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Music Review: The Richie Furay Band – Alive

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Poco is one of my favourite bands of all time. No question about it, they made some of the finest country rock albums ever, and if the sales didn't match up to lesser bands like the Eagles (who borrowed their sound and bass players, blanded out and went stellar), then I'm sure there is satisfaction to be had of a job well done.

Richie Furay was a mainstay of the band before was ultimately called away from music to his ministry, and a life of preaching and Christian music. So when I heard that he had a double live CD coming out, covering the whole of his musical career, excited didn't even begin to describe my feelings. And here it is, in all it's glory.

He's still in fine voice, helped out by a fine band of multi-instrumentalist Scott Sellen (guitar, banjo and keyboards), bassist Aaron Sellen, drummer Alan Lemke, and harmony vocalist Jesse Furay Lynch. Things kick off with a fine rendition of "When It All Began" from the Poco Legacy album before we hit an early highlight with "Pickin' Up The Pieces" from their 1969 debut. Then the first surprise, as the band heads into a Buffalo Springfield medley of all Neil Young songs.

The rest of the first CD is mainly split between Buffalo Springfield songs and visits to his solo catalogue, with "Through It All" from his 1982 solo album Seasons Of Change particularly fine. Best of all, though, is the rearrangement of the Buffalo Springfield track "Go And Say Goodbye", written by Stephen Stills from way back in 1966. However, the disc does finish up with another couple of Poco gems in the shape of "Just For Me And You" and their 1972 classic "A Good Feelin' To Know", a song so uplifting it should be made compulsory listening once a day.

Over on CD2 it's more of the same, although this time most of the emphasis is on Poco. But there are more surprises in the shape of a full rendition of "Believe Me" from the Souther Hillman Furay band, and the incorporation of another SHF song, "Fallin' In Love", in the middle of a Poco medley. As was obvious on the first disc, Furay isn't precise about writing credits and it's Jim Messina who gets the nod on this disc with the tunes "Make Me A Smile" and "You Better Think Twice" from his Poco days. There's even a Richie Furay song he says had only been played once before, "Baby Why", which is a showcase for the sweet tones of Jesse Furay Lynch.

Again the highlights are many as the band play some of the finest country rock tune you are ever likely to hear. For me, the best were the spiritual "Rise Up" from his Seasons Of Change solo set, the aforementioned Souther Hillman Furay song "Believe Me" and "Let's Dance Tonight" from the 1973 Poco album Crazy Eyes. I'd forgotten how good it was and it had me digging out my vinyl copy a bit sharpish.

A superb reminder of some of the musical magic that Furay has helped create over forty plus years.

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About Stuart A Hamilton

  • Andy McD

    Richie hasn’t lost a thing…better than ever…The new band is great…Poco fans know Richie was the heart and soul of Poco…when he left the band was never the same. Seeing Richie and the new band brought back great memories of old Poco, SHF, B. Springfield…His new stuff is great too!