Poco, founded in 1968 by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Richie Furay (inducted 1997 with Buffalo Springfield), was one of the earliest in the "country rock" genre commercially popularized by The Eagles through a long string of early-to mid-'70s hits like "Take It Easy and Pure Prairie League who had a string of 5 consecutive Top 40 LP's including two of the most highly acclaimed LP's in country rock, 1972's Bustin' Out (featuring the immortal single Amie) and 1975's Two Lane Highway. Poco's 1969 debut, "Pickin' Up the Pieces," received some critical acclaim but generated very litttle enthusiasm commercially.
The band's biggest legacy may very well be what various disenchanted band members accomplished after departing Poco, not while actually still in the band. While they were one of the earliest to enter the country rock genre, they failed to bring it into a large national audience, while others, most notably The Eagles and Pure Prairie League were far more successful. Years after his departure, reflecting on the band's failure to achieve a national audience, Furay stated " Glen and Don and Pure Prairie League actually did it."
Current Eagles bassist/vocalist Timothy B. Schmit replaced original Poco member Randy Meisner after Poco's debut album. Meisner was unhappy with Furay and Messina, feeling they gave him zero respect in the production of songs.Meisner went on to join Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon band and later The Eagles. Schmit later joined the Eagles in 1978.[Jimmy Messina, later of (Kenny) Loggins and Messina fame, who formed the band with Furay, departed in 1970, feeling Furay exhibited too much control. Paul Cotton replaced Messina on lead guitar in 1971.Original drummer George Grantham added a strong rock beat to country flavor picking and provided excellent harmony vocals.Other Poco members included later seventies/early eighties Drummer Steve Chapman and Bassist Charlie Harrison and current bassist Jack Sundrud. George Lawrence replaced Grantham on drums after illness took him from the band in the summer of 2004.
Poco's back catalogue includes a wide variety of styles, from 60's folk rock to 70's hard rock and from country to electric pop. The band's three first albums, "Pickin' Up The Pieces (1969)", "Poco (1970)" and "Deliverin (1970)'" all share a joyful, slightly psychedelic atmosphere. For some fans, this was the real Poco.
Guitarist/songwriter Paul Cotton's joining Poco then brought more variety and also considerably more rock punch to the band on "From the Inside (1971)", "A Good Feelin' to Know (1972)" and "Crazy Eyes (1973)" .
However, a frustrated and disappointed Furay departed , lamenting that the band had not increased it's audience since it's inception, had never reached a headline status and had failed to gain the national attention he thought it would. Despite playing in some of the top clubs on the West and East Coast, such as The Troubadour, The Fillmore East and West , The Bitter End and numerous festivals with great exposure, Poco's was still a band in search of recognition, one whose music quite simply, failed to generate any real enthusiasm.The band languished with poor sales and very little support from the public.
Poco left Epic after Cantamos and signed with ABC-Dunhill Records. Head Over Heels was their first ABC release, featuring Schmit's acoustic "Keep On Tryin'", which became the group's most successful single to date, charting at #50 on the Billboard Hot 100. Around the time of the release of Head Over Heels, The Very Best of Poco was released as a compilation album that documented the group's years with Epic. Epic's release fought with Head Over Heels for attention though neither charted very well, hitting #43 and #90, respectively.
The group's next ABC-Dunhill album was Rose Of Cimarron which also failed to generate much enthusiasm and peaked at #89. Another Epic release also came out in 1976, the live album Live. Indian Summer was released the following spring, reaching #57.
In August 1977, Schmit quit to join the Eagles, coincidentally replacing former Poco member Meisner yet again. As a result, a possible new live album was cancelled by ABC. After languishing in storage for many years, the album was eventually released as The Last Roundup in 2004.
After Schmit's departure, Poco decided to take a break. Grantham took some time off, while Young and Cotton decided to continue as the "Cotton-Young Band". Thet added Steve Chapman (drums) and Charlie Harrison (bass) to round out their new quartet. However, ABC decided to pick up the Cotton-Young album - as long as they continued under the 'Poco' name. Thus, although Grantham had never quit Poco, he found himself bought out of the group. He subsequently landed a job as drummer for Ricky Skaggs.
The new Poco couldn't have started much better, since "Legend (1978)" became band's first hit album with two TOP-20 hits. The album is very different from everything Poco had so far done and the hard rocking title track hinted for what was to follow.
The joy was short lived, however. In the 1980s, the group released five more albums: Under The Gun (1980), Blue And Gray (1981), Cowboys & Englishmen (1982) on MCA and, moving over to Atlantic Records, Ghost Town (1982) and Inamorata (1984). Poco failed to duplicate the success achieved by Legend, with each album doing more poorly than its predecessor.
After poor commercial success, Poco went into hiatus until the original line-up surprised everyone with new album "Legacy (1989)". It was also a hit album with another TOP20 hit single "Call it love". The album to many listeners was a welcome return to band's original country rock style. This line-up didn't last, however, and only recorded this one album. This wasn't the end of Poco, though. The band, now again Cotton & Young -lead, continued gigging and even made a new studio album "Running Horse" in 2002, which failed to gather much acclaim.
The band has been active in the 2000's ever since, having so far released three live albums from both recent and older concerts: "Keeping the Legend Alive", "The Last Roundup" and "Bareback at Big Sky". A concert DVD is also available. Paul Cotton's three solo albums "Changing Horses (1990)", "Firebird (2000)" and "When The Coast Is Clear" (2005)" are also available and well worth a check.
On March 11, 2010, Cotton departed the band in a rather odd way, via the internet. It was announced on Cotton's website that he would not be appearing with Poco at the Wildwood concerts, stating "It was not all that shocking when Rusty told me on Feb. 27 that he would not honor the contract that I had been requesting for over 15 years, and that this was goodbye..." On March 12, 2010, Young responded on Poco's official website: "It was a sad day when I read on Paul's website that he wasn't coming to Wildwood and I guess that means he's leaving the band." Young stated, via the band's official website, that Nashville keyboardist Michael Webb will be replacing Cotton for upcoming tour dates.
Poco continues to tour and record. Read more about Poco at http://www.poconut.com.
Poco is an American country rock band originally formed by Richie Furay and Jim Messina following the demise of Buffalo Springfield in 1968. The title of their first album, Pickin' Up The Pieces, is a reference to the break-up of the Springfield.Throughout the years Poco has performed in various groupings, with the latest version still active today.