On this album Richie Furay and Jim Messina literally pick up the pieces of their former band Buffalo Springfield and create a landmark in the history of music. Furay and Messina rounded out their band with pedal steel guitar great Rusty Young (whose great steel solo on Kind Woman, the finale of the last Springfield album, helped set the direction for what would later become Poco), the great Randy Meisner (who would later become famous to a generation of country-rock fans as the high harmony voice of the Eagles), and George Grantham, whose steady drumming and fantastic harmonies were a perfect fit for what would become a very tight band. The term "soaring harmonies" never fit as well as with Furay/Meisner/Grantham on this album. For fans of great guitar and steel guitar, the interplay that developed between Young and Messina on this album will truly amaze you. On this album, perhaps more than any other Poco album that was to come, Furay took center stage as the #1 songwriter, contributing to almost all of the tunes on this set. He truly set the stage for Poco's trademark upbeat music.
If there is a downside to this album it may be the fact that it actually could have been even better. A rift developed between Meisner and the band during the completion of the album and his lead vocals and some of his other contributions were erased from the final product. Messina was also never particularly happy with the fact that his hands were somewhat tied from a production/engineering perspective. There is also a noteworthy lack of anything even remotely resembling a candidate for hit status on AM radio, a fact that would haunt the band for years. There are also a couple of weaker tracks, but the power and energy of the title track, Calico Lady, Consequently So Long, What a Day, Make Me a Smile, and Rusty Young's instrumental Grand Junction more than make up for them.
This album is also interesting from the standpoint that nobody had ever really created a full-length album of rock music infused with the elements of country music prior to this album's release. The Byrds's Sweetheart of the Rodeo and the International Submarine Band's Safe at Home came close, but they both lacked the down home rock foundation of this album. Poco spent months perfecting the sound that you will hear on this work, and it stands out as a true milestone in the history of music.
I wouldn't recommend starting with this album if you are new to Poco (check out Good Feelin' to Know instead), but it definitely ranks up there among their best and if nothing else they should offer a money back guarantee if listening to these songs doesn't brighten up your day.