TITLE: The Essential Poco
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Charting: You Better Think Twice (#72), C’Mon (#69), Just for Me and You (#110), Crazy Love (#17), Heart of the Night (#20), Shoot for the Moon (#50), Call It Love (#18), Nothing to Hide (#39)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Pickin’ Up the Pieces, Kind Woman
LINEUP: Originally: Richie Furay, Rusty Young, Jim Messina, George Grantham, Randy Meisner. Timothy B. Schmit replaced Meisner. Paul Cotton replaced Messina. Cotton and Young were around with Charlie Harrison, Steve Chapman, and Kim Bullard when they had their first two Top 40 hits. The original band came back for their last two hits. Rock never dies.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: One of the original country-rock bands (taking cues from the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers) was mega-hyped thanks to their Buffalo Springfield connections, but never found the sweet spot the Eagles did.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Trouble began early for Poco, when Randy Meisner quit the band right after the sessions for the first album were done and a dog was airbrushed into the album cover. The band never really recovered, though they keep plugging along.
Richie Furay and Jim Messina were supposed to be the meal tickets, thanks to their involvement with Buffalo Springfield, but it turned out Rusty Young and Messina’s replacement Paul Cotton kept the band going and more or less shaped their sound which became more country as time went on. Soon the band became more middle-of-the-road than anything else, a big disappointment from what was expected in 1969.
Poco’s work never found the niche where country-rock would work, and they either jammed too long or took the edge off too much. Only a few tracks rose above the rest, and this collection hits the high marks for the most part.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The original group got back together (if Little Feat could do it without their most important member, why not an intact Poco?) and got their second-biggest hit out of it.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: B: It’s a solid collection from a band that was called “the most overrated underrated band” by Robert Christgau. That hits home.