The first two-thirds of Poco
's second album is 25 minutes of some of their best music. These songs represent the group's blend of country and rock at its finest and brightest, with the happy harmonies of "Hurry Up" and "Keep on Believin'" totally irresistible. Jim Messina
's "You Better Think Twice" is a perfectly constructed and arranged song, one that should have been a huge hit but mysteriously never found its place in the Top 40 pantheon. Listening to this recording, though, it's easy to see why unimaginative radio programmers and much of the record-buying public couldn't find a niche for Poco
. The knock was "too country for rock, too rock for country," but in fact, they were just ahead of their time, a tough spot to be in the world of popular entertainment. What about the last 15 minutes of this disc? It's a lengthy instrumental called "El Tonto de Nadie, Regressa." A cynic would say it's filler, but given the trend at the time toward side-long cuts, it's probably simply Poco
's attempt at hipness. In retrospect, it can be seen as the forerunner to Messina
's lengthy jams with Loggins & Messina
a few years later; the sound is remarkably similar. While overshadowed by Pickin' Up the Pieces
, which preceded it, and Deliverin'
, which followed, Poco
is well worth owning by anyone interested in the early days of this particular band, and of country-rock in general. The trademark sweet, high harmonies belying the heartbreak expressed in Richie Furay
's lyrics, Messina
's distinctive lead guitar, and Rusty Young
's amazing ability to get an organ sound out of his pedal steel guitar are all here in full blossom.