Poco

Palace Theatre (New York, NY)

Nov 7, 1973

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  1. 1 Keeper Of The Fire / Here We Go Again 11:42
  2. 2 Blue Water / Fools Gold 04:43
  3. 3 A Right Along 03:49
  4. 4 C'mon 09:14
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Paul Cotton - lead guitar, vocals
Rusty Young - pedal steel, banjo, vocals
Timothy B. Schmit - bass, acoustic guitar, vocals
George Grantham - drums, vocals

After recording half a dozen critically acclaimed but modest selling albums, Poco was at a major turning point in 1973. Discouraged by the lack of recognition, and with former Poco band members Jim Messina and Randy Meisner enjoying great success with new bands, Poco's front man and primary songwriter, Richie Furay departed the band he had founded after the demise of Buffalo Springfield. While many expected this to be the final crushing blow, the band surprised everyone by making a strong comeback. Furay's departure provided both Paul Cotton and Rusty Young with the opportunity to become primary songwriters and they rose to the challenge. The group soldiered on as a quartet, rather than trying to replace Furay and they delivered performances that showcased their instrumental prowess more than ever, along with the trademark harmonies and good time vibes that were the foundation of their country-rock sound.

This recording features the 1973 quartet lineup of Poco, taping a set for Don Kirshner's Rock Concert TV program, performing before an intimate audience at Manhattan's Palace Theatre. The Crazy Eyes album had just been released, featuring a wealth of new material. The band was on the road developing a sound that would become more accessible to rock audiences, while maintaining much of the established flavor that appealed to existing fans. A perfect example of this is the opening Paul Cotton number, "Keeper Of The Fire." Originally released on 1972's Good Feeling To Know album, this now has a harder edgier sound than previous Poco material and this performance is a clear indication of a new sound in general. Four songs from the new album, Crazy Eyes make up the central part of the set, beginning with Timothy B. Schmit's delightful "Here We Go Again," proving the band's trademark vocal harmonies are still intact. The medley of Paul Cotton's "Blue Water" and Rusty Young's "Fools Gold," showcase the acoustic leanings of the band and let Rusty Young cut loose on banjo, before wrapping up the new material with a strong reading of Cotton's "A Right Along."

To cap off the set, the band dips back to one of Richie Furay's tried and true standards, "C'mon." Always a high energy number, this reading is miles ahead of the infectious three-minute romp featured on the live Deliverin' album just two years prior. Here it is a nine-minute jamfest featuring an impressive guitar solo from Cotton and some of the most savagely executed pedal steel one could possibly imagine from Rusty Young. Young's mastery of processing gear and distortion is innovative and adventurous and like Jimi Hendrix, these elements are fully integrated into his sound. Here the band finds balance between raw instrumental intensity and sweet vocal harmony.

This newly realigned Poco would record two more albums over the course of the next year. Both Seven and Cantamos would be released in 1974; their last two albums for Epic Records, reestablishing the group amongst a new legion of fans that would carry them through the decade.