Category: Poco

Poco – The Essential Poco

ARTIST: Poco  The_Essential_Poco

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.

Poco – Pickin’ Up the Pieces

ARTIST: Poco  220px-Poco_1969

TITLE:  Pickin’ Up the Pieces

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #63

SINGLES: None

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.