Lost Classics! Poco

1968

In the late 1960s, country rock was still in its infancy.  And frankly, not a whole lot of people knew exactly what it was – even some of its better practitioners.  But in 1968, along came this band Poco, and they seemed to have a pretty good idea of what they were doing. 

The lineage of this band had great promise: Richie Furay came out of the fractured Buffalo Springfield, and Jim Messina was that band’s last bass player and producer.  Furay and Messina recruited multi-instrumentalist Rusty Young (who played on Furay’s “Kind Woman” for the Springfield), drummer George Grantham and bass player Randy Meisner. 

When the fledgling band went looking for a record label, they were helped out by Furay’s old Buffalo Springfield band mate Stephen Stills, who negotiated a baseball-like “trade”: Furay and Messina’s band would go to Columbia/Epic in exchange for David Crosby (Byrds) and Graham Nash (the Hollies).  Crosby-Nash joined Stills on Atlantic, the Buffalo Springfield’s old label, and you know what happened there.

Poco’s first album from 1969, Pickin’ Up The Pieces, ranks as a country rock classic along with the Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo and the first Flying Burrito Brothers album.  Songs like “Grand Junction” and the title track had the singular twang of country but the instant catchiness of the best rock and pop.  Meisner quit before the album was even released; he joined singers Glenn Frey and Don Henley in a new band they were creating, and you know what happened there.

Meisner’s replacement, Timothy B. Schmidt, appeared on the second Poco album from 1970 and it was pretty much Furay’s show here, save for Messina’s pop gem “You Better Think Twice.”  Jim Messina left after this, he was replaced by Paul Cotton; Messina linked up with Kenny Loggins to be a duo, and well, you know.

Furay would record one more semi-classic with Poco, A Good Feelin’ To Know, before he quit to become a full-time preacher and part-time singer/songwriter.   Schmidt would quit and later join … you know, and the Rusty Young/Paul Cotton lineup would soldier on through the 1970s and beyond.  Lest you think good things kept happening around these guys, and not to them, the Young/Cotton legend_coverlineup finally struck gold with the album Legend  and the top 20 hits “Crazy Love” (by Young) and “Heart Of The Night” (by Cotton).   The original Poco lineup reunited in 1989 and the resulting album, Legacy, was pretty horrible (it featured a ballad written by Richard Marx!).

You can still see Poco touring around, mostly in the West, with Young and Cotton and some other guys.  Here’s some Poco trivia: they were originally named Pogo but changed a letter after being threatened with a lawsuit for ripping off Walt Kelly’s comic strip “Pogo.”  Phil Hartman, the former “Saturday Night Live” comedian who was killed by his wife, did the cover illustration for Legend, and that iconic pony appeared in some form on subsequent Poco albums. 

MP3: “Pickin’ Up The Pieces”  (1969)

MP3: “You Better Think Twice” (1970)

MP3: “A Good Feelin’ To Know” (1972)

MP3: “Rose Of Cimarron” (1976)

MP3: “Crazy Love”

MP3: “Heart Of The Night”

MP3: “Call It Love” (1989)

MP3: “When It All Began” (1989)

Poco official website

3 Responses to “Lost Classics! Poco”

  1. Great band that put on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. I was fortunate enough to have seen them several times, and their harmonies could make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.

  2. Richie Furay is now a pastor of a church in Broomfield (Denver area) and still plays and sings…albeit different genre.

    http://www.calvarybroomfield.org/pastor-richie.php

  3. Thanks for the update, Oracle!

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