Poco: All Fired Up


Videos by American Songwriter

All Fired Up
(Drifter’s Church)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

There’s nothing on the order of earlier classics like “Rose of Cimarron” or “Crazy Eyes” on Poco’s first studio album in over a decade, but there is plenty to enjoy. Guitarist/vocalist Rusty Young remains the last man standing from the original 1969 combo, an act that may not have invented country rock but were among the first to popularize it. This most recent Poco incarnation — whose constant personnel changes over the past 45 years would make rock family tree artist Pete Frame dizzy– is a solid roots, C&W outfit with sharply written songs and pleasing vocal harmonies that maintain and enhance the band’s breezy vibe.  The opening title track is a terrific introduction, a peppy hoedown waiting to happen with a strong bluegrass feel. As the album unwinds the foursome touches on swampy Southern rock, emotional ballads and even a cute satire explaining that Rusty Young is not Neil Young’s brother, apparently a rumor that has been circulated for decades (“the DNA is in and he’s not my kin”). The plight of the contemporary farmer is examined in the melancholy “Hard Country,” about as close as Poco gets to social commentary. The song’s folkie beginning expands into a roaring rock jam complete with sizzling slide guitar from the always dependable Young. The sound also shifts into surprisingly tough blues in the unexpectedly convincing “Rocking Horse Blues.” Even Poco’s cult fans probably didn’t expect an album as strong as All Fired Up this late in the game. While it’s not the place to start for newbies, this is a refreshing, consistently well-crafted comeback that shows there is plenty of gas left in the band’s tank

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