Poco

Legacy

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The original 1968 lineup of Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Randy Meisner, George Grantham, and Rusty Young, which never got to record (Meisner quit on the eve of their first session), finally goes into the studio, and it's as though 20 years dissolve away. The singing is impeccable, the playing awesome -- maybe a little too good -- and unlike a lot of reunion projects of this kind, the songs are as good as any the group ever recorded, with a couple ("When It All Began," "Call It Love") that would belong on any truly honest best-of collection. The only flaw, if that's what it is, is the decidedly modern sound and production -- the group's country-rock sound is nearly compromised by the modern engineering, which gives the drums too much presence and the guitars too much volume. The playing is loud and precise and often beautiful, but also at times mechanical and soulless compared with the group's old recordings; the exceptionally passionate singing more than compensates for this flaw, however. It might have been interesting to see the re-formed group do a couple of the songs off of the first album that they never got to do as a quintet, but the point behind that had long ago been made by the quartet that did record. A must-own alongside the MCA best-of and the original eight Epic albums (or the Epic double-disc Forgotten Trail anthology). David Cole was the overall producer, but Richard Marx signed his name as producer to one of the best tracks here, "Nothin' to Hide," which he also co-wrote.

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