Under the gun
This album could be the most difficult to pigeonhole based on the time period. Even a hint of new-wave shows up on tunes like "Down To The Wire". But the main thrust of UTG rides the rough terrain between pop, country and rock. And for the serious music reviewer, the results are astonishing. "Midnight Rain" is an ample companion to "Heart of The Night" with Rusty Young's "lead" pedal steel guitar. The broken ground is further opened with "Friends In The Distance" with its understated melody, which then bursts forth with Paul Cotton's amazing solo. For me, the most experimental song of the band's career is "Made of Stone" which features a lead dobro that is played over some 80's sounding synths. This is no one-off follow up. This is a collection ignored by the record label, MCA. Who chose to release Poco albums with almost zero promotional muscle. This collection runs start to finish. And even though the music tide was beginning to turn, 1980 was still 1970's enough to support this kind of music. In fact, the band made a conscious effort to not sound dated or stale. This collection is the band's best effort in the modern era. The rodeo, the pop-rock shop, and the cutting edge-all rolled into one offering. You'd be stupid not to seek this album out, and turn it up loud!