The first in a long line of compilation albums, The Very Best of Poco features highlights from the band's career from 1969-1974. When released on CD in the late 80s, the album omits two tracks originally on the album, "Railroad Days" and "Skatin" for space reasons.
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 Buffalo Springfield. Throughout the years Poco has performed in various groupings, and is still active today.
During recording of the third Buffalo Springfield album (Last Time Around), each of the three lead singers (Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Richie Furay) recorded songs without the other members present. One of Furay's solo songs was the country-influenced ballad "Kind Woman", which he recorded with the help of producer/engineer/bassist Jim Messina and pedal steel guitarist Rusty Young. When Buffalo Springfield then split up, Furay, Messina and Rusty Young decided to start their own group oriented toward such songs.
The original lineup of this new group was Furay (vocals and rhythm guitar), Messina (lead guitar, vocals, producer), Young (pedal steel guitar, banjo, Dobro, guitar, mandolin and vocals), George Grantham (drums and vocals) and Randy Meisner (bass and vocals). The group was signed to a recording contract with Epic Records, which acquired the rights to Furay from Atlantic Records (the Springfield's label) in return for the rights to Graham Nash from the Hollies (who was moving to Atlantic as part of Crosby, Stills & Nash). Originally, the new group was named "Pogo" after the famous comic strip character, but it had to change its name when Pogo creator Walt Kelly objected to their use of the name and threatened to sue. "Poco" in Spanish and Italian means "little" or "un-", as "poco importante", and is also a musical term meaning "a little" or "by small measures".
Their first album, Pickin' Up the Pieces (1969), was considered an important seminal album of the country rock genre. Reviewer Charley Walters awarded the release with 5 stars in the 1979 Rolling Stone Record Guide edited by Dave Marsh and John Swenson , although it was subsequently reduced to 4 stars in the 1983 revised and updated edition of the book. However, the album failed commercially, peaking at #63 on Billboard album chart.
The band's lineup proved to be a problem throughout their career. During the recording of the debut album, Meisner left the group as a result of a conflict with Furay (reportedly, Meisner had objected after Furay barred all but himself and Messina from the first album's final mix playback sessions). After a stint playing with Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon Band, Meisner later became a founding member of the Eagles. Messina assumed the bass chores until Timothy B. Schmit joined Poco in September 1969.
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