Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Music Story: Purloined Poco

It was 1982. I was a young engineer, working in Washington, DC and living in Silver Spring, MD.  My first real job, which had led to a brand new Volkswagen Jetta. I loved that car. And as a young guy with more money than sense I splurged on the high end stereo. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before somebody acquired my pricey stereo. Without my permission, of course.  And with predictable damage to my car. When I filed the police report, the helpful officer’s coment? “That’s what you get for parking at the subway station”. Nothing like a little insult added to the injury.

After the shock and sense of violation, one of the things that upset me most was the loss of the cassette tape which was in the tape deck that day. It was a tape of Poco, with the album Cantamos on one side, and Rose of Cimarron on the other. I had recorded from a friend’s record collection, shortly before we left for our respective colleges. And it just offended me that some stupid crack-head stole my music! And still does.

Poco was (and is) one of my favorite semi-obscure bands. Former members of Buffalo Springfield. Future members of the Eagles. Jim Messina (Loggins & Messina). But, for whatever reason, Poco never really broke through to the masses. From 1969 through 1977, Poco released 10 albums which ranked between 38 and 89 on the Billboard Album charts. Poco tasted some success in 1978 with Legend, which spawned two Top 40 hits (Crazy Love at #17 and “Heart Of The Night at #20). But then faded faded back to mediocre sales.

It’s a shame, because they made some really great music. And Contamos (the stolen tape) was my favorite Poco album. For several years I’d occasionally bemoan the loss of that tape. And I’d fondly remember the songs. But I didn’t replace the album. Then CDs took over from vinyl, and I never came across Contamos.

Fast forward several more years, and I was relating the story in an internet forum (probably AOL, actually). And some guy responded that he had a Japanese pressing CD of the album, and would be happy to rip me a copy. And he did! And it was a very happy day indeed. (Later on, I picked up a used copy of the album).

I saw Poco in concert in 1976, with the Stills-Young Band. But that’s another story.

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