David J. Spuria | Webster, Massachusetts | 07/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wow. First, I disagree vehemently with the few reviews that are here on this site. I broke ranks with my fellow high schoolers back in 1980 and checked the box for "Under The Gun" on my Columbia Record and Tape Club order form and what arrived in full vinyl form was a shiny black album with the now famous Poco horse logo. And as the other reviewers mention, this was the follow up to the gold album "Legend", the album that spawned tha band's two biggest hits to that point, "In The Heart of The Night" and "Crazy Love". The band's new approach combined a more adult contemporary flavor which subdued some of the more country elements. But the country elements morphed into a more robust rock prototype-one that would inspire those who would compose ballads with a country tinge.
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!"
As real as it gets...
Tommi Hietavuo | Vantaa, - Finland | 08/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is true that Poco of this era was very far away from their country-rock "home" of "Pickin' up the pieces" album from 1969. "That ain't country!" - many of you probably said, some with anger. No. This ain't country. This is first class rock, really as real as it gets. The title song is unforgettable; its anger and simple power shine today as timelessly as ever. A rock classic. There are many good, straight rockers on UTG, but also very beautiful Poco songs such as "Midnight rain".So, this isn't country? Couldn't care less, to be honest. I love Poco's country-flavoured production, but this band can do so much more, too! There's just as much heart in Poco's "pop/rock" albums as in their early country-style works. Their magic is there - if you just turn all prejudices off and enjoy the music of this very, very special band. "Under The Gun" is both an album no rock music lover should miss, and an example of Poco at their most powerful era. Why shouldn't a band re-invent itself? Whatever Poco has done, it has always done it with style. So, you hate rock music? Don't bother. This is about as good as it gets, and that's no lie. Give "Under The Gun" a try - I don't think you're going to regret."
A GOOD LISTEN
Ogg Oggelby | Deadwood, S.D. | 06/03/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Slip this disc on your home system and tell your friends that it's the great lost Eagles album. Chances are they'll go off trying to find a copy of their own. This is a very good album with some great moments. I fail to understand what is driving the stratospheric price. Looks like it's ripe for a reissue and remaster job. Why not, everything else is?"
A Little Light, Lots of Shadows
C. Kuschel-Toerber | Frankfurt, Hessen | 04/30/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While I do not think that the early (i.e. Richie Furay) POCO was generally better than the later group, both outfits are hard to compare. Times change, and I rather listen to a later "new" POCO than to a band trying to repeat the same sound all over again. "Under the Gun" is admittedly not among the best post-Furay albums but it does have its moments. The sax is plainly awful, right, and makes my hair stand on end every time I listen to the whole CD. "Legend" (1978), "Ghost Town" (1982) and "Inamorata" (1984) were better by far - great music in its own right, and the latter two are available on a single bargain CD."