Timing = (Vinyl)/(CD)


  • Capt. Willard
    June 23, 2009 - 16:34 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • Art Ducko
    June 24, 2009 - 05:08 | Permalink

    Groovy stuff, Willard. The Traffic comparison is very apt. I read his bio as this downloaded, & realized that this was part of his legacy. Very sad when great music is ignored. It looks like he was a victim of too many chiefs & not enough Indians during his tenure with Buffalo Springfield. Thanks for spreading the word.

  • Capt. Willard
    June 24, 2009 - 05:32 | Permalink

    Hi pj,
    Apparenty, he wasn't as motivated by stardom as his bandmates were, either. His disappearance after this album kind of drives the idea home and it's been written he was even camera shy. This album really has a totally live and improvised feel, which is pretty cool. The track "Interlude" is really Traffic-like.

  • Art Ducko
    June 24, 2009 - 06:47 | Permalink

    It's all good stuff. Musician's lives are always the most interesting to follow. The greats & the near-greats all follow the Muse for good or ill, but we reap the benefits by loving their sounds & spreading the word. You do the ultimate service by letting others know of their lesser-known works & informing the public. Thanks again, pard.

  • stuckinthe70s
    June 24, 2009 - 21:30 | Permalink

    thanks will enjoy this – steve.

  • Johnny Vandal
    June 25, 2009 - 03:56 | Permalink

    About time somebody posted this! Huzzah!

  • Anonymous
    July 9, 2009 - 21:15 | Permalink

    Wow! Never knew this existed, which is a deep, deep shame. Thanks for sharing!

  • englishspot
    October 14, 2011 - 11:43 | Permalink

    Awesome. Great headphone tripping tunes, thanks.

    • Willard
      October 14, 2011 - 12:59 | Permalink

      Definitely a headphones LP.

  • keef
    October 16, 2011 - 13:58 | Permalink

    i think its sad that he and the drummer were so keen on the reunion[needing the money i guess]that was discussed for 10yrs or so and it was only after their death that it happened

  • October 16, 2011 - 20:11 | Permalink

    I actually bought this album when it was released and lost it somewhere along the way (perhaps it was that night my college roomie taught me how to skeet shoot) but it is great to hear this once again!

  • MS
    October 28, 2011 - 18:49 | Permalink

    Really great stuff – just happened to be reading about the Springfield’s upcoming “reunion” tour, and saw this. Unexpected, wonderful – the usual hallmarks of a great Capt. post. Thanks!

  • belloq
    November 8, 2011 - 00:16 | Permalink

    Wow, indeed.
    I’m hitting the headphones in a few, after I sneak a reefer while walking the dog.
    Thanks for this.

    • Willard
      November 8, 2011 - 01:01 | Permalink

      Better keep that canine in treats or he’ll rat you out.

  • Lee
    January 30, 2013 - 07:40 | Permalink

    Turning me on to so much great stuff! Thanks!

  • pb
    July 21, 2015 - 21:03 | Permalink

    Thanks. The CD version is easy enough to find but I’ve been looking for the LP. One note: the folder labels are switched (the CD is labelled as the LP and vice versa) although it’s easy enough to tell the difference once you hear it.

    • Willard
      July 26, 2015 - 14:43 | Permalink

      Fixed. Thanks for the note.

  • eggman
    July 27, 2015 - 07:47 | Permalink

    W, the vinyl version is 192 kbps, the cd one 320 (or so ‘says’ my computer). Not that I care, just FYI

    • Willard
      July 27, 2015 - 09:56 | Permalink

      Yeah, that’s what I’ve got listed on the download page. The upgrade I did for this one was the CD version.

  • perrinyone
    July 27, 2015 - 18:13 | Permalink

    Hey Willard, Just seeing this one now, thanks for hipping us/me to this one, I never even heard of this! I’ve discovered so much great stuff here at WW, you’re certainly due a big giant thanks! Downloading now, am very intrigued, can’t wait!

  • Anonymous
    August 1, 2015 - 11:21 | Permalink

    Sad to say that at the time I dismissed this as an album by a player who was ‘just the drummer’. Other than Ginger Baker and Carl Palmer of EL&P, I don’t think I was “aware” of any other rock drummer. They were just the drummers in the background! This is the first info I have ever come across about this album and I fear I missed a record I would have really enjoyed. Many thanks, Willard, for the opportunity to correct that situation – and a double dose to boot!


    • Willard
      August 1, 2015 - 11:55 | Permalink

      Actually, you’re thinking of Dewey Martin. Palmer was the band’s bassist. But, I’m curious to know what a first time listener of this album thinks about it. It’s not typical at all, and not for all tastes.

  • English Spot
    August 9, 2015 - 08:06 | Permalink

    Wow, thanks!

  • jack bond
    November 27, 2015 - 07:57 | Permalink

    Thank you Captain

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