Pickin' Up The Pieces (Richie Furay) recorded January 16, 1969; Columbia studio D, 6121 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California; (14:00-17:00, 18:00-21:00 & 22:00-0:2:30), Producer: Jim Messina. with Richie Furay: vocal/guitar; Jim Messina: electric guitar/backing vocal; Rusty Young: leader & steel guitar; Randy Meisner: bass/backing vocal; George Grantham: drums. Epic 5-10501; BN 26460 The title of Poco’s first LP, ‘Pickin’ Up The Pieces,’ was a not-so-veiled reference to the fall-out from the dissolution of Buffalo Springfield. Richie Furay had been a founding member of Springfield and Jim Messina joined on bass shortly before the last hurrah on May 5, 1968. When Messina was wondering what came next, one of Springfield’s roadies, Dickie Davis, suggested Rusty Young, who’d come to California with Randy Meisner’s group, the Poor. Earlier, Young had left a psych group in Denver whose drummer was George Grantham.
Young was backstage for Springfield’s final show in Long Beach. “We were already talking about who was going to be in Poco by then,” he told John Einarson. Among those considered were Gregg Allman, Gram Parsons, and Jon Corneal. That’s when Rusty Young mentioned Meisner and Grantham. “I just knew that I still hadn’t done anything I wanted to do,” Furay told Sounds in 1972. “I knew I wanted another band but I had no idea I could put one together … I didn’t go off and get Crosby or Nash, it all started right down at the very bottom — nobody knew who Rusty was, nobody knew who George was, and nobody really knew who Jim was at the time. But even at that time there was a sort of pride thing, ‘We’re going to make it without having to reflect back on the Buffalo Springfield.’” Dickie Davis became their manager, and remembered that he had a bunch of airline tickets for Neil Young from the Springfield days when Young had no-showed. The tickets were in the name of N. Young, and Rusty’s name was Norman so they took the tickets, cashed them in for $4000 and rented rehearsal space at SIR studio. RFD, as the group was called then, played its first date in October 1968, five months after the Springfield’s last show. Very quickly, there was a buzz. “Richie had really come up with the concept of the country rock thing that wasn’t being done,” said Rusty Young. “Everybody was ready to jump on the bandwagon. In The Troubadour there’d be a booth and there would be Ricky Nelson and Ozzie and Harriet.
The Smothers Brothers came down. George Harrison and John Lennon came down because they tried to sign us to Apple at one point. Pretty much all the L.A. people you can imagine would be in the audience on any given night.” Columbia Records wanted them, but Furay was still under contract to Atlantic. Clive Davis at Columbia and Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic came to an agreement that saw Davis release Graham Nash from his Epic contract with the Hollies in return for Ertegun releasing Furay. On December 5, they signed with Epic as Pogo. A year-end concert attracted the attention of Walt Kelly, the cartoonist who owned the name Pogo, so by December 31, they were Poco. The title song of the first album really said it all. Messina’s Telecaster played off Young’s steel, like Don Rich and Tom Brumley in Buck Owens’ Buckaroos. There’s an apocryphal story that Clive Davis invited Poco to listen to his single mix of Pickin’ Up The Pieces. Furay reportedly said, “Clive, that sounds great but where’s the steel guitar?
That’s really what makes up different from other bands. That’s our deal.’ ” Davis reportedly replied, “You can’t have a hit record with steel guitar on it.”