Poco dealt with a lot during the recording of their debut album -- the sudden departure of bassist Randy Meisner, the frustration of working with an engineer who didn't quite get what they were trying for, and a lot of pressure to deliver a solid collection of country-rock songs -- and came up with this startlingly great record, as accomplished as any of Buffalo Springfield's releases, and also reminiscent of the Beatles and the Byrds. Pickin' Up the Pieces is all the more amazing when one considers that Jim Messina and George Grantham were both covering for the departed Meisner in hastily learned capacities on bass and vocals, respectively. The title track is practically an anthem for the virtues of country-rock, with the kind of sweet harmonizing and tight interplay between the guitars that the Byrds, the Burritos, and others had to work awhile to achieve. The mix of good-time songs ("Consequently So Long," "Calico Lady"), fast-paced instrumentals ("Grand Junction"), and overall rosy feelings makes this a great introduction to the band, as well as a landmark in country-rock only slightly less important (but arguably more enjoyable than) Sweetheart of the Rodeo.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder