Here’s a strange one… Poco were a band I only heard of thanks to Blabber ‘n’ Smoke’s Paul Kerr. He’d mentioned them once or twice and said he liberated a copy of Head Over Heels during a visit to a charity shop. It was mine if I wanted it. Of course, being into records, Buffalo Springfield and being partial to a bit of ‘country rock’ in general, I said I would give it a good home (there were a few other records thrown my way that evening – including Santana’s Zebop!)
Now, I’ve listened to this once or twice since then and I thought it was, at times, very lovely and all, but nothing jumped out at me. It kinda reminded me of yon Eagles lot and, to quote The Dude, I hate the fucking Eagles, man (hate is maybe too strong, but they bore me to tears. I need more than well crafted empty songs). However, while it reminded me of their country rock contemporaries, I was fairly taken by their vocal shenanigans.
So, I decided to file this under ‘get to know better’ and I finally got around to making time in my schedule to sit down with it… and yeah, it’s rocking my boat. Gently. Ever so gently. Those vocal shenanigans really do lift some already impressive songwriting and, unlike yon Eagles lot, the tracks are filled to overflowing with some heart and (gushing) sentiment. The opening salvo alone is worth the admission price. Keep On Tryin’ is an outstanding opener complete with some outrageous harmonies (so outrageous it sounds like the Bee Gees fronting, eh, the Eagles) and Lovin’ Arms is equally gorgeous.
There are a couple of stand-out tracks spread across the album’s short run-time, but just now the tracks that grab me (other than the two I already mentioned) are Let Me Turn Back To You, Georgia, Bind My Ties and Dallas (which I learned is a Steely Dan number).
I should probably acknowledge that the first three songs or so on each side keep me engaged. Not that I drift away, cause the album benefits from that short run-time, as it means it never really feels like spending time with it is much of a chore.
And y’know, that guy Schmit (wrote that opening number) later had a stint in the (fucking) Eagles. How do you fancy them apples!?
Album rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Bottom line, I’m not blown away or left thinking this is peerless, or even a high point in country rock shenanigans, but if this is one of their ‘lesser efforts’, I’m looking forward to discovering one of their earlier LPs with Richie Furay.
Cover rating: ⭐️⭐️
A bit of a strange one, this. I dare say it’s at odds with the content and finds Poco entering the 80s way before some of their peers. Some pastel colours and it’s a bit hazy (the dude with the long hair and light denim shirt and jeans is just incredible) despite the black background.