Posts Tagged Poco
Poco was the best of the early wave of light country-rock bands that formed in the late 60s. Poco paved the way for all that followed, including the Eagles. Their second album, the eponymous Poco, was released on May 6, 1970 and generated a good buzz among the critics and hippy folk/country types, but like most of their other albums, it fell short of expectations on the charts and in stores. Despite the quality and innovation of their music, Poco never found a mass audience, and the defection of key players over the years didn’t help. But Poco’s sustainability is unparalleled in the genre; the band’s still in action today.
Jim Messina and Richie Furay abandoned the derelict supergroup Buffalo Springfield in 1968 to form another in Poco during the rise of the L.A. country-rock craze. Joined by veterans-Rusty Young, George Grantham and Randy Meisner, the band’s first album, Pickin’ Up The Pieces (1969) showed huge promise as a genre groundbreaker. But bassist Meisner left afterwards (eventually to join the Eagles) and was replaced by Timothy B. Schmitt (another future Eagle) for Poco and the live LP Deliverin’ (1971). Paul Cotton replaced Messina in 1972 when the latter jumped to an MOR pop duo with Kenny Loggins, and Furay quit in 1973, frustrated by Poco’s lack of financial success. Grantham left in 1978, leaving Young and Cotton to forge ahead and find success with the Top 15 album Legend in 1979 (and its Top 20 hits “Crazy Love” and “Heart Of The Night”) and some decent albums in the 80s.
Poco is terrific light country-rock, with guitar hooks, vocal harmonies, pedal steel twang and an overall laidback sound that grabbed critics and FM radio listeners then and still has appeal today. Surprisingly, the album yielded no hits, despite an obvious candidate in “You Better Think Twice.” And then there’s the curious 18-minute jam on Side 2 titled “El Tonto Del Nadie Regrasa,” a Latin-flavored experiment that is far from a flop but makes you wonder what those guys were thinking. Poco the band is in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault and Poco the album is available on Amazon and iTunes.
Hard core fans of psychedelic rock know Moby Grape was one of the premier bands of the era, despite the fact that they really weren’t a psych-rock outfit in a strict sense. Regardless of their genre label, the Grape had a terrific series of albums between 1967 and 1972, including their fourth, Moby Grape ’69, which came out on January 30, 1969. While their 1967 self-titled debut album is widely acclaimed as one of the best 60s albums of the psych-rock era, Moby Grape ’69 was no slouch.
Never prone to the drawn out, self-indulgent, often pretentious instrumental improvisations of some of their San Francisco brethren, Moby Grape featured a five-man, three-guitar lineup with roots in Canada, the Pacific Northwest and Southern California. With all five musicians sharing the songwriting, the Grape produced a wide variety of sounds, blending elements of blues, rock ‘n roll, country and folk into a rootsy mix with just enough spacey, acid-rock to put them in the realm of psychedelia. Moby Grape ’69 found the band honing their sound with deeper country and folk influences, presaging the mellow country-rock of the 70s. Fans of Poco (click here) and the Eagles (here) in particular will enjoy Moby Grape ’69 and its predecessors, Truly Fine Citizen (July 1969) and 20 Granite Creek (1971).
Lip-synching on music shows aired from a TV studio was an accepted practice in the 60s and early 70s. But a growing trend toward “real” live performances is evidenced by Poco’s rendition (click here) of “A Good Feelin’ To Know” on a TV/radio simulcast with album-rock station WPLJ-fm in New York in 1972. The song was the title track to the fifth studio album from one of the longest running country-rock bands. The line-up pictured here was their early 70s version. Founding member, lead vocalist and guitarist Richie Furay would leave in a year, bassist Tim Schmit went to the Eagles in 1977 and drummer George Grantham quit in 1978. Guitarists Rusty Young and Paul Cotton continued on with various replacements in the 80s and the band continues performing to this day. Poco is in the Playlist Vault at DrRock.com and A Good Feelin’ To Know is available from Amazon and iTunes.