My "Fifty Years" listening dive every month never tires as I rediscover familiar albums I experienced as a young person, or today hearing albums I didn't pay much attention to when they were released.
If you know that I grew up on the central coast of California, you may also know that Loggins and Messina were a very popular band in the region and were smart to book many college campuses early on up and down the coast. I first saw them in San Luis Obispo at the Cal Poly gym and wrote about it along with friend Paul Hobbs in an earlier blog this year.
In 1973, I saw them a second time at the UCSB gym in Santa Barbara as it was a fantastic show and one of my favorite concerts of all time. The band was on fire that night and the crowd just loved every minute of it! Listening to the songs on this second L&M album not only takes me back to high school, but reinforces my lasting appreciation of their musicianship as a rock 'n' roll band.
Jim Messina is often overlooked with his singing, songwriting, guitar playing and producing skills. His early contributions to Buffalo Springfield and Poco built his reputation as a musician and then producer inside the music industry, but many fans didn't know who he was until Loggins and Messina. Even then, Messina quietly let the star shine on it's handsome frontman Kenny Loggins. As a partnership and friendship that has stood the test of time, it's safe to say that Jim Messina greatly enhanced Kenny Loggins eventual solo career, and even made it possible. It's great to see them on tour together again celebrating that 50 year partnership and I would love to certainly see them live again.
Pure Prairie League's second album, Bustin' Out came out in 1972, but really didn't catch on until 1975 when the song Amie became a huge hit for them. I purchased that album as a student at San Diego State during this time and really enjoyed the band's lead singer and songwriter, Craig Fuller. In 1975, I had no idea that Craig Fuller was actually forced to leave the band in 1973 due to the government refusing to accept his conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War. Fuller was required to perform two years of community service in a hospital in Kentucky. In 1975, Fuller received a pardon from then President Gerald Ford.
I don't know the band dynamics of Pure Prairie League, but for whatever reason Craig Fuller did not come back right when the band was just breaking famous. It just seems weird that he wouldn't return as the leading founding member of a band who just hit the big time? Fuller would go on to form the band American Flyer in 1976 and released a couple of albums with some success until they broke up in 1978. I do faintly remember Fuller making a record with Eric Kaz in 1978, Craig Fuller Eric Kaz, so it looks like I got American Flyer on my radar for some future listening.
Nevertheless, I think Bustin' Out is one of the best country rock albums ever made due in large part to Craig Fuller who is still alive today. Kind of weird nobody has done a remaster of this classic album for digital streaming services? Fuller actually has played in Pure Prairie League over the years from 1970–1973, 1985–1988, 1998–2002, 2004–2012. He even sang and played for Little Feat from 1987-93 as the lead singer in essentially Lowell George's position.
I looked up all the former and present band members of Pure Prairie League and that number was an astonishing 26 former members (including Vince Gill from 1978-82), and 5 current members (not including Fuller). I Wish I knew the whole backstory of this band and a little bit more knowledge of Craig Fuller himself? Fame is often elusive for talent such as Fuller, but maybe he just did things on his own terms and I certainly can respect that.
My surprise album of October, 1972 is Alvin Lee's Blues Band, Ten Years After and the release of their seventh studio album, Rock & Roll Music to the World. What a great rock 'n' roll album that I never heard before. I guess it's easy to appreciate so much more today as the rock 'n' roll genre is long past the center of attention in the current media. This blog exercise just reminds me, there's a ton of rock 'n' roll treasure out there on the Internet Tubes just waiting to be found!
I'll finish with more treasure already discovered years ago with Pete Townshend's, Who Came First, but have you heard all the extra tracks from the 2006 Bonus Tracks and 2018 Deluxe Edition?
Enjoy the playlist... Arrr, there's gold in there mates!
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