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Bareback At Big Sky (Re-Recorded Versions)

Poco

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Album Review

The "bareback" in the title partially alludes to the acoustic/predominantly unplugged nature of this live album. It's also recorded in front of a frequently sedate audience of Poco family and friends. The atmosphere is not surprisingly homey and loose, with terrific harmonies from Paul Cotton and Rusty Young, the only two Poco originals left. It's a rather odd combination of almost hits, generally from the Legend era, along with some new material and a few from the band's previous indie release, Running Horse. New member bassist Jack Sundrud contributes two selections, but neither is as good as much of the band's earlier work for Epic, none of which is included here. Timothy B. Schmit's lovely and relatively obscure "Find out in Time" gets revived as does Cotton's "Too Many Nights Too Long," originally from the Rose of Cimarron album. New tracks such as Cotton's "Bareback" and Young's "Nothing Less Than Love" and "Save a Corner of Your Heart for Me" are middling love songs that work well enough in this acoustic atmosphere. Rusty Young's distinctive pedal steel, a sound that used to define the band, is frustratingly only dusted off for "Midnight Rain." The band's Buffalo Springfield roots are revisited for a stirring cover of Neil Young's "On the Way Home," a bittersweet set-closer that brings out the best in Poco's legendary vocal harmonies. Still, one wishes for a few more frisky nuggets, or even some hits, to spice up the ballad-heavy show. It's all pleasant, comfy, and predictable with too few moments, such as an unexpectedly rowdy cover of J.J. Cale's "Cajun Moon," where sparks fly. But the sound is crisp, the band sounds inspired, and for old fans there are enough glimpses of Poco's characteristic country/folk-rock to make this a worthwhile purchase.

Biography

Formed: 1968 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the first and longest-lasting country-rock groups, Poco had their roots in the dying embers of Buffalo Springfield. After Neil Young and Stephen Stills, the co-founders of that group, exited in the spring of 1968, only guitarist/singer Richie Furay and bassist Jim Messina remained to complete the group's swan song, Last Time Around. The final Springfield track, "Kind Woman," included only Furay and Messina, with a guest appearance on steel guitar by Rusty Young — at the time, he was...
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