My brother-in-law Dean really liked the group Poco, a band whose warm harmonies, jangling guitars and checkered membership put them at the nexus of the incestuous late ‘60’s/early ‘70’s California country-rock scene. Try to stay with me for this.
We’ll start with Buffalo Springfield, an ensemble whose most prominent members were Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Richie Furay (and later on, Jim Messina). When they broke up in 1968, Stills and Young proceeded, of course, to form Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young along with David Crosby, formerly of the Byrds, and Graham Nash, previously of The Hollies. Meanwhile, Furay, along with Messina, went on to create Poco, where they were joined by Rusty Young (no relation to Neil) on pedal steel guitar, and Randy Meisner on bass. Then there were a few lineup changes.¹ As a result of conflict with Furay, Meisner soon left the band, and became a founding member of The Eagles. Timothy B. Schmit succeeded Meisner as Poco’s bassist. Messina also left Poco after just a couple years, and teamed up with Kenny Loggins to start Loggins & Messina.² Furay himself eventually split with Poco, leaving to form another group with Chris Hillman, an original member of The Byrds (along with David Crosby). In the mean time, Meisner eventually became disenchanted with The Eagles – among other things, he’d grown reluctant to try to hit the high notes of his own song ‘Take It To The Limit’ in concerts – and soon he departed. In need of a bassist – and this is my favorite part – The Eagles recruited and replaced him with…Timothy B. Schmit. That’s right, Schmit took over for Meisner on bass with two different bands, and Poco lost their bassist not once but twice to The Eagles (harsh, no doubt, but maybe that’s just Life In The Fast Lane). I’d also like to tell you how any of this relates to seminal country rock band The Flying Burrito Brothers, but I’m afraid that could really get complicated.
In any event, I hope everyone is now suitably caught up on the bouncing country-rock band ball, as perhaps Buffalo Springfield could say, For What It’s Worth. And as for specifically being filled in on Poco’s convoluted back story, it’s, um, A Good Feelin’ To Know.
¹Poco had a total of 21 different members at various times of their existence as a band. I can’t say I’m exactly sure which ones are present in the band photo up top.
²My disco-loving friend Hoosh was quietly a big fan of Loggins & Messina. I just thought that should be on the record.