Sunday, March 21, 2010

Poco - The ForgottenTrail (1990)

Poco has never released a box set but there are some nice compilations out there that need to be scooped up. The best one is the superlative double disc, The Forgotten Trail (1969 - 1974). It's not only for the casual fans or curiosity seekers. This is a collection for true Poco aficionados.

The package's thirty-eight songs span Poco's formative and glory years with Epic Records. Included are most of the best songs from their first eight albums plus eleven other previously unreleased tracks from 1969 to 1974. Then the quartet left Epic for MCA where Paul Cotton and Rusty Young finally led them to some much deserved commercial success.

In addition to all of the band's "hits" (and I use that term both lovingly and jokingly) there are some fantastic rarities. Among them are Richie Furay's single "My Kind of Love" backed with Timothy B. Schmidt's "Hard Luck." Both appear on an album for the first time. Young's pedal steel inflected instrumental "Last Call (Cold Enchilada #3)" was released here for the first time as was another of his wordless entries, "Skunk Creek." A special treat is an all acoustic version of Jim Messina's "You Better Think Twice" with some great guitar pickin' by the composer. There is also the never before heard Messina ballad, "Lullaby In September" that he wrote for Furay's wife as a baby shower present. She was expecting the couple's first child.

The set also includes "Pickin' Up The Pieces," "Grand Junction," the original "You Better Think Twice," "C'mon," "From The Inside," "Kind Woman," "Just For Me And You," "A Good Feelin' To Know," "And Settlin' Down," "Crazy Eyes," and Cotton's "Bad Weather," a song about the breakup of his previous group, The Illinois Speed Press. The only glaring omission is "Let's Dance Tonight."

An outstanding thirty-six page booklet is included that offers tons of biographical information about the band's golden era including interviews with most of its members. There are some nice pictures and good information about who played on the different albums, something that is necessary because Poco's lineup was constantly in flux.

The most important thing about this whole release (other than the obvious joy of listening to the music) is that it shows Poco's importance in rock history. These trailblazers heavily influenced The Eagles (whose lineup even included two former Poco members) and almost all other country-rockers. Today, anyone involved with a sub-genre often referred to as Americana owes a huge debt to the band that played a significant role in its birth. Why Rusty Young, Jim Messina, Paul Cotton, Timothy B. Schmidt, George Grantham, and Richie Furay (who was inducted with Buffalo Springfield) are not in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame is not only a mystery, it may be the museum's greatest travesty.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Charlie! There's some great stuff on that set. The level of musicianship in Poco is quite impressive.