By David Chiu
The Byrds pioneered the style and the Eagles mined it, but Poco epitomized “country rock.” Although the group neither had the legendary history of the former group nor the commercial success of the latter, Poco’s emphasis on shimmering jangling guitars, rustic sensibilities and harmony singing provided the musical template of the country-influenced groups that came after them. Gold is the most comprehensive chronicle of the band’s output drawing from their output on the Epic, ABC and RCA labels. With members past and present such as Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Randy Meisner, Timothy B. Schmit, Rusty Young, Paul Cotton and George Grantham, Poco had some good songs in its catalog such as “Pickin’ Up the Pieces” and the Schmit composition “Keep On Tryin’”, and even a cover of Steely Dan’s Dallas. Romantic-sounding fare such as “Heart of the Night,” “Crazy Love” and the driving comeback “Call it Love” are pleasant, even if it borders on MOR/lite-pop. Remarkably this group is still around as evident on a couple of recent tracks featured on the second disc. Poco may not be a household name—for better or worse— these days, but its influence on country rock is undeniable.