Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

POCO

Country-rock band formed '68 in LA. Buffalo Springfield survivors Richie Furay and Jim Messina recruited steel guitarist Rusty Young (b 23 Feb. '46, Long Beach CA), who'd played on the last Springfield LP and recommended drummer George Grantham and bassist Randy Meisner, from Colorado groups Boenzee Cryque and the Poor respectively. First called Pogo, after comic strip, but creator sued; auditioned for Apple, then Epic: after first LP Pickin' Up The Pieces '69 Meisner quit to join Rick Nelson, replaced by Tim Schmit (b 30 Oct. '47, Sacramento); Messina quit after Poco '70 (with a long instrumental on one side) and live Deliverin' The Goods '71, replaced by ex-Illinois Speed Press vocalist/guitarist Paul Cotton (b 26 Feb. '43): this was the most creative lineup, both Cotton and Furay prolific songwriters. From The Inside '71 followed by acclaimed A Good Feelin' To Know '73, the joyous title track a minor hit single. Furay quit after Crazy Eyes '73 to join ill-fated supergroup Souther Hillman Furay (see J. D. Souther). Vocal blend especially good (Schmit sessioned, backing vocals with Steely Dan, etc); with Furay gone, Young's steel came more to the fore like an extra voice; Seven and Cantamos followed in '74; against the odds they increased sales in lucrative West Coast country rock market with Head Over Heels '75 on ABC, no. 43 LP USA, incl. almost a cappella 'Keep On Tryin''. Epic released Live (recorded '74); Rose Of Cimarron '76 and Indian Summer '77 followed. Schmit (who replaced Meisner again, this time in Eagles) and the road-weary Grantham left, replaced by Englishmen Steve Chapman on drums, bassist Charlie Harrison, both ex-Al Stewart and Leo Sayer, Kim Bullard (from Atlanta GA) added on keyboards; Legend '78 was their best seller at no. 14, incl. top 20 singles 'Crazy Love', 'Heart Of The Night'. On parent MCA for Under The Gun, Blue And Gray, Cowboys And Englishmen '80--82; Ghost Town '82 and '84 reunion Inamorata (with Furay, Grantham, Cotton, Schmit, Young) on Atlantic just made top 200 LPs. Another reunion produced Legacy on RCA '89. With the demise of the Eagles they were undisputed country-rock veterans, but slipped into an MOR vein like the Eagles before them. Furay had turned from solo career to religion before joining reunion lineups.