TITLE: Pickin’ Up the Pieces
YEAR RELEASED: 1969
CHART ACTION: #63
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I’d like to say so, but, um, I don’t think so.
LINEUP: Jim Messina, Richie Furay, Rusty Young, Randy Meisner, George Grantham with Bobby Doyle and Milt Holland.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Two ex-Buffalo Springfield members join with their former road manager and others they knew to form what was supposed to be the first commercial country rock band. Didn’t quite work out that way.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Richie Furay was overshadowed in Buffalo Springfield by Neil Young and Steven Stills. He wrote and sang some decent songs for that band, but as seemingly the third wheel in the band with so many egos. Jim Messina (who was a recording studio whiz and was working on their album when duty called) joined the band late as a replacement bassist, and felt right at home with Furay’s laid back, country-folk tunes. Soon after Buffalo Springfield imploded, a new band coalesced around Furay and Messina featuring their secret weapon, steel guitarist Rusty Young.
Lots of hype came with this record, and a lot of money was spent by Epic to promote them. It didn’t sell that much. There wasn’t a single released, though “What a Day” probably could have made the charts. It’s an important record in the history of country rock, but as a record itself, it’s decent.
Myself, I think Furay’s works are a little lightweight (he dominated the songwriting and the sound of the album). The band harmonizes nicely and Young is a great steel player and can play most anything stringed. But the songs just are a little fluffy to my ears. Still, to hear Young play is a decent reason to give it a whirl.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Meisner quit the group when he was barred from the playback sessions for the album. His three lead vocals were re-done by Grantham. Meisner recovered nicely, playing with Rick Nelson then forming the Eagles, where he made bank, of course.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B-: Rusty Young saves this album from being dishwater dull.