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There have been many Poco compilations, but they generally suffer from the long-lived country-rock group's tendency to jump from one record company to another, depositing their catalog among competing entities. The band's first eight albums were released by Epic Records (controlled by Sony BMG) between 1969 and 1974; another seven LPs were issued by ABC and MCA (both controlled by Universal) between 1975 and 1982; Atlantic (controlled by Warner) released two Poco albums in 1982 and 1984; and Legacy, the gold-selling Poco reunion album, was released by RCA (controlled by Sony BMG) in 1989. Since then, the group has recorded for independent labels. This complicated history of affiliations has tended to mean that Poco collections consist of the Epic or ABC/MCA material, but not both. Now, Hip-O Records, Universal's reissue imprint, has partially solved the problem by licensing material from Sony BMG, Warner, and Poco's own Drifter's Church label for this two-disc, two-hour-and-20-minute, 34-track compilation, including material spanning the years 1969 to 2005. It is, unquestionably, the most extensive Poco compilation ever released. It is good enough, in fact, to make a Poco fan wish it were perfect, which it is not. The trouble is, simply, that not enough tracks were licensed from the Epic years. Perhaps that's an unfair criticism, since so many Poco best-ofs contain either all Epic tracks or all ABC/MCA ones. But representing the Epic albums with only five tracks, when the ABC/MCA years provide 21, is simply disproportionate. Poco scored some of its biggest hits on ABC, but it also made some negligible albums for MCA, while its Epic albums were consistent modest sellers. A Poco compilation missing, for example, "C'mon" and "Just for Me and You" seems incomplete. That said, this compilation does make good choices among the handful of Epic tracks included, and that judicious selection continues through the ABC, MCA, Atlantic, RCA, and Drifter's Church tracks. Maybe the perfect Poco collection will have to wait for another super merger among the major labels; until then, this is the next best thing.

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