Why wasn't the band Poco a bigger success? A look at Poco, "From the Inside"

Do you have a favorite band or artist that you thought would be bigger musical stars than what actually happened? For me, that band is Poco.

When the Buffalo Springfield broke up in 1968, the branches of their musical tree split in two different directions. Stephen Stills and Neil Young became Crosby, Still, Nash and occasionally Young while Richie Furay and Jin Messina formed Poco.

C,S,N and Y became legends. Poco not nearly as much.

For their first two albums, Poco stuck to their formula as a country rock band…and they were among the most innovative and best in this genre. But being great in the studio and backing it up with amazing onstage performances didn’t translate to big record sales and filling huge stadiums as headliners.

By 1971, and their third studio album, “From the Inside”, major changes had occurred in the band’s membership. Bassist Randy Meisner and his high tenor voice had already left the band. He would soon be an original member of the Eagles. He was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit. Jim Messina then left the band after album number two to focus on becoming a record producer…something that would change soon. Paul Cotton, from Illinois Speed Press, replaced him. The new lineup would give Poco more of a rock sound than the pure country-rock band they had been. The change wasn’t necessarily for the better.

The reviews for the album were mixed, including more poor than good ones. I was surprised by this because “From the Inside” was always my favorite Poco album. I felt that the newcomers and their songs gave the band a little bit of an edge that they didn’t have on their early albums. Of course, that was my response back in 1971, some fifty years ago. Not so surprisingly, that opinion has changed.

The songs I loved back in the day I still love. Cotton’s “Bad Weather”, Schmit’s title track of “From the Inside” and “What If I Should Say I Love You” and “Just For You and Me” by Furay remain among my favorites by the band. However, when I recently listened to the album, the other six tunes bored me. I’m not sure why I didn’t realize that back then. Maybe it was my love for the band and wanting them to succeed so much that it blinded me to what really was mediocre music.

Poco tried again a year later with “A Good Feelin’ To Know.” The album had a harder rocking sound with more accessible tunes, especially the title track. When it failed to chart in the top fifty, Furay became disillusioned and left the band after one more album. Things are never good when a founder of a band leaves. A few years later, Schmit left for a better-paying gig with the Eagles. While the band continued to exist, it was never the same and certainly not nearly as good as the original.

It was sad, at least to me, that a band that began with such a unique sound lost their way. It all started with the release of “From the Inside”, fifty years ago.

Related Post: Fifty years of Little Feat

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