Let's Dance Tonight - Poco
Due to popular response, we're going to have another Richie Furay blaster. This number from his Poco days needs to be played top volume from the start for best affect.
Poco is often thought of as a feeder group for the more illustrious Eagles, two of their number, Timothy B Schmit and Randy Meisner having left the former for the latter to replace original members. And certainly Poco were a parallel band to more than one west coast rival outfit.
They were also the subject of some extraordinary horse trading when Epic Records cut a deal with Atlantic Records whereby Epic swapped the recording rights for Graham Nash for Poco so that he could join Crosby, Stills and Nash on Atlantic.
But Poco were more than just a parallel universe substitute: their blend of country and rock and roll was always more electric and more gutsy than the Eagles as well as more gutsy and more bluegrass. As instrumentalists they were superior also, hence the plundering of their ranks for strong replacements, they harmonised better than C,S and N and everyone else in LA and in their prime were reputed to be one of the best live acts around. But they were not as consistently commercial as their more successful rivals. All of which is summed up in this humdinger of a Furay song:
it starts with some beautiful guitar work, swiftly joined by Richie's evocative vocal and a fade-in single note on the keyboards, then a nuanced harmony with Schmit as they repeat the word "tonight", followed by the drums and some great blending of fuzz guitar and piano chords as the song moves from a tentative early evening beginning to the well-oiled sway of late at night in a matter of seconds.
"Slipping away heading out to LA
gotta sing in the city tonight
this rock and roll feeling has got my head reeling
a feeling I know that is right
so come on, let's dance, let's dance tonight...."
At times, and here specifically, Poco do for country rock what Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac did for the blues, hitting you with the intricacies of three expert lead guitars all at the same time. And then there's Ritchie's nape-raising vocal with his interspersing yells of "Woooh" as we approach the summit of the song.
In actual pace "Let's Dance Tonight" never gets above a canter, but by the end you feel like you've been for a real barnstorming gallop. That's if you've followed my advice and had the volume up. If not, start again, and this time do it right. And stand on that table while you're at it! Like the man says:
"'Cause only a few do what you can sure do and only a few do it right...."